So far, so good

Clemson tops Sacred Heart, 11-1, Friday night at the Clemson Regional.

BOX SCORE: Clemson 11 Sacred Heart 1

John Hinson pounded out three hits, including a long, three-run homer to lead Clemson to an easy 11-1 victory over Sacred Heart in Friday night's opening round of the Clemson Regional.

The Tigers (42-18) scored all their runs in the first three innings. They advance to play in-state rival Coastal Carolina in Saturday's winner bracket. Sacred Heart (34-22) takes on in-state rival Connecticut in an elimination game.

"We had done all the damage we needed to do," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said of the Tigers' first three at-bats. "I still think there's more in the tank for us, to be honest."

The Tigers' offense helped ease any stress for pitcher Scott Firth (5-1), not a regular in Clemson's three-man, weekend rotation. The sophomore right-hander allowed only one run on six hits in six innings for the Tigers with five strikeouts.

"I was excited," Firth said. "It makes it a lot easier for a pitcher to do his job," Hinson said of the Tigers' early offense. "It takes a lot of the pressure off the game."

The Pioneers' Troy Scribner (9-3) was knocked out in the Tigers' six-run third. But reliever Matt Fitton allowed only run – Hinson's homer on his first pitch -- in 5 2/3 innings.

Hinson scored in each of the first three innings. He led off with a walk in the Tigers' four-run first, doubled and scored in the second and blasted the home run over the right-field bleachers in the third. Phil Pohl had three hits for the Tigers. Chris Epps added two hits and three RBIs.

The Pioneers scored their lone run in the sixth on Dan Perez' groundout. They squandered a bases-loaded, no-outs opportunity in the fifth when Firth retired two hitters on shallow fly balls and got the final out on a grounder.

"It didn't work out the way we had planned," Sacred Heart coach Nick Giaquinto said. "We just expected ourselves to play a little bit better." Top Stories