BOX SCORE: Clemson 12 Furman 5
The Tigers, who took a 1-0 lead in the season series, improved to 19-14 overall. The Paladins fell to 17-17 on the season. The two teams will square off again at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on May 15.
The Tigers scored two runs in the first inning, four runs in the third inning, and three runs in the top of the fourth inning to build a 9-0 lead. The Paladins fought back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. But the Tiger bullpen allowed just one run in the final 5.2 innings pitched and Clemson cruised to the seven-run victory.
David Haselden (2-1) pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts to earn the win. Mike Kent recorded his first career save by tossing 4.0 effective innings. He gave up five hits, one run, and no walks with three strikeouts. Jonathan Meyer, Haselden, and Kent combined to strand 12 Paladins on base, including eight in scoring position.
Jacques de Gruy (1-1) suffered the loss in his first career start. He surrendered three hits, six runs (five earned), and four walks with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings pitched.
The Tigers wasted little time taking the game's first lead in the top of the first inning. Steve Wilkerson led off with a walk and Thomas Brittle singled to left field on an 0-2 pitch. After Richie Shaffer walked on four pitches to load the bases with no outs, Phil Pohl reached on a fielder's choice as Wilkerson was retired at home plate. McGibbon then belted a single up the middle to score Brittle and Shaffer.
In the bottom of the first inning, Will Muzika laced a two-out double to left-center, then Will Miller singled through the left side. But left-fielder Jay Baum gunned down Muzika at the plate for the inning-ending out.
Clemson added four runs to its lead in the third inning. Wilkerson reached as the leadoff batter on a fielding error by first-baseman Harrison Farmer and advanced to third on Brittle's single to right field. After Shaffer walked to load the bases and Pohl popped up, McGibbon walked on four pitches to plate Wilkerson. Brittle scored on a wild pitch, then Baum walked to reload the bases. Brad Felder then ripped a single up the middle to score Shaffer and McGibbon, giving Clemson a 6-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth inning, Brittle reached on an infield single with one out and advanced to third on Shaffer's double to left-center. Pohl followed with a groundout to short that enabled Brittle to score, then McGibbon blasted a two-run homer to right-center, his second long ball of the year.
The Paladins responded with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Miller led off with a double down the right-field line and advanced to third on Paul Nitto's single through the left side. Chris Ohmstede followed with a single down the left-field line to score Miller. Two batters later with one out, Alex Abrams hit a potential inning-ending, double-play grounder to Wilkerson at second, but he booted the ball and all runners were safe. The Paladins made the Tigers pay with three more runs in the frame. Hunter Burton followed with a single to left field to score Nitto, then Will Owens lined a single to right field to score Ohmstede. Jake Jones then reached on an infield single to score Abrams. Haselden kept the Tigers ahead by five runs when he retired the next two Paladins.
A two-out rally enabled Clemson to add to its lead in the top of the eighth inning. Wilkerson drew a two-out walk and Brittle was hit by a 1-2 pitch. Shaffer then lined a single down the left-field line to score Wilkerson. Brittle also scored on the play thanks to an error by Owens in left field. Shaffer's single was Clemson's first hit since the fourth inning.
Muzika hit a two-out, solo homer to left-center in the bottom of the eighth inning, his first long ball of the season.
In the ninth inning, McGibbon led off with a double to right field and scored on Baum's single to right field.
Four Tigers combined to score Clemson's 12 runs. Brittle scored a game-high four runs, Shaffer and McGibbon scored three runs apiece, and Wilkerson added two runs.
McGibbon led Clemson's 11-hit attack with three hits and a walk. Brittle went 3-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch. Shaffer was 2-for-3 with a double, RBI, and two walks. Pohl went 0-for-5 with an RBI, as his 11-game hitting streak came to an end.
Every Paladin starter had at least one hit by the fifth inning. Miller went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run. Jones, Muzika, Ohmstede, and Abrams added two hits apiece for Furman, who totaled 15 hits in the contest.
Clemson will host Georgia at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday at 7:00 PM. The game will be televised live by CSS.
Tigers top Furman, 12-5
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