Tigers Take Series at Duke

Clemson ended the 2004 regular season with a 9-6 victory at Duke Saturday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field. The Tigers improved to 34-22 overall, 14-10 in the ACC.

Duke fell to 24-29 overall, 8-16 in ACC play. With the win, Clemson won the series 2-1, giving the Tigers their first series win in the last four weekends.

Tyler Lumsden (4-3) earned the win by pitching 5.0 innings, allowing five hits, three runs, and one walk while striking out four. Tony Sipp struck out the side in the ninth to record his second save of the year. Duke starter Tim Layden (5-5) suffered the loss in just 2.1 innings of work. Six Blue Devil pitchers combined to walk eight batters.

Clemson put runners on first and second with no outs in the first inning, but failed to score. Sipp led off on a walk and was safe at second after Layden's throw to second off Travis Storrer's grounder was errant. Brad McCann then lined a shot down the left-field line, but the ball landed foul by less than a foot. Layden struck out McCann on a breaking ball on the next pitch. Lou Santangelo walked on four pitches to load the bases and Kris Harvey got jammed and popped up to first base for out #2. Andy D'Alessio then hit a slow roller off the end of his bat for the 5-3, inning-ending out.

Where the Tigers were unsuccessful driving home runs with runners on base in the first inning, Duke was successful. Adam Murray walked and stole second in the bottom of the first. Then with two outs, Brian Hernandez lined a single to left-center to score Murray.

In the second inning, the Blue Devils upped their lead thanks to two more two-out RBIs. John Berger hit a soft single to left-center and went to third on a perfectly-executed hit-and-run. Adam Loftin's single got through the right side, where Herman Demmink would have been if not covering the bag. McCann made a nice play for out #2, as he fielded Jonathan Anderson's slow grounder down the line and threw off balance to home to retire Berger. But Javier Socorro made Lumsden pay for throwing a fastball up in the strike zone. He blistered a double to left that Sipp misjudged and was not able to cut off. Both Loftin and Anderson scored on the play to give Duke a 3-0 lead.

The Tigers responded with five runs in the third inning. Sipp led off with a single up the middle and Storrer reached on a ball in the hole that Murray could not come up with. After fouling off two 0-2 pitches, McCann was hit on the foot on a 1-2 breaking pitch to load the bases with no outs. Layden got Santangelo to pop up to the infield for out #1. In its first 21 innings in the series, Clemson was successful getting a runner home on third base with less than two outs just twice in nine attempts. But this time Harvey came through, lining a single to right-center to score two runs. After Harvey, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games, stole second and D'Alessio walked to load the bases, Russell Triplett bounced a single through the left side to bring home McCann and Harvey.

The balls that were not finding holes in the first two games kept finding them, as Demmink grounded a single through the right side to plate D'Alessio, giving the Tigers a 5-3 lead. After Layden was relieved by Kevin Thompson, Garrick Evans struck out looking. Sipp reached base again for the second time in the inning, this time with a walk. But Storrer popped up to end the inning, as Clemson left the bases full for the second time.

Clemson added a run in the fourth inning. Santangelo hit a one-out, ground-rule double to left-center. After D'Alessio drew a two-out walk, Triplett blooped a single to shallow left-center to score Santangelo. The Tigers could not add any more runs, as Demmink flew out to end the inning. Clemson stranded eight runners through four innings.

Lumsden worked out of a potential jam in the fourth inning. Berger reached on an error by Triplett at short and threw two straight balls to Loftin, bring Pitching Coach Kevin O'Sullivan to the mound. But after the visit, he threw six straight strikes to strike out Loftin and Anderson. Lumsden then got Socorro to fly out to right to end the inning.

The Tigers put together a two-out rally to up the score to 7-3 in the fifth inning. Storrer lined his second triple of the year to the right-field corner and McCann singled through the left side, bringing home Storrer.

Duke cut Tiger lead in half in the seventh inning. Loftin hit a double to the gap in right field to start the inning. Collin Mahoney then walked Anderson on four pitches to put runners on first and second with no outs. After both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, Socorro hit a hard grounder down the third-base line. McCann made a diving stop and threw out Socorro at first base for out #1, as both runners held up. Then on a 3-2 pitch, Murray singled up the middle to score two runs. Mahoney had only allowed four hits to righthanded batters all year before he gave up two in the inning. However, Mahoney got Layden and Hernandez to strike out to end the inning.

The Tigers got the two runs back in the eighth inning. McCann and Santangelo drew walks to lead off the inning. Then on a full-count pitch, Harvey struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt. However, both runners were moving on the pitch and advanced on stolen bases. D'Alessio followed with a bloop single to left field on a 1-2 pitch to score McCann. The hit extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Triplett then lined another 1-2 pitch to center for a single, plating Santangelo from third, and Demmink loaded the bases with a bunt single to third base. Evans followed with a ground ball to to Murray, who threw home for the force out. Sipp then grounded out to end the inning. Clemson left the bases loaded for the third time, stranding 13 through eight innings.

Duke did not let up, as they scored a run in the eighth inning. Bryan Smith led off the inning with a double to right field and scored when Demmink was unable to come up with Mike Miello's grounder. John Berger followed with a shot to McCann at third. After bobbling the ball, he started the 5-4-3 double play. Steven Jackson then got Loftin to ground out to end the inning.

Clemson will travel directly from Durham to Salem, VA for the 2004 ACC Tournament. The Tigers will be the #4 seed and play #5 seed North Carolina Wednesday at 10:00 AM.

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