Another Tight Win

CLEMSON – Should Clemson manage to go on to have a successful baseball season, coach Jack Leggett may look all the way back to the fifth game of the season and a Taylor Harbin double in the bottom of the ninth as a reason why. <br>

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With one out and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, Harbin hit a bloop to left field and due to sheer hustle, he stretched it into a double. After two intentional walks to load the bases, Harbin scored on a Tyler Colvin grounder to give the Tigers a 5-4 victory over 18th-ranked California Irvine Saturday afternoon in front of 4,508 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

"I was just trying to get on base anyway I could," Harbin said. "As soon as I hit it, I was thinking two. As soon as I saw the third baseman dive for it, I never hesitated and took off for second."

The win gives Clemson (3-2) a much needed 2-0 lead in the three-game series after going 1-2 a week ago in a tournament in Myrtle Beach. The last thing the Tigers wanted to do was start the season 1-5 or 2-4, which could have been disastrous and set the tone for the rest of year.

"This is a huge, huge series for us," Leggett said. "You want to get yourself above the Mendoza line and keep playing hard."

Harbin's hustle was needed in the bottom the ninth because the Tigers failed to get one strike on two separate occasions in the top of the inning to secure the win.

Clemson held a 4-2 lead with two outs and a 3-2 count, but pitcher Jeff Hahn walked Chad Landahl. Hahn then gave up a double to right field to put runners on second and third.

Hahn then balked, which scored Landahl and moved Brett Dalton to third and make it 4-3.

Without having much time to warm up, Leggett called on freshman Daniel Moskos to close the deal. But he was wild and walked his first batter to put runners on first and third.

Then after starting out with a 3-0 count on Matt Anderson, Moskos battled back and threw two strikes to load the count and move within one strike of a win. But Anderson smoked the next pitch to right field to score Dalton and tie the game at 4-4.

That brought in new pitcher Drew Fiorenza, who entered with runners on first and third. Fiorenza never sweated it and struck out Erik Johnson to end the inning.

"It's definitely the situation I want to be in," Fiorenza said. "That's what we work for."

Clemson grabbed a 4-2 lead after designated hitter Kris Harvey cranked a solo home run over the fence in left field. It was the first home run by any Tiger this season.

Earlier, Clemson took advantage of an Anteaters error in the second inning, which allowed two unearned runs to score. It was one of four errors Irvine (6-4) committed Saturday. The Anteaters have no committed eight errors in their last two games.

"We won with some defense today," Leggett said. "We took advantage of some defensive mistakes. We're going to have to win with defense and pitching. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to us."


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