Tigers Win Slugfest

Clemson rallied from a 13-6 deficit to defeat Wake Forest 17-14 in 11 innings in front of a season-high 2,046 fans at Hooks Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Andy D'Alessio, who made a game-saving play with the score tied and the bases loaded in the ninth inning, went 3-for-6 with a homer, double, four runs scored, and six RBIs to lead the Tigers' 23-hit attack. Clemson took a 2-0 series lead, and in the process set season highs for both runs and hits. The Tigers improved to 32-19 (17-9 ACC), while the Demon Deacons fell to 23-25 (11-15 ACC).

Josh Cribb (5-4) earned the win in relief. Cribb, who on Monday pitched a six-hit shutout at Virginia Tech, pitched the final 3.0 innings, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts. Both of his walks allowed were intentional passes. Four other Tiger pitchers combined to allow just four hits in 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Tim Morley (1-6) allowed three runs in the 11th inning and suffered the loss.

Eight different Tigers had at least two hits, including a team-high four by Taylor Harbin. D'Alessio, Brad Chalk, Travis Storrer, and Adrian Casanova all had three hits apiece, while Casanova added a homer and four RBIs. Ben Ingold was a perfect 6-for-6 with four runs scored for the Demon Deacons, who had 15 hits in all. Brendan Enick had five RBIs, including a grand slam, while Ryder Mathias was 2-for-4 with a homer, four RBIs, and two hit-by-pitches. Wake Forest batters walked nine times and were hit by a pitch six times.

After both teams wasted good scoring opportunities in the first inning, the Tigers capitalized on their chances in the second inning. Kris Harvey reached on a hit-by-pitch and Storrer followed with a single through the left side, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Andy D'Alessio then singled through the right side, as Harvey scored from second. After Stan Widmann moved the runners up to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, Casanova singled through the right side to bring home Storrer. Herman Demmink gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead when he plated D'Alessio on a sacrifice fly to center.

The Demon Deacons turned a three-run deficit into a three-run lead in the third inning thanks to two long balls. Ingold led off with a double to right-center, and J.B. Tucker and Mathias both reached on hit-by-pitches to load the bases with no outs. P.J. Zocchi relieved Kris Harvey, and Enick hit the first pitch from Zocchi over the fence in left-center for a grand slam, his fourth homer of the season. Matt Miller followed with a walk and went to second on a wild pitch. Three batters later, Brett Linnenkohl ripped a two-out, two-run homer to right field, giving the Demon Deacons a 6-3 lead. It was Linnenkohl's third home run of the season.

Clemson responded with three runs in the fourth inning to tie the score. Storrer led off with a walk, the first by a Tiger in the series. Then on a full-count pitch with Storrer moving on the hit-and-run, D'Alessio hit a comebacker to the mound. Josh Ellis wheeled and threw wild to second, allowing Storrer to go all the way to third base. Two batters later, Casanova hit a three-run homer to right-center to tie the score. It was Casanova's fourth homer of the season, all of which have been on the road, but first to the opposite field.

Wake Forest wasted little time retaking the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with four runs thanks to four more free passes. Ingold led off with a sharp single to left and went to second on a single through the left side by Tucker. After the two moved up a base on a wild pitch, Mathias walked to load the bases. Enick walked on four pitches to plate Ingold. Miller struck out for out #1, but Casey Sterk and Andy Goff both walked to bring home runs. Linnenkohl hit a potential inning-ending double play ball to second base, but Widmann was unable to get the ball out of his glove after recording out #2, allowing Enick to score.

The Demon Deacons added to their lead in the fifth inning with three more runs. Ingold and Tucker led off with singles through the left side, and Mathias hit a three-run homer to centerfield just over the fence, his 10th of the season and seventh in the last eighth game.

The Tigers cut into the lead in the sixth inning with two runs. Chalk and Harbin hit one-out singles, then Tyler Colvin grounded a single up the middle, scoring Chalk and moving Harbin to third. Ben Hall followed with a sacrifice fly to right, cutting the Wake Forest lead to five runs.

Clemson cut further into the Demon Deacon lead with four runs in the eighth inning. Harbin led off with a walk and Colvin reached when he was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Storrer grounded a single up the middle, plating Harbin and advancing Colvin to third. Then D'Alessio hit a long three-run homer to right field, narrowing Wake Forest's lead to 13-12. It was his 13th homer of the season.

In the ninth inning, Chalk reached when Ingold booted a grounder to second. Harbin followed with a single off the glove of third-baseman Matt Antonelli. Colvin reached on a fielder's choice to shorstop, as Chalk advanced to third. Hall, who came off the bench in the third inning, laced a single to the right-center gap. Chalk scored the tying run, and Colvin also came around to score the go-ahead run when Miller booted the ball, giving the Tigers a 14-13 lead. Both runs in the inning were unearned.

Head Coach Jack Leggett elected to send out Sunday's scheduled starter (Cribb) to the mound in the bottom of the ninth. Antonelli flied out to shallow left field to lead off the inning, then Ingold ripped a single to left-center. Tucker followed with a single through the right side, as Ingold went to third. Mathias followed with a soft line-drive single to left-center, plating Ingold and moving Tucker to third. Mathias went to second when Colvin's throw to third was errant. Instead of walking the bases loaded, Clemson pitched to Enick, and Cribb struck him out for out #2. The Tigers intentionally walked Miller to load the bases, and Sterk hit a grounder in the hole between first and second. D'Alessio backhanded the ball and threw on the run to Widmann, who caught the ball and stepped on the second-base bag simultaneously for the force out, just ahead of a sliding Miller.

Chalk reached on a two-out bunt single in the 10th, and Harbin hit a deep fly to centerfield. But Miller made the catch against the wall for the inning-ending out.

Goff led off the bottom of the 10th by reaching on a hit-by-pitch. Linnenkohl moved Goff into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt back to Cribb. Antonelli lined out to center for out #2, and the Tigers intentionally walked Ingold, who was 6-for-6. The move paid off when Cribb struck out Tucker for the inning-ending out.

In the top of the 11th, Hall lined a one-out double to left and Storrer walked. D'Alessio then ripped a double to the gap in left-center, plating two runs. Three batters later, Demmink lined a single to right-center to score D'Alessio, giving the Tigers a 17-14 lead.

In the bottom of the 11th, Mathias reached on a hit-by-pitch to lead off the frame. Cribb battled back from a 3-1 count to strike out Enick for out #1. Then Miller grounded into a game-ending 3-6-3 double play, fittingly with D'Alessio starting and ending the double play.

The Tigers improved to 2-0 in extra-inning games, with Hall playing a big part in each victory. Earlier this year at College Park, MD, Hall made a game-saving catch at second base with the score tied, as Clemson went on to win 6-4 at Maryland in late March. On Saturday, Hall came off the bench and had two key hits in the ninth and 11th innings, including the go-ahead hit in the ninth inning.

Clemson also moved into a tie for third place in the ACC with Florida State, who is also 17-9 in league play thanks to its 6-5 come-from-behind win over North Carolina Saturday, and a half game ahead of the fifth-place Tar Heels (15-8-1).

Clemson and Wake Forest will play the series finale Sunday at 1:00 PM. Due to Cribb's 3.0 innings pitched in relief Saturday, junior lefthander Robert Rohrbaugh (5-2, 4.62 ERA) will start on the mound for the Tigers on Sunday.

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