Tigers Beat the Unbeatable

CLEMSON – This time, it wasn't the Ides of March and Cesar wasn't stabbed by a friend in Rome. No, this was an all-out frontal assault by nine bat-wielding enemies located in Clemson.

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The offense of the Tigers gave record-setting Miami pitcher Cesar Carrillo the worst pounding of his pitching life and by the end of the fourth inning, the emperor was done and in route to his first loss of his storied career.

In that single inning, Clemson gave Carrillo his career-high in hits and runs allowed for an entire game as the Tigers went on to a 15-5 waxing of Miami Thursday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in the first of a three-game series.

"This is a huge confidence booster," said Clemson designated hitter Kris Harvey. "He's the best pitcher in college baseball right now … but it's a huge confidence booster for the rest of the weekend and the ACC Tournament."

Coming into Thursday, Carrillo (12-1) had never lost in 34 career starts and had a career record of 24-0, which was just two wins shy of tying the NCAA record for consecutive victories. He had never given up more than six runs or nine hits in an entire game and Miami was 34-0 whenever Carrillo took to the mound.

However, in the decisive fourth, the Tigers sent 15 hitters to the plate, with 10 of them getting hits, nine of which came against Carrillo, and 11 of them scoring, all of which came against him. Carrillo also lasted a career-low 3.2 innings.

"I felt like all my pitches were working tonight," Carrillo said. "They just came out hitting. … I was just trying to come out and throw strikes and keep my team in the game, but it just didn't happen today."

By getting Game 1, No. 24 Clemson improves to 35-19 overall, but more importantly 19-9 in the ACC. The Tigers are just percentage points behind No. 4 Miami (38-13-1, 19-8-1 ACC) for second place and can overtake the Hurricanes with a win Friday.

"(Before the game) we talked about how this was a good opportunity and a good challenge, and how we have our own fate in our own hands and how we've been playing well lately and how we've been playing aggressively and been playing tough and there's no sense in stopping now just because it's Miami or anybody else," Tigers coach Jack Leggett said. "This is why you come to Clemson."

Stephen Faris gave up just two runs in seven innings on his way to the win.
Meanwhile, as Carrillo was getting rocked, Clemson starting pitcher Stephen Farris (6-3) was on his game as he went seven innings, allowing two runs, one earned and eight hits, while striking out five and walking none.

"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little more adrenaline pumping," Farris said. "I wasn't going to try and be too cute with them. I was just going to come out and try to throw strikes and not make any mistakes. I told the guys just to get me a couple of runs and I battled and they blew it open."

The fourth inning started innocently enough with Taylor Harbin striking out. But then the onslaught began as Tyler Harbin singled and was followed by a Kris Harvey two-run homer, which was just the fourth allowed all season by Carrillo.

Travis Storrer came up next and delivered a single and Andy D'Alessio recorded the second out by striking out. It appeared as though Carrillo would manage to get out of the inning with little damage.

Stan Widmann singled as did Adrian Casanova, which brought home Storrer to give Clemson a 3-0 lead. But the scoring was far from over as Herman Demmink got a two-run single to push the lead to 5-0.

There were still four more singles, three errors and a walk to come to stake the Tigers to an 11-0 lead after four innings.

All told, the Tigers managed 15 hits, with Miami committing six errors.

Game 2 in the series is 7:15 p.m., with Josh Cribb (5-4, 3.91 ERA) getting the start for Clemson, while Dan Touchet (3-3, 5.59 ERA) gets the nod for the Hurricanes. Should the Tigers manage a win Friday, it will go a long way to putting them into a position to host an NCAA regional.

"It's not going to be easy," Leggett said. "They're a good offensive team and we have to be ready to come out here and play."

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