Wake Forest Tops #1 Clemson

Jeff Ruziecki's two-out, two-run homer in the eighth inning capped a three-run inning as third-ranked Wake Forest defeated top-ranked Clemson 4-2 on Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Wake Forest (36-6, 15-3 ACC) jumped into first place in the league while Clemson dropped to 36-6 and 10-3 in the ACC.

Kyle Sleeth (9-0) earned the win for Wake Forest, pitching seven innings while yielding only one earned run. Dave Bush picked his fourth save of the season. Paul Harrelson (1-1) got the loss for Clemson. Starter Steve Reba kept the Demon Deacons hitless through the first 4.2 innings before giving up a single to center. He lasted seven innings, allowing just one run and two hits while walking four and striking out three.

Nick Blue led off the eighth inning with a double to right off of relief pitcher Thomas Boozer. After Boozer induced a groundout that allowed Blue to move to third, Head Coach Jack Leggett went to the bullpen and closer Paul Harrelson. Wake Forest's Jamie D'Antona flied out to right and Kyle Frank's throw was high, allowing Blue to score and the Deacons to tie the game at two. The Wake offense wasn't finished, however, and Ruziecki took Harrelson's 1-2 offering over the fence in right center for a two-run home run and a 4-2 lead.

Clemson, which played without Jeff Baker due to a strained quadriceps muscle, squandered many opportunities throughout the game and went 1-15 with runners in scoring position while leaving 15 men on base. One of those opportunities came in the bottom of the ninth. Khalil Greene led off the ninth inning by lining a 1-2 pitch down the left field line for his 80th career double. After a strikeout by Michael Johnson, Bush's 1-2 delivery hit Chad Coder to put runners on first and second with one out. After striking out Jeff Hourigan, Bush hit Russell Triplett to load the bases with two outs. But Bush ended the game when David Slevin struck out looking.

Clemson started the scoring in the third inning. After a double by Michael Johnson, Jeff Hourigan stepped to the plate two batters later and drove an 0-2 pitch over the shortstop's head for a two-out, RBI-single that gave Clemson a 1-0 lead.

The Tigers added to the lead in the fifth inning. Khalil Greene singled to lead off the inning and a walk by Jarrod Schmidt put runners on first and second with one out. After a double steal, Green scored on the next pitch when Sleeth's delivery crossed up catcher Ryder Mathias. Sleeth struck out Russell Triplett to end the Tiger scoring in the inning.

Wake Forest finally got on the board in the sixth inning. Nick Blue doubled to right center to lead off the inning and and scored after tagging up on deep flyouts by Ryan Johnson and Jamie D'Antona. The Demon Deacons threatened in the seventh with runners on first and second and two outs when Adam Bourassa grounded to shortstop Khalil Greene. Greene flipped the ball to second base for the force out, but runner Ryan Hubbard beat the toss to the bag. Second baseman David Slevin alertly threw the ball to third baseman Russell Triplett, who tagged out Wake's Ben Ingold after Ingold had rounded the bag and Clemson escaped the inning with no runs allowed.

Khalil Greene led Clemson by going 3-4 and Hourigan added two hits in the losing cause. Blue and Mathias led Wake Forest with two hits a piece.

The two teams will square off tomorrow at 7:00 PM. B.J. LaMura (4-1) will take the hill for Clemson while Seth Hill (3-0) is expected to start for Wake Forest. The game will be broadcast by Fox Net Sports South.

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