Tigers Crush Virginia, 15-4

Top-ranked Clemson blew open a close game in the late innings to cruise to a 15-4 victory against Virginia Saturday afternoon at Davenport Field. The Tigers took the first of three games to improve to 41-10 while dropping the Cavaliers to 24-24.

Clemson led 5-1 when Virginia made things close in the seventh. Robert Word led off with a home run and the Cavaliers then hit three singles to load the bases with only one out. Starter Steve Reba delivered a pitch in the dirt that got away from Steve Pyzik, but the catcher hustled to the ball and tossed it back to Reba at the plate. Reba caught the toss and appeared to beat runner Mark Reynolds to the plate, but umpire Ron Sebastian called Reynolds safe.

Kyle Werman then hit a groundball to Michael Johnson, but the first baseman's throw to the plate was not in time as Virginia cut the lead to 5-4. Reba picked off a runner for out number two and reliever Jeff Hourigan struck out Dan Street with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The Tigers responded with three runs of its own in the seventh, two in the eighth and five in the ninth to put the game out of reach. Jeff Baker tripled off the wall in left to score Khalil Greene and Jarrod Schmidt came through with a two-out, two-run single to left to put the Tigers up 8-4. Greene, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the fifth inning, hit a two-run home run in the eighth and moved into second place in the ACC with 364 career hits. Jack Weber of NC State is the alltime leader with 366 hits.

In the ninth inning, David Slevin drove in two runs with a single and Zane Green drove in a run with a groundout in the ninth before pinch hitter and Burke, VA, native Garrick Evans capped the scoring with a two-run triple off the wall in right.

Reba (11-1) threw 110 pitches over 5.2 innings to get the win. He allowed four runs, three earned and eight hits while walking three and striking out two. Jeff Hourigan and Ryan Childs combined to pitched the last 3.1 scoreless innings to close the game. Jeff Kamarath (7-4) got the loss for Virginia.

Clemson began the game's scoring in the second inning. Kamrath walked Jeff Baker and Michael Johnson to lead off the inning and balked the runners over to second and third. Designated hitter Russell Triplett drove in one run with a sacrifice fly to center, but Kamrath struck out Jarrod Schmidt and got David Slevin to fly out to center to end the inning. Virginia tied the game in the third after David Stone reached on a fielding error by Michael Johnson and scored on Matt Street's double to deep center.

Baker and Johnson got things started again for the Tigers in the fourth inning with back-to-back one-out singles. Triplett walked to load the bases and Kamrath walked in Schmidt to plate one run. Slevin drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to center that put Clemson back in front 3-1.

In the sixth inning, David Slevin drilled an 0-2 pitch that came just short of clearing the fence in left but turned into a triple and scored Russell Triplett. Slevin scored one pitch later on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Steve Pyzik that pushed the Clemson lead to 5-1.

Slevin and Greene each had three hits to lead the Tiger offense.

The two teams will square off on Sunday at 2:00 PM. Matt Henrie (9-2, 2.75 ERA) will take the mound for Clemson and Joe Koshansky (2-4, 5.17 ERA) is expected to start for Virginia.

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