Clemson Advances by Crushing ECU

Zane Green sent the first pitch of the game over the fence in right and sent top-seeded Clemson on its way to a 21-1 victory over East Carolina in the Championship Game of the Clemson Regional Sunday afternoon before 3,886 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Leading 8-1, the Tigers reeled off 12 runs in the sixth inning, the most runs ever scored by Clemson in one inning of NCAA Tournament play, to turn the game into a runaway.

Green, batting in the leadoff spot for the first time all season, hit his second home run of the series and of his career. The long ball was only the beginning as Clemson scored in each of the first four innings, including three runs in the second. Jarrod Schmidt led off the frame with a single and scored when Kyle Frank's double was mishandled by center fielder Warren Gaspar. Frank moved to third on a groundout and then stole home for the second run of the inning. Khalil Greene extended his hitting streak to 30 games with an RBI-single that extended the lead to 4-0.

Three straight hits led off the Clemson third, the last of which was an RBI-single by Schmidt. Russell Triplett executed a squeeze bunt to plate another run. East Carolina broke through in the bottom of the third when Jedd Sorenson hit a two-out double to left field that plated Ben Sanderson. In the fourth, Michael Johnson roped a single through a drawn in infield to score two runs and extend the lead to 8-1.

Clemson erased any doubt about the outcome in the sixth. East Carolina used three pitchers in the inning, but none of the hurlers had success slowing down the Tiger bats. Fifteen batters came to the plate and the inning was capped by a three-run homer by Michael Johnson and a two-run homer by Schmidt, who also singled in the inning. The inning was the second highest scoring sixth inning in Clemson history, behind a 14-run frame against Maine in 1998. The Tigers added a run in the ninth to make the final margin 21-1.

Freshman Tyler Lumsden (4-1) pitched five innings of one-run baseball, allowing six hits while striking out four and walking one, to earn the win for Clemson (50-14). Jason Mandryk (7-4) got the loss for East Carolina (43-20-1). Roberto Valiente and Schmidt both went 4-7 to lead the attack while Johnson had a team-high five RBIs. Johnson, Schmidt, Green, Frank, Greene, Jeff Baker and pitchers Steve Reba and Matt Henrie were named to the All-Tournament Team, while Darryl Lawhorn, Clayton McCullough and Ben Sanderson made the All-Tournament Team for East Carolina. Greene was also named the Tournament MVP.

Clemson reached the 50-win plateau for the seventh time since 1990 and will advance to the Super Regional round for the fourth straight season. The Tigers will play either Arkansas or Oral Roberts from the Wichita State Regional in a best-of-three series beginning on Friday. Top Stories