Late Inning Magic Lifts Tigers

OMAHA, Neb. – Andy D'Alessio has hit plenty of home runs in his three years at Clemson – a total of 41, to be exact. But none were ever as big as the three-run blast he hit in the first game of the 2006 College World Series.

D'Alessio smacked a 3-2 pitch that just barely got over the wall in left-center field in the bottom of the eighth inning to propel the Tigers to a dramatic 8-4 victory over their nemesis Georgia Tech Friday afternoon in front of 16,045 at Rosenblatt Stadium.

It was his 23rd home run of the season, but this was the one with the most impact. In addition, his homer was part of an eight-run inning that secured Clemson's win.

"I saw a slider out of (Ryan Turner's) hand and it was dead and I just put a good swing on it and it finally and give us the lead," D'Alessio said.

Clemson will now play Sunday at 8 p.m. (EDT) against the winner between North Carolina and Cal State Fullerton.

Through the first seven innings, there was no evidence the Tigers had any offense in them. They got a hit in the first inning and didn't get their second until D'Alessio got one in the seventh.

Entering the bottom of the eighth, the Yellow Jackets (50-17) held a 4-0 lead, which meant they had all but secured the win considering they entered the game with a 45-0 record when leading after seven innings.

"The bullpen has been great all year," Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said. "One of the reasons we're here is our bullpen. We just didn't execute the pitches we needed to in the eighth inning."

CUTigers Live from Omaha Coverage:

  • Photo Gallery I

  • Eighth Inning Photo Gallery

  • Postgame Press Conferences

  • CWS Notebook

  • Box Score


  • Conversely, Clemson (53-14) finished the regular season with only 1-9 when trailing after seven innings. It has now had three straight come-from-behind wins.

    "I didn't realize that," Tigers coach Jack Leggett said. "It must mean we were ahead a lot, I guess. I just think we're maturing as a team and feeling stronger and better about ourselves.

    "You win one of those games, boy, it does more for you than any kind of talk, speech, or any kind of motivational thing. They start to believe it can happen and once they see it in person, that's more important than talking about it."

    Georgia Tech starting pitcher Lee Hyde was absolutely dominant against the Tigers, until that eighth inning, when he allowed the first two batters (Herman Demmink and Brad Chalk) to reach base.

    Hall then pulled him for Brad Rulon.

    "It was hot out there," Hyde said. "I didn't feel tired, but I think was pitching on adrenaline from pitching in the College World Series. I was leaving the ball up, so maybe it looked like I was getting tired."

    Maybe Hall should have left him in there. Fortunately for Clemson, that wasn't the case.

    "It seemed like all day (Hyde) was throwing strikes," Demmink said. "Even when he made mistakes, they were still strikes. … Anytime you can get a lefty out of the lineup, it's always a plus."

    Marquez Smith got the Tigers on the board after hitting a two-run double to left-centerfield against Rulon, which gave them life. It was the only batter Rulon faced.

    Tyler Colvin came up next and got an infield hit off of Turner to put runners at first and third with no outs. Turner than had a wild throw on a pickoff move to first that went toward the Georgia Tech bullpen to score Smith to make it 4-3 with no outs.

    On the bad throw, Colvin moved to third with no outs, requiring only a fly ball or grounder in the middle by D'Alessio to score and tie it.

    In the end, he got much more.

    D'Alessio had two strikes on him and had looked bad to get behind in the count. He checked his swing on one pitch, smoked another foul ball, before getting the perfect pitch, which he didn't miss to give Clemson a 6-4 lead.

    "It seems like we've been coming on strong late," D'Alessio said. "We were able to get to their bullpen and I was able to come up with the big hit."

    Clemson wasn't done with their offensive output.

    After an out, D.J. Mitchell doubled to left and later scored when Adrian Casanova singled to left to make it 7-4. Casanova then scored on Ben Hall's pinch-hit single to center to complete the scoring.

    "We were able to get men on and put some pressure on them," Leggett said. "I think the most valuable lesson we have learned all year is that we are never out of a ball game until the final out."

    Georgia Tech 4 (50-17)
    
    Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Steven Blackwood cf......  4  1  0  0   1  3  1  0   0
    Wally Crancer rf.........  5  1  3  0   0  0  0  0   0
    Matt Wieters c...........  3  1  1  1   0  0  7  0   0
    Jeff Kindel lf...........  4  1  2  2   0  0  4  0   3
    Whit Robbins 3b..........  4  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   1
    Luke Murton 1b...........  4  0  2  0   0  0  8  0   0
    Wes Hodges dh............  3  0  0  0   1  1  0  0   1
     Nick Scherer pr/dh......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
    Mike Trapani 2b..........  3  0  0  0   1  0  3  4   1
    Michael Fisher ss........  3  0  0  0   0  0  1  4   1
    Lee Hyde p...............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  2   0
     Brad Rulon p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
     Ryan Turner p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
     Jared Hyatt p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
     Tim Ladd p..............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
    Totals................... 33  4  8  3   3  5 24 10   7
    
    Clemson 8 (53-14)
    
    Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Herman Demmink dh........  3  1  0  0   1  0  0  0   0
     Ben Hall ph/dh..........  1  0  1  1   0  0  0  0   0
    Brad Chalk cf............  4  1  1  0   1  1  0  0   0
    Marquez Smith 3b.........  3  1  1  2   2  1  0  1   0
    Tyler Colvin lf..........  5  1  2  0   0  1  3  0   3
    Taylor Harbin 2b.........  3  1  0  0   1  2  1  4   2
    Andy D'Alessio 1b........  3  1  2  3   1  0 13  0   0
    Stan Widmann ss..........  3  0  0  0   1  0  3  3   0
    D.J. Mitchell rf.........  4  1  1  0   0  0  2  0   1
    Adrian Casanova c........  4  1  1  1   0  2  5  0   2
    Sean Clark p.............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
     Ryan Hinson p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
     Daniel Moskos p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
    Totals................... 33  8  9  7   7  7 27  9   8
    
    Score by Innings                    R  H  E
    -------------------------------------------
    Georgia Tech........ 300 000 100 -  4  8  1
    Clemson............. 000 000 08X -  8  9  0
    -------------------------------------------
    
    E - TURNER(3). DP - Clemson 2. LOB - Georgia Tech 7; Clemson 8. 2B - CRANCER
    2(11); M. SMITH(19); MITCHELL(3). HR - KINDEL(14); D'ALESSIO(23). HBP -
    WIETERS; FISHER. SB - HALL(1); M. SMITH(5).
    
    Georgia Tech           IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
    -----------------------------------------------
    Lee Hyde............  7.0  3  2  2  5  6 24 29
    Brad Rulon..........  0.0  1  1  1  0  0  1  1
    Ryan Turner.........  0.0  2  3  3  1  0  2  3
    Jared Hyatt.........  0.1  2  2  2  0  0  3  3
    Tim Ladd............  0.2  1  0  0  1  1  3  4
    
    Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
    -----------------------------------------------
    Sean Clark..........  6.0  7  4  4  2  3 25 29
    Ryan Hinson.........  2.0  1  0  0  1  1  5  6
    Daniel Moskos.......  1.0  0  0  0  0  1  3  3
    
    Win - HINSON (4-0).  Loss - TURNER (4-4).  Save - None.
    WP - LADD(2). HBP - by CLARK (FISHER); by CLARK (WIETERS). PB - WIETERS(2).
    Umpires - HP: Randy Bruns  1B: John Kleis  2B: Paul Guillie  3B: Tony Maners
    Start: 1:08   Time: 2:44   Attendance: 16045
    CLARK faced 2 batters in the 7th.
    HYDE faced 2 batters in the 8th.
    RULON faced 1 batter in the 8th.
    TURNER faced 3 batters in the 8th.

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