Tigers Beat Duke

Outstanding starting pitching and an efficient offense helped No. 6 Clemson defeat Duke 6-4 in the Tigers' ACC opener on Friday night in front of 4,127 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the series, and improved to 12-4 overall and 1-0 in the ACC, while the Blue Devils dropped to 17-5 overall and 0-4 in the ACC.

P.J. Zocchi (3-0) earned the win for the Tigers, as he pitched 7.0 scoreless innings of three-hit ball. Zocchi struck out eight batters, tying his career-best. He improved to 10-0 in his career as well. Daniel Moskos fanned two in the ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season.

Tony Bajoczky (3-2) took the loss for Duke. He pitched 6.0 innings, giving up six runs on six hits.

Taylor Harbin led the Tigers' offensive attack with a three-run homer, while Addison Johnson collected two hits and an RBI.

Duke threatened in the first inning, but came up empty. Alexander Hassan doubled to left field to lead off. Jonathan Anderson followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Hassan to third. Jimmy Gallagher walked and then stole second. But Nate Freiman flied into a double play, as Hassan was thrown out at home thanks to an accurate throw by right-fielder Wilson Boyd.

The Tigers got going offensively in the third inning with back-to-back singles by Johnson and David Bunnell. Brad Chalk followed with an RBI single that scored Johnson. Boyd reached base on a fielding error by second-baseman Ryan McCurdy that plated Bunnell and put the Tigers up 2-0.

Chalk reached on a walk with one out in the fifth. Boyd then hit a chopper over the mound. Gabriel Saade tried to retire Chalk at second, but his tag was late, as Boyd reached on the fielder's choice. Harbin then blasted a three-run homer to left field, putting the Tigers on top 5-0. It was his second home run of the year.

The Tigers scored once in the sixth inning on Johnson's triple down the right-field line that plated Hogan for a 6-0 lead.

In the eighth inning, Hassan reached with two outs on a fielding error by Bunnell. Jonathan Anderson followed with a bunt single. Smith's throw to first was errant, allowing Hassan to come all the way around to score. Gallagher then singled through the right side to plate Anderson, and Freiman laced a double to center to score Gallagher and trim the Tiger lead to 6-3. The three runs, all unearned, allowed by Clemson snapped the Tigers' 20-inning scoreless streak over their last three games.

The Blue Devils scored once more in the ninth on Hassan's single that scored Williams. But Moskos struck out Anderson with the tying run on first base to end the game.

Duke, who outhit Clemson 8-6, was led at the plate by Hassan and Freiman, who had two hits apiece.

The Tigers and Blue Devils will play game-two of the three-game series on Saturday at 4:00 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

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