Tigers Sweep Duke

CLEMSON – Though some of the players are different from last year's College World Series team, the results are strikingly similar. Last season's team won 13 straight ACC regular season games to close the year. This season's squad just completed a three-game sweep to open league play.

No. 6 Clemson defeated Duke 9-6 Sunday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium to give the Tigers their fifth straight sweep over an ACC opponent and has them off and running again this year.

It is also their 21st straight win at home against an ACC foe. The last home loss came in a 6-4 loss to Georgia Tech back on April 30, 2005.

Like last season, this team will go as far as the pitching takes them. And thus far, the arms for the Tigers (14-4, 3-0 ACC) are doing quite well.

On Sunday, it was the repaired arm of senior Matt Vaughn that shut down the Blue Devils (17-7, 0-6).

Vaughn (1-0), who had Tommy John surgery in high school, entered the game in the third inning and pitched four scoreless innings by allowing just two hits and striking out three.

Duke scored four runs in the first and two more in the third before Tigers starter Alan Farina was pulled in favor of Vaughn.

Vaughn's ability to nail the door shut on the Blue Devils allowed Clemson to eventually grab the lead and the win.

"Compared to last year, my arm feels a lot better and I feel a lot more comfortable," said Vaughn, who has endured grueling rehabilitation throughout his career. "I was just trying to make sure I didn't give up any more runs and get us in the dugout."

After Duke scored its first four runs to start the game the Tigers stormed back by matching that same amount in the bottom half of the first.

Then when the Blue Devils scored two in the third, Clemson one-uped them by scoring three in the bottom half to take a 7-6 lead.

"Those were two pivotal points in the ballgame," Leggett said. "We responded when we had to."

The Tigers were forced to play without the services of shortstop Taylor Harbin, who sat out after being hit by a pitch in his left wrist Saturday. It was still swollen and sore Sunday.

"I came out in batting practice and I wasn't able to swing full out," Harbin said. "I sat out just for precaution and took a day off to let the swelling go down."

The injury is just a bone bruise, but when it happened Saturday, Harbin was concerned it was something more serious.

"I was kind of worried when it hit me," he said. "I was thinking the worse."

Freshman J.D. Burgess took Harbin's spot and went 1-for-3 with a run scored and three RBIs.

Up next for Clemson is a trip to Western Carolina, where Tigers head coach Jack Leggett will be going for his 1,000th career win.

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