Smith Gives Clemson Grand Win

CLEMSON – Marquez Smith entered the weekend series against Boston College on Saturday with six home runs on the season. Twenty-four hours later, he had 10, none of which were bigger than the blast he hit late in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday night.

Trailing by three with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Smith hit a curveball over the wall in centerfield for a grand slam, and just like that, No. 18 Clemson was in the lead and it held on to the 7-6 victory in the last weekend series of the regular season at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

"I was just trying to put good contact on the ball," Smith said. "Luckily I got it up in the air. I wasn't quite sure I got it all, but then I saw it go out."

That was the second of two home runs Smith hit in the final game of the series. He also finished with a career-high six RBIs in the win.

He also hit a home run in the first game Sunday, as well as one Saturday night.

"Today was a pretty good day," the senior third baseman said. "This is definitely the highlight of my career."

Smith's blast prevented what would have otherwise been a very bad day for the Tigers (31-16, 15-9 ACC). A sweep at home by the hands of a team that is 21-25-1 overall and 12-15 in the ACC would have been disastrous.

"This was a huge game for us because we took two-out-of-three," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "It was a good time for (the homer). To come up dry there would have been tough. It was one of those things where it was a huge, huge clutch hit."

Besides Smith's prowess at the plate, the other star Sunday night was pitcher Matt Vaughn, who pitched four and two-thirds of scoreless relief, which gave the Tigers a chance to claw their way back into the game.

Vaughn allowed just two hits, while striking out four to improve to 4-0 on the season.

"He came in and shut the door for five innings," Leggett said. "That was outstanding. He toughed it up for us tonight."

When Leggett got ejected for the first time in three years during the sixth inning, Vaughn said he used it as motivation.

"When Coach got thrown out, I knew I had to step up my game a little bit," he said. "He hadn't been thrown out in three years and he was fighting for us."

At the time, the Tigers trailed by three runs and Leggett got upset at a play and was eventually ejected.

"Sometimes you have to take it for the team," Leggett said. "We needed a little juice."

It seemed to work, but Leggett wouldn't admit whether or not he went out to argue fully intending to get tossed.

"Make your own assumption with that one," he said with a sly grin. "We needed to get things rolling."

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