Tigers Win Series at Florida State

Andy D'Alessio went 3-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs to lead #16 Clemson to an 11-6 win against #2 Florida State in front of 4,526 fans at Dick Howser Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Clemson won the series 2-1 and improved to 34-18 overall, 17-10 in ACC play. The Seminoles fell to 43-9 overall, 21-6 in the ACC, and lost back-to-back games for the first time in 2007.

D'Alessio smashed a three-run homer in the first inning and a two-run home run in the seventh inning, as he scored three runs and totaled five RBIs against the ACC's top team. Taylor Harbin added two hits, two walks, and two RBIs on a two-run homer, and Doug Hogan also totaled two doubles and two RBIs. Clemson had eight extra-base hits in all among its 12 hits.

Tiger starter D.J. Mitchell (4-0), who was making his first career weekend start, earned the win on his 20th birthday. He allowed five hits, five runs (four earned), and five walks with five strikeouts in a career-high-tying 6.0 innings pitched. Stephen Clyne picked up his third save by pitching 2.1 scoreless innings of one-hit ball.

Florida State starter Ryan Strauss (8-2) suffered the loss, as he allowed five hits and four runs in 3.1 innings pitched.

The Tigers grabbed an early lead in the first inning. Wilson Boyd hit a one-out double to right-center and Marquez Smith followed with a walk on four pitches. After being down in the count 0-2 and fouling off several two-strike pitches, D'Alessio crushed a three-run homer to right field on the 11th pitch of his at-bat.

Clemson upped its lead to 4-0 in the top of the fourth inning. Harbin led off with a walk. Two batters later, Hogan belted a double to left-center to score Harbin.

The Seminoles came right back and scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Buster Posey led off with a bunt single and Jack Rye walked on four pitches. The two moved up a base on Ohmed Danesh's groundout to first, then Jason Stidham's groundout to second plated Posey to put the Seminoles on the scoreboard.

Clemson built an 8-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning thanks to four runs on five hits, including three for extra bases. D'Alessio led off with a sharp single up the middle, then Harbin blasted a two-run homer into the wind in left field. It was his eighth homer of the season and fifth in the last seven games. After Ben Paulsen doubled off the wall in right field, Hogan ripped another double down the left-field line to score Paulsen. Alex Lee's sacrifice bunt advanced Hogan to third. After unsuccessfully trying to lay down a squeeze bunt on the first two pitches, J.D. Burgess reached out and hit a soft single to right field over the drawn-in infield to score Hogan.

Florida State scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to a Tiger error. Posey led off with a walk and advanced to second two batters later when Danesh walked with one out. Stidham then hit a grounder to D'Alessio at first. He threw to Harbin at second to record out #2, but Harbin's throw to first was wild, allowing Posey to score all the way from second base.

In the top of the seventh inning, Boyd led off with a walk. Two batters later, D'Alessio hit a long two-run homer to right-center to up Clemson's lead to 10-2. It was his second long ball of the game, 14th of the season, and 56th of his career. It was also the Naples, FL native's 11th career multi-homer game. In the last 17 games, D'Alessio has hit 11 home runs as well.

Florida State mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut Clemson's lead in half. Leadoff batter Mark Gildea struck out, but reached on a wild pitch. Brandon Reichert followed with a double off the wall in left field to score Gildea. Tony Thomas, Jr. then hit a two-run homer to left field, his 10th of the season. Mark Hallberg greeted relief pitcher Ryan Hinson with a double to right-center. After Hinson retired the next two Seminoles, Danesh and Stidham walked to load the bases, and in came Clyne out of the bullpen. His second pitch to pinch-hitter Ruairi O'Connor went to the backstop, allowing Hallberg to score on the wild pitch. Clyne eventually got O'Connor to ground out to end the inning.

Clemson got one of those runs back in the eighth inning thanks to two Seminole errors. Lee reached with no outs on a throwing error by Stidham. After a balk, Lee was retired at third base on Burgess' bunt. Addison Johnson followed with a ground ball to Thomas at second. His throw to the second-base bag was wild, allowing Burgess to reach safely. Burgess went to third when the ball got away from Hallberg. Boyd then hit a grounder to second, as Thomas threw to second for the out. But Boyd beat the throw to first to allow Burgess to score, giving Clemson an 11-6 lead.

The three-game series win was Clemson's first in Tallahassee since 1993, a year before Jack Leggett became the Tigers' head coach. Sunday's win also meant the Tigers defeated Florida State in football, basketball, and baseball (series win) in Tallahassee in the same academic year for the first time in school history.

Clemson will play host to College of Charleston on Tuesday at 7:15 PM.

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