Tigers Fall to Wake Forest

Brett Linnenkohl's walkoff single in the ninth inning lifted Wake Forest to a 3-2 victory over No. 15 Clemson in the ACC Tournament at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Friday.

Eighth-seeded Wake Forest kept its ACC title hopes alive in the round-robin tourney, as it improved to 1-1 in the tourney and 32-26 overall. The #4-seeded Tigers dropped to 1-1 in the tournament and 37-21 overall.

Wake Forest reliever Eric Niesen (6-5) earned the win, as he allowed no runs and no hits in 1.2 innings pitched. Starter Brad Kledzik pitched 7.1 effective innings, allowing just two runs on six hits.

Tiger reliever Stephen Clyne (5-2) took the loss, as he allowed three hits and one unearned run in 0.2 innings pitched. Starter Ryan Hinson pitched 6.1 solid innings, as he allowed just one run on four hits.

The Tigers took the game's first lead in the fourth inning. Andy D'Alessio led off with a walk and went to second on Taylor Harbin's sacrifice bunt. Doug Hogan then lofted a double down the left-field line to score D'Alessio.

Clemson doubled its lead in the fifth inning thanks to another leadoff walk. J.D. Burgess led off with a walk, advanced to second on Brad Chalk's groundout, and went to third on a wild pitch. Wilson Boyd followed with a sacrifice fly to left-center to plate Burgess, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

In the seventh inning, the Demon Deacons cut Clemson's lead in half. Weldon Woodall hit a one-out single to right-center and Austin Jones followed with a walk. Ben Terry's bunt single loaded the bases, then Matt Vaughn entered in relief of Hinson. After Dustin Hood flied out to left for out #2, Allan Dykstra walked on a 3-1 pitch to score Woodall. But Vaughn struck out Willy Fox looking to keep the Tigers ahead 2-1.

In the eighth inning, Linnenkohl led of with a hit-by-pitch and advanced to second on Andy Goff's sacrifice bunt. After Clyne entered the game in relief, Tyler Smith slapped a single through the left side to plate Linnenkohl, tying the score 2-2.

Then the Demon Deacons won the game in the ninth inning. Hood led off with an infield single and advanced to second when Harbin's throw went into the stands. After Dykstra was intentionally walked, Fox laid down a two-strike bunt back to Clyne. The senior wheeled and threw to third, but his throw pulled Marquez Smith off the bag, allowing Hood to reach third on the error. Then with the infield in, Linnenkohl singled up the middle to plate Hood for the winning run.

It was the second walkoff hit for Linnenkohl against the Tigers in 2007. In Wake Forest's lone win in a three-game series against the Tigers in Winston-Salem, NC on April 13, he also hit a walkoff single in the ninth inning to send the Demon Deacons to a 6-5 win.

Hood and Woodall led the Demon Deacons with two hits apiece. Smith paced Clemson with two hits. The Tigers were plagued by going just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Clemson will play top-seed Florida State on Saturday at 4:00 PM in its next action in the ACC Tournament. The Tigers must defeat the Seminoles and Miami (FL) must beat Wake Forest at 7:00 PM on Saturday for Clemson to reach the ACC Tournament Championship Game.

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