Behind three home runs and J.D. Burgess' double that scored two runs in the eighth inning, No. 13 Clemson rallied for a 7-6 victory over College of Charleston in front of 2,083 fans at Patriots Point Stadium on Friday. The Tigers improved to 5-0, while the Cougars fell to 4-1. Clemson also upped its all-time record to 19-0 against College of Charleston.
Reliever Alex Martin (1-0) earned the win by retiring the only batter he faced in the seventh inning. Matt Vaughn, a native of nearby Summerville, SC, pitched 2.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts to earn his second save of the year. Tiger starter Graham Stoneburner surrendered three runs on four hits in the first inning, but he settled down and pitched near perfect baseball the next four innings to keep the Tigers within reach.
Cougar reliever Jesse Simpson (2-1) allowed the two eighth-inning runs and suffered the loss. Starter Danny Meszaros struck out nine and did not walk a batter in 5.1 innings pitched as well.
The Cougars took a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to two triples and a home run. Stuart Haywood led off with a triple to left field. Two batters later, Brandon Sizemore belted a two-run homer to left field, his third of the season. Michael Harrington followed with a triple over the first-base bag and scored on Jeremie Tice's groundout to shortstop.
The Tigers tied the score in the third inning after the first two batters were retired. Stan Widmann laid down a bunt single and Wilson Boyd followed with an opposite-field, two-run homer to left field, his fifth of the season. Doug Hogan made it back-to-back long balls with a towering homer to left-center. It was his second home run of the season and extended his hitting streak to 20 games. Only 16 times previously has a Tiger had a hitting streak of 20 games or more.
Ben Paulsen put the Tigers on top in the sixth inning when he led off with an opposite-field homer to left field, his second of the year. Two batters later, Kyle Parker doubled down the left-field line. After Jeff Schaus popped up for out #2, pinch-hitter John Nester and J.D. Burgess drew walks to load the bases. Then on an 0-2 pitch to Widmann, Parker scored on Evan Goldberg's wild pitch.
Michael Kohn cut Clemson's lead in half in the seventh inning when he led off with a towering home run to left field, his fourth of the season. Two batters later, Austin Morgan reached on a throwing error by Widmann and went to second base on the errant throw. Two batters later, Mike Hentz lined the first pitch from reliever Clinton McKinney down the third-base line for a double to plate Morgan and tie the score. Sizemore followed with a two-out grounder to Widmann, but his throw pulled Paulsen off the first-base bag. Hentz never stopped and scored on the play to give the Cougars the lead.
The Tigers took the lead right back in the eighth inning. Parker led off with a single through the right side and went to second on Schaus' groundout. With D.J. Mitchell at the plate, Parker took off for third after an outside pitch and just beat the throw from the catcher. Mitchell later walked and Burgess followed with a double to right-center. Parker scored on the play and Head Coach Jack Leggett held Mitchell at third, as Burgess took a wide turn around second base, where he was caught too far off. But the throw from shallow center to the second-base bag was errant, allowing Mitchell to score the go-ahead run and Burgess to avoid being retired.
Tice led off the eighth inning with a single through the left side, but Vaughn promptly induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Jedd Cordisco. Vaughn then retired the Cougars in order in the ninth inning to close out the one-run victory.
Three Tigers had three hits apiece, including Hogan, Paulsen, and Parker, as the Tigers totaled 13 hits and seven extra-base hits in the contest. Sizemore led the Cougars' 10-hit attack with two hits and two RBIs.
Clemson will travel directly to Columbia to play #3 South Carolina at Sarge Frye Field on Saturday at 1:30 PM. Junior lefthander Ryan Hinson (1-0, 3.60 ERA) will start on the mound for the Tigers.
Tigers Rally Past College of Charleston
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