Tigers, Devils End in 6-6 Tie

Duke steals 6-6 tie from the Tigers Sunday after the Blue Devils refuse to tarp field, erasing Clemson's go-ahead, two-run homer in 11th.

Clemson, who scored four runs with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the score, took an 8-6 lead in the 11th inning on Kyle Parker's two-run homer, but a sequence of events made it so Parker's long ball never officially happened.

Literally a few seconds after Parker touched home plate to put Clemson ahead 8-6, a Duke official emerged and called for a delay due to lightning. According to the Duke official, he received a text message that said there was lightning "to the west of Chapel Hill."

Unlike Clemson, which has a siren sound when lightning is in the area, the only form of warning of lightning used at Duke on Sunday was a text message to a Blue Devil official. The official told the umpires of this "text message warning," and so the umpires were forced to halt play.

Duke coaches and players chose not to tarp the field during the "lightning" delay (even though there were no lightning strikes visible in the area during the delay) with rain oncoming. Over 30 minutes later (an ample amount of time to finish the 11th inning), light rain began to fall.

As the light rain came down and Clemson players standing near home plate, Duke players and coaches sat motionless in their dugout, unwilling to put the tarp on the field against the urging of the Tigers. Evidently, players were not obligated to cover the infield with the tarp since the game was under a "lightning delay," even though there were still no visible lightning strikes in the area. However, a grounds crew is allowed to put the tarp on the field during a "lightning delay." But Duke's ground crew consists of less than three members and all of them left the facility during the middle of the game and were nowhere to be found. Several minutes passed and the rain came down harder, still with no movement from Duke's dugout.

Approximately 100 minutes later with the infield covered in water due to the fact that the tarp was not put on the field, and with the weather clearing, the umpires still decided to call the game because of unplayable infield conditions. Even with over a four-hour bus-ride ahead of them, the Tigers were willing to wait as long as possible on Sunday to finish the game. But Duke's head coach told the umpires that the field could not be made playable.

Therefore, the Tigers, who had just taken an 8-6 lead literally seconds before play was stopped, was forced to settle for a 6-6 tie, remaining only 0.5 games ahead of Duke in the standings instead of the 1.5 games ahead in the standings that would have resulted with a Tiger win.

With the tie in front of 854 fans at Jack Coombs Field on Sunday afternoon, Clemson's record went to 19-20-1 overall and 7-13-1 in the ACC. Duke's record went to 27-13-1 overall and 6-13-1 in ACC play. The series was tied 1-1-1 as well.

In the fourth inning, Wilson Boyd led off with a double to left-center. After Doug Hogan flied out to the warning track in left field, Ben Paulsen reached on a fielding error by shortstop Jake Lemmerman. Chris Epps walked to load the bases and Matt Sanders drew another walk after being down in the count 0-2 to score Boyd. Stan Widmann followed with a hard line-drive up the middle, but Jonathan Foreman got a glove on the ball, picked it up behind the mound, and threw to home for the force out. Mike Freeman then grounded out to Foreman to end the inning.

The Tigers had many other opportunities to put runs on the scoreboard through their first six innings, but they left eight runners on base, including six in scoring position due to going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Meanwhile, Ryan Hinson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, allowing just one baserunner (on a walk) through five innings. But Duke advanced its first runner past first base in the sixth inning after Lemmerman led off with a hit-by-pitch, went to second on Ryan McCurdy's sacrifice bunt, and advanced to third on Alex Hassan's groundout to shortstop. Then with two outs, Matt Williams hit an infield single to score Lemmerman on just Duke's second at-bat with runners in scoring position. After Nate Freiman singled through the left side, the Blue Devils got their third straight two-out hit, as Jeremy Gould laced a single to center to score Williams.

The Blue Devils added to their lead in the seventh inning with two runs. Gabriel Saade led off with a double over the third-base bag on a 1-2 pitch. Jonathan Nicolla hit the next pitch up the middle for a single to score Saade. After Kyle Kreick's sacrifice bunt moved pinch-runner Tom Luciano into scoring position, Lemmerman hit a grounder to Widmann at shortstop, who booted the ball. After the ball went into left field, Luciano raced for home and just beat the throw from left field and Hogan's tag at the plate to give Duke a 4-1 lead.

The Tigers responded with a rally of their own in the top of the eighth inning. Hogan and Paulsen led off the frame with singles. But Epps grounded into a controversial 6-4-3 double play. Epps was called out in a close play at first base. Head Coach Jack Leggett was ejected for arguing with first-base umpire Robert Perez. However, Sanders came through with a single through the left side to score Hogan. It broke Clemson's streak of 20 straight hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position in the series.

But Duke added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Hassan led off with a single through the left side and went to third base on Williams' flyball to right field that fell near the line for a double. Freiman then laced a single up the middle to score Hassan and Williams.

However, the Tigers would not go quietly in the ninth inning. Schaus hit a one-out single and went to second on Parker's walk. Two batters later, Hogan blooped a two-out single to left to score Schaus. Paulsen then lined the next pitch over the fence in center for a three-run homer to tie the score. It was his 11th long ball of the season. It also broke Clemson's 20-game streak of not having an inning scoring more than three runs.

In the 11th inning, Schaus led off with a line-drive single to right and Parker followed with an opposite-field, two-run homer to right field, but it did not count in the final boxscore. The final score is listed as 6-6 in 10 innings.

The Tigers, who outhit Duke 12-9 (14-9 including the 11th inning), were led by Schaus, who had three hits (four hits including the 11th inning). Freiman had two hits and two RBIs for Duke, who was 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the game.

The game was Clemson's first extra-inning contest of the season.

Clemson will travel to Cullowhee, NC to face Western Carolina on Tuesday at 7:00 PM.

CUTigers.com Top Stories