The Tigers, who swept the series 3-0, wrapped up the regular season with a 30-25-1 record and five-game winning streak, while the Knights fell to 31-25.
Justin Sarratt (2-2) earned the win by pitching 1.1 scoreless innings in
relief, while Matt Vaughn pitched a perfect ninth inning with two
strikeouts to record his 11th save of the season. Five Tiger pitchers
combined for eight strikeouts without allowing a walk or hit-by-pitch in
Knight reliever Brian Griggs (1-4) suffered the loss, as he allowed four
runs (three earned) on four hits in 3.1 innings pitched.
Mike Freeman led off the game with a double down the left-field line on a
1-2 pitch. Two batters later, Kyle Parker hit a towering two-run homer
down the left-field line, his third long ball of the series and 14th of the
The Knights responded with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Colin
Arnold led off with a single up the middle. On the pitch that Tyson Auer
struck out, Arnold stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by
catcher Doug Hogan. Kiko Vazquez followed with a single up the middle to
The Tigers appeared to add to their lead in the third inning, but a stellar
defensive play kept Central Florida down by only one run. Jeff Schaus led
off with a single through the right side and Parker followed with a
walk. Two batters later, Ben Paulsen laced a ball to left-center, but Auer
made a leaping catch before crashing into the fence to rob Paulsen of an
Clemson did add to its lead in the top of the fourth inning when Wilson
Boyd hit a 2-2 pitch over the fence down the right-field line for a solo
homer, his 10th long ball of the season.
Like the first inning, Central Florida answered Clemson's score with a run
in the bottom of the fourth inning when Shane Brown hit a solo homer to
A Tiger miscue allowed the Knights to threaten to tie the score in the
fifth inning, but starter Trey Delk worked out of the jam. Josh Siebenaler
hit a one-out, infield single. Arnold followed with a potential
inning-ending, double-play grounder, but Freeman's throw to second was
errant, allowing Siebenaler to advance to third and Arnold to move to
second. Auer then lined a ball back up the middle, but Delk got a glove on
the ball and fielded in time to retire Auer at first base in a close play
for out #2. Vazquez then flied out to end the frame.
Central Florida did even the score in the sixth when Brown hit the inning's
first pitch over the fence in left-center. It was his second homer of the
game and eighth of the season. Three batters later, Ryan Richardson gave
the Knights a 4-3 lead when he blasted an opposite-field, solo homer to
right-center, his fifth home run of the year.
Clemson came right back and tied the score in the top of the seventh
inning. Freeman hit a one-out single up the middle and advanced to second
on Schaus' groundout. Parker then grounded a two-out double over the
third-base bag to score Freeman.
With two outs and no one on base in the bottom of the seventh inning, Brown
and Robert Lara hit singles. Pinch-hitter Brandon Romans then lined
another single to right field that allowed Brown to score the go-ahead run
just ahead of Parker's throw.
Matt Sanders evened the score in the top of the eighth inning when he hit a
one-out, solo home run to left field, his second of the season. Stan
Widmann followed with a routine grounder back to the mound, but Griggs'
throw to first base was errant. Boyd and pinch-hitter John Hinson drew
walks to load the bases, then Freeman, an Orlando, FL native, lined a
single to right-center to score Widmann. Schaus brought home Boyd when he
was hit-by-pitch. The Tigers were unable to up their 7-5 lead, as Parker
struck out and Hogan grounded out to end the inning.
Clemson added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. Paulsen led
off with a double to left-center and advanced to third on Sanders'
sacrifice bunt. Widmann followed with a single off the pitcher's leg to
score Paulsen and give Clemson an 8-5 lead.
Freeman and Paulsen paced Clemson's 12-hit attack with three hits
apiece. Parker, who missed his Senior Prom at Bartram Trail High School in
Jacksonville, FL on Saturday night to help the Tigers to victory, was
2-for-4 with a homer, double, and three RBIs. Parker graduated high school
a semester early to enroll at Clemson in January.
Central Florida, who totaled 14 hits, was led by Brown, who went 3-for-5
with two homers, three runs scored, and two RBIs. Arnold added three hits
In sweeping the series, Clemson outscored the Knights 24-9 and outhit them
.325 to .257. Tiger batters combined for 17 extra-base hits, including
nine doubles, two triples, and six home runs.
Clemson will travel directly to Jacksonville, FL to play in the ACC
Tournament at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The Tigers' first game
will be on Wednesday. Seedings and times of the round-robin tournament
will be announced by the conference office on Sunday.
Tigers Sweep UCF
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