Tigers Pound Jackets, 10-4

Clemson hit three home runs, including a seventh-inning grand slam by Ben Paulsen, to defeat #24 Georgia Tech 10-4 on Saturday in the ACC Tournament at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

The Tigers, who were 1-2 in the ACC Tournament, improved to 31-27-1, while the Yellow Jackets, who were also 1-2 in the ACC Tourney, fell to 39-19.

Tiger reliever Ryan Hinson (3-5) earned the win, as he allowed one run with three strikeouts in 2.1 innings pitched. Casey Harman also pitched 2.0 scoreless and hitless innings out of the bullpen. Zach Von Tersch (7-5), the second of six Georgia Tech pitchers, suffered the loss, as he allowed four runs (three earned) and two hits in 1.1 innings pitched.

The Yellow Jackets took advantage of a Tiger error to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Charlie Blackmon led off with a single through the left side and went to second on a throwing error by Trey Delk on a pickoff attempt. Three batters later, Derek Dietrich blooped a two-out single to center to score Blackmon.

In the top of the third inning, Mike Freeman drew a two-out walk and Jeff Schaus followed with a line-drive, two-run homer to right field, his third long ball of the season.

The Yellow Jackets regained the lead in the fourth inning. Dietrich led off with a single through the right side but was erased on Tony Plagman's fielder's choice. Then with two outs, Thomas Nichols hit a two-run homer down the right-field line, his seventh home run of the season.

Wilson Boyd led off the sixth inning with a solo home run to right-center, his 11th long ball of the season, to tie the score 3-3.

In the top of the seventh inning, Freeman led off with a walk after being down in the count 0-2. Schaus then laid down a bunt, as third-baseman Brad Feltes fielded and threw to second base. But his throw was high, enabling Freeman to reach second base safely on the throwing error. Kyle Parker followed with a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with no outs. Ben Paulsen then belted an 0-1 pitch over the right-field fence for a grand slam, his 13th homer of the season, to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead. It was also his first career grand slam and first career hit in 15 career ACC Tournament at-bats.

Georgia Tech came right back and cut into the Tigers' lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Blackmon led off with a single to right field on a 1-2 pitch and pinch-hitter Jay Dantzler followed with a walk. Luke Murton's single through the left side loaded the bases with no outs, then Dietrich reached on a fielder's choice, as Murton was retired at second base and Blackmon scored. The Tigers stayed ahead by three runs when Plagman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The Tigers added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Boyd hit a one-out single through the right side and went to third on Doug Hogan's single to right-center. Boyd scored on a wild pitch and Chris Epps was intentionally walked. Matt Sanders loaded the bases with an infield single, then Stan Widmann drove home Hogan on a sacrifice fly. Freeman then hit a two-out double down the right-field line to score Epps.

Boyd paced Clemson's 13-hit attack by going 3-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored. Freeman, Parker, Hogan, and Sanders all added two hits apiece. Blackmon and Dietrich had three hits apiece for Georgia Tech, who totaled 11 hits.

Clemson will await the NCAA Baseball Committee's selection of the 64-team field for the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will air live on Monday at 12:30 PM on ESPN.

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