Tigers fall to Duke, 10-7

Duke scored six runs in the fourth inning and hung on for a 10-7 win over #17 Clemson in front of 5,162 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday night.

The Blue Devils, who evened the series 1-1, improved to 20-10 overall and 7-7 in the ACC. Clemson dropped to 19-10 overall and 8-6 in ACC play. The loss snapped the Tigers' eight-game home winning streak over the Blue Devils dating back to the 2003 season.

The Blue Devils scored six runs in the fourth inning and added two runs in the sixth inning to build a 9-1 lead. The Tigers chipped away with two runs apiece in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, then brought the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but they fell short for just the fourth time at home in 2009.

Duke starter Andrew Wolcott (5-1) earned the win by scattering 10 hits in 6.0 innings pitched. He also allowed three runs (two earned) and no walks with two strikeouts. Alex Hassan, who was 2-for-3 at the plate, pitched the final 1.1 innings without allowing a run to record his eighth save of the year. Tiger starter Graham Stoneburner (3-3) suffered the loss, as he gave up six runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings pitched.

The Blue Devils wasted little time taking the game's first lead. Hassan led off with a single to right-center but was erased on Matt Williams' fielder's choice. Two batters later, Jeremy Gould lined a two-out single to center and Will Piwnica-Worms followed with a single to right-center to plate Williams.

The Tigers put together a two-out rally of their in the second inning to tie the score. Kyle Parker led off with a single to left. After the next two Tigers were retired, John Nester laced a single up the middle. Jason Stolz followed with a bloop single to left to score Parker.

The Blue Devils regained the lead with six runs on four hits in the fourth inning. Joe Pedevillano lined a one-out double down the right- field line and Gabriel Saade followed with an opposite-field triple down the right-field line to score Pedevillano. After Dennis O'Grady walked and Hassan loaded the bases with a hit-by-pitch, Williams doubled down the right-field line to score Saade and O'Grady. Williams two-bagger meant that every Blue Devil starter had a hit in the game. Nate Freiman walked to load the bases and Gould reached on a fielder's choice as Hassan was retired at the plate on a 5-2 putout. But Piwnica-Worms blooped an 0-2 pitch to center for a two- out, two-run single. Gould then scored on a wild pitch.

In the top of the sixth inning, Hassan led off with a double, went to third on Williams' groundout, and scored on Freiman's sacrifice fly to right-center. Gould followed with a solo homer to left field, his fourth long ball of the season, to up Duke's lead to 9-1.

The Tigers finally responded with runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning. Parker led off with a single down the left-field line and was safe at second on shortstop Jake Lemmerman's throwing error on a grounder off the bat of Brad Miller. Wilson Boyd then blooped a single down the left-field line to load the bases with no outs. Nester followed with another bloop single, this time down the right-field line, to score Parker and Miller while Boyd advanced to third. But the Tigers were unable to cut further into the Blue Devils' lead. After Stolz struck out on a check-swing on a 3-2 pitch for out #1, Mike Freeman grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

In the seventh inning, Lemmerman led off with a walk, stole second on a failed pickoff attempt, and went to third on first-baseman Ben Paulsen's throwing error. Lemmerman later scored on a passed ball.

Addison Johnson led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double, his second of the game, to right-center and went to third on Jeff Schaus' groundout. Paulsen then slapped a double down the left- field line to score Johnson and Parker was hit-by-pitch. Two batters later, Boyd doubled to right, allowing Paulsen to score. Pinch-hitter Chris Epps walked to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Will Lamb grounded out to keep Duke ahead 10-5.

Clemson cut further into the lead in the eighth inning. Johnson hit a one-out single. Schaus then hit a grounder to O'Grady at third. He then threw to Saade, who dropped the ball. The umpire ruled that Saade dropped the ball on the transfer, meaning Johnson was retired for out #2. Paulsen then hit a towering two-run homer to right field, his seventh long ball of the season.

In the ninth inning, Phil Pohl was hit-by-pitch with two outs and Matt Sanders followed with a single up the middle to bring the potential tying run to the plate. But Freeman struck out to end the game.

Four Blue Devils had two hits apiece, led by Piwnica-Worms' 2-for-5 performance with three RBIs. Williams added two runs and two RBIs as well.

The Tigers, who outhit Duke 16-13, were led by Johnson and Paulsen with three hits apiece. Paulsen went 3-for-5 with a double, homer, two runs, and three RBIs. A total of six Tigers had at least two hits. But Clemson left 12 runners on base, while Duke stranded just six.

Clemson and Duke will play the series-finale at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday at 1:00 PM.

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