Tigers pound Catamounts, 10-1

Jeff Schaus, Ben Paulsen, and Kyle Parker combined to go 9-for-12 with seven runs to lead No. 18 Clemson to an 11-1 victory over Western Carolina in front of 1,249 fans at Hennon Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Tigers improved to 24-12, while the Catamounts dropped to 20-13.

Schaus went 3-for-4 with a homer and three runs, Paulsen went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs, and Parker went 3-for-3 with two runs, two RBIs, and a walk to pace Clemson's 13-hit attack. Mike Freeman and Wilson Boyd added three RBIs apiece as well.

The Tigers also received an outstanding starting performance from sophomore righthander Graham Stoneburner (5-3). The Richmond, VA native pitched 7.0 innings, allowing just five hits, one run, and two walks with a career-high 11 strikeouts to earn the win. Kyle Deese struck out three in the eighth inning and Will Lamb struck out two in the ninth inning, as the three Tiger hurlers combined for 16 strikeouts. Catamount starter Garratt Ozar (2-3) suffered the loss, as he allowed seven hits, six runs (three earned), and three walks with four strikeouts in 5.1 innings pitched.

The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks in part to a Catamount error. Freeman, the leadoff batter, reached on a fielding error by second-baseman Nick Liles. Two batters later, Schaus ripped a single to right to move Freeman to third. Two batters later, Parker laced a two-out single to right to score Freeman. Brad Miller followed with a walk to load the bases, then Boyd walked to plate Schaus.

In the third inning, Schaus led off with a line-drive single to center and went to third on Paulsen's hard-hit single through the right side. Parker then lofted a flyball to right to score Schaus on the sacrifice fly.

The Catamounts dented the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Trevor Collias fisted a leadoff double down the left-field line and Ross Heffley followed with a double off the fence in right-center to score Collias. But Stoneburner retired the next three Catamounts, including two on called third strikes, to keep the Tigers ahead 3-1.

In the sixth inning, Paulsen led off with a single through the right side and Parker followed with a single through the left side on a 1-2 pitch. After Miller walked to load the bases and Boyd struck out for out #1, John Nester belted a single to right field to score Paulsen and Parker. Matt Sanders loaded the bases when he reached on a fielding error by third-baseman Tyler Kirkpatrick, then Freeman lofted a flyball to deep center with the wind blowing hard out to center. Centerfielder Dylan de Graaf robbed Freeman of a potential grand slam by making the catch at the fence, but Miller scored on the sacrifice fly.

Schaus extended Clemson's lead when he crushed the first pitch of the seventh inning over the fence in right-center, his sixth long ball of the season. Paulsen followed with a line-drive double down the right-field line on an 0-2 pitch and Parker walked after being down in the count 0-2. Miller loaded the bases with a bunt single, then Boyd laced a single through the right side to score Paulsen and Parker. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Jason Stolz walked to load the bases and Freeman grounded a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a single to score Miller and Boyd.

Collias and Heffley had two hits apiece to lead Western Carolina, who had six hits in the game.

Clemson will host Western Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday at 6:30 PM.

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