Tigers pound Catamounts again

CLEMSON - Clemson sweeps two games from Western Carolina after winning 13-2 Wednesday night.

A six-run first inning, highlighted by Kyle Parker's grand slam, enabled No. 18 Clemson to cruise to a 13-2 victory over Western Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday night. The Tigers, who won both games of the home-and-home midweek series by a combined score of 24-3, improved to 25-12, while the Catamounts fell to 20-14.

Clemson totaled 15 hits, including four doubles and two home runs, in the game. Parker led the way by going 4-for-5 with a grand slam and three runs. Jason Stolz added a career-high three hits and two RBIs, while Wilson Boyd went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Tiger reliever Alex Frederick (1-0) earned his first win as a Tiger. The sophomore righthander from Lagrangeville, NY pitched 2.0 innings, allowing just one hit, no runs, and no walks with three strikeouts.

Clemson received a solid performance from freshman righthander David Haselden. In his first career start, Haselden allowed two runs and no walks with three strikeouts in 4.0 innings pitched. A total of five Tiger pitchers combined for nine strikeouts against only one walk.

Starter Kyle Stewart (3-1), the first of seven Catamount pitchers, suffered the loss, as he yielded two hits, six runs, and four walks without recording an out. The seven Catamount hurlers combined to walk nine Tigers and hit three more.

In the first inning, the Tigers scored six runs on three hits and four walks. Mike Freeman led off with a walk and moved to second on Addison Johnson's single through the left side. After Jeff Schaus loaded the bases with a walk, Ben Paulsen drew another walk on four pitches to score Freeman. Parker then unloaded the bases when he hit the first pitch he saw over the fence in right-center for an opposite-field grand slam, his eighth long ball of the season. It was also the first grand slam of Parker's career and the Tigers' first in 2009. After Brad Miller walked, Boyd laced a double down the left-field line to score Miller. Miller's run gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead without an out being recorded in the frame.

In the second inning, Paulsen hit an opposite-field, solo homer to left, his eighth home run of the season.

The Catamounts got on the board in the top of the fourth inning. Ross Heffley led off with a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, J.C. Lyons reached on an infield single and later stole second. Then with two outs, Mitchell Hatley blooped a single to center to score Heffley and Lyons.

The Tigers responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning after the first two batters of the frame were retired. Parker started the rally with a single up the middle. After Miller walked, Boyd singled through the right side to score Parker and Stolz followed with a single up the middle to plate Miller.

Clemson kept up its offensive prowess in the fifth inning with four more runs. Freeman led off with a single to right-center, stole second, and scored on Johnson's double down the right-field line. After Paulsen walked, Parker reached on an infield single to load the bases. It was Parker's eighth hit in his last eight official at-bats. Miller was hit-by-pitch to score Johnson, then Boyd was hit-by-pitch to score Paulsen. Stolz followed with a line-drive single to center to score Parker.

The only drama left in the game was if Parker would tie the Tiger record for consecutive hits. Bob Paulling, who ironically was a football and baseball player at Clemson like Parker, owns the school record with nine consecutive hits in 1983. Parker stepped to the plate in the eighth inning and hit a line drive, but it was right at third-baseman Tyler Kirkpatrick for an out.

Parker, who went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs on Tuesday night at Western Carolina, was 7-for-8 with a homer, five runs, and six RBIs in the two-game series against the Catamounts.

Western Carolina, who had seven hits, was led by Lyons, who went 2-for-3 with a run.

Clemson will travel to Blacksburg, VA to take on Virginia Tech in a three-game series beginning Friday at 5:30 PM.

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