Pitching lifts Tigers over Maryland

CLEMSON — On a night when No. 17 Clemson needed to warm its bats up after almost a week away from the ballpark, it was pitching that really carried the Tigers through in an 11-2 victory over Maryland Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Starter Trey Delk and reliever Ryan Hinson combined to give up four hits in seven scoreless innings, while striking out six. Hinson, a lefty, was credited with four of the strikeouts, and was awarded the victory.

"We got something out of Trey, and Ryan Hinson, I thought, did a great job and Alex Frederick did a nice job," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "We made some good plays and then we got some big hits and were able to loosen up a little bit."

Clemson (31-15, 15-10 ACC) got loose in the bottom of the fifth inning when they scored four runs off four hits, highlighted by a Chris Epps triple, which brought home a run, and a Ben Paulsen double to score another. When the dust settled, the Tigers made a one-run game a 5-0 lead.

"Everybody kind of got their break for exams and everybody needs some time off from baseball, you know," Hinson said. "It was a close game for four innings and then once the hitters started seeing the ball, we got going."

But until then, it was Delk and Hinson that kept Clemson going. Following Wilson Boyd's solo home run to right field in the second inning, the two pitchers fought Maryland batters off with clutch pitching at key moments.

In the first inning, David Poutier singled to right and then advanced to second with one out following an A.J. Casario walk, but Delk settled down and got Mike Murphy to pop up to short and then Will Greenberg to fly out to right field to end the threat. In the fourth Delk gave up a lead-off walk to Murphy, but he got Greenberg to fly out to left centerfield and then he retired the side by striking out Tyler Bennett and Gerry Spessard.

Hinson came on to relieve Delk with one out in the fifth inning and Dan Benick on second base representing the tying run for Maryland. However, Hinson got Jensen Pupa to line out to centerfield and after allowing Benick to advance to third on a wild pitch, he got Casario swinging for a strikeout to end the inning.

The Terrapins (22-25, 6-19) again had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth inning, but Hinson got Spessard swinging for the second out and then got Benick to pop up to second to get out of the jam.

"I have been working hard in the pin," Hinson said. "Most of the year I feel like there is only one pitch the leads from a good outing to a bad outing so I mainly just tried to go out there and fill up the strike zone, especially when we get a 5, 6,7-run lead."

Hinson got his seven-run lead when the Tigers got a Jason Stolz double and an Epps single to drive in two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Then they got a Richard Mounce solo home run to centerfield, a Kyle Parker RBI double and a Brad Miller single to score four more runs in the eighth inning for an 11-1 lead.

Miller led the way for Clemson at the plate with a 3-for-4 night, while Epps was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs.

Note: Due to the threat of inclement weather on Monday, the two teams agreed to play a doubleheader Sunday starting at 1 p.m. with the second game to follow 45 minutes after the first… Clemson infielder Matt Sanders has been ruled out for this weekend series after pulling a muscle in his back in last week's second game against Georgia Tech.

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