Maryland ends losing streak to Tigers

CLEMSON — The Clemson Tigers' 23-game winning streak to Maryland at Doug Kingsmore Stadium came to an abrupt halt Sunday evening when Terrapin catcher Tyler Bennett had a one-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth inning two bring home the winning run in their 8-6 victory.

What made the loss even harder to the ACC Atlantic Division's last place team was the fact the Tigers (32-16, 16-11) basically handed the win over to Maryland with four errors and countless more mental mistakes through the course of the game.

"We played our worse game of the year," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "We decided to play our worse game of the year. We were not sharp and we looked tired. We were good in the first ball game, and then we just ran out of gas and did not have anything going for us."

Clemson, who clinched a spot in the ACC Tournament with Saturday's win, beat the Terps (23-26, 7-20) in the first game of a doubleheader Sunday, 7-4, to ultimately clinch the series. But in the second game, the Tigers seemed lethargic at best as each of their errors allowed Maryland to push across runs, when they should have been out of those innings without any damage done.

"We made too many errors and we did battle enough so we got what we deserved," Clemson first baseman Ben Paulsen said.

The loss to the Terps at Doug Kingsmore was Clemson's first since a 10-9 loss in the series finale in 1992. It was just Maryland's second win at Doug Kingsmore in 55 tries and seventh in 70 tries at Clemson.

"We let them hang around for a long period of time, and they took advantage of that," Leggett said.

To make matters worse, the loss handed Florida State the Atlantic Division title.

After taking a 5-2 lead through four innings, the Tigers seemed poised to bring out the brooms and record their sweep, but an error by Jason Stolz allowed Matthew Murakami to get on first and then Mike Murphy homered to left field to make the score 5-4.

"We did not play good defense. We gave them too many extra outs," Leggett said.

Clemson added a run in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 6-4, but then an error by Paulsen and another by shortstop Brad Miller in the top of the sixth allowed Murakami to triple to right center field with two outs, while pushing two runs across home plate to tie the game.

"I can take the blame for the loss in that one by just missing the ball," Paulsen said. "That should have been our third out and they would not have scored those runs to tie it up and we would have had the momentum."

But it just wasn't the Tigers' fielding that hurt. Despite getting 15 hits, including three from Freeman and Jeff Schaus and two each from Paulsen, Stolz and Phil Pohl, they left 12 runners strained, including eight in scoring position.

"I'm disappointed because I thought the other two games we did real well and I thought we were ready to go," Leggett said. "Somehow we could not get a big hit. We had 15 hits and we could not piece them together and we just didn't play good defense."

Clemson will try to get off the mat Wednesday at 7 p.m. when they travel to Greenville's Fluor Field to take on Furman. Top Stories