Tigers Top Auburn, 11-8

Clemson held on for an 11-8 win over #16 Auburn Saturday to even the series at 1-1. The Tigers, ranked as high as #12, scored two runs in five different innings and manufactured many of its runs on three sacrifice bunts and one sacrifice fly along with a "run-down" play.


Auburn CF Javon Moran singles against Clemson on Saturday.

Clemson also staved off a five-run ninth-inning rally by the SEC Tigers. With the win, the Tigers improved to 1-1, while Auburn fell to 7-3.

Sophomore lefthander Tyler Lumsden allowed just one earned run in 6.0 innings pitched to pick up the win in his first outing of the season. He threw 91 pitches and allowed nine hits and one walk while striking out three. Freshman righty Kris Harvey earned the save in his first career appearance by finishing the final 3.0 innings. Auburn starter Colby Paxton evened his record at 1-1 with the loss.

Clemson jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Brad McCann hit a two-out single through the left side followed by Michael Johnson's first homer of the year and 47th of his career, a towering two-run shot over the "green monster" in left field. Roberto Valiente and Zane Green then hit singles, giving Clemson four hits in the opening frame, two more than the team had in the entire first game of the doubleheader.

Auburn responded in the third inning. After the first two batters were retired, Sean Gamble singled up the middle and Javon Moran followed with a walk. Then Josh Bell lined an RBI single past second baseman Herman Demmink to cut the Clemson lead in half.

Clemson came right back with two runs of its own in the fourth inning. Valiente led off with a solid single through the left side. Green then walked and Herman Demmink's bunt that was thrown to third was botched, leaving the bases loaded with no outs. Valiente then came home on a wild pitch and Russell Triplett's RBI groundout gave Clemson a 4-1 lead.

The ACC Tigers added two more runs in the fifth inning. McCann led off with a line-drive double that one-hopped the left-field wall. After Johnson walked and Valiente sacrificed over the runners, Green grounded out to second, plating McCann. Demmink then slapped his first career hit up the middle, plating Johnson to give Clemson a 6-1 lead.

Clemson upped its lead once again with its third-straight two-run inning and fourth of the game in the sixth frame. After a Pyzik leadoff walk and a Garrick Evans' bloop single to center, Kyle Frank advanced the runners on a sacrifice bunt. Evans' three hits in game two was a career high for the sophomore from Burke, VA. McCann brought Pyzik home with a deep sacrifice fly to center. Johnson, who was then intentionally walked, purposely got caught in a "pickle" with two outs that allowed Evans to score from third base to up Clemson's lead to 8-1.

Auburn put together a two-out rally in the sixth to cut into Clemson's lead. Bobby Huddleston and Scott Schade singled with two outs and Tug Hulett's sharp grounder to second baseman Demmink went through his legs, plating both runners. Kyle Bohm followed with a line-drive single to right field, as Hulett tried to score from second base. But Green threw a strike to home plate and Pyzik put the tag on Hulett for the final out of the inning. It was Green's second assist of the game from his outfield position, as he was a part of an earlier double play.

The next inning, Valiente led off with a walk and Green followed with what looked like a certain homer to right. But with the wind blowing in strong from right field, the ball bounced off the top of the wall, limiting Green to a single, while Valiente advanced to third. Valiente then scored on a passed ball by Bell, his second of the game and third on the afternoon. Triplett then squeezed home Green to give Clemson its fourth-straight two-run inning.

Clemson added an insurance run in the ninth inning when McCann walked with the bases loaded.

Auburn mustered a ninth-inning rally behind Clete Thomas' RBI single up the middle. Three batters later, Derek Sain singled up the middle to plate a run and Karl Amonite laced a bases-clearing double to right field, cutting the Tigers' lead to 11-8. But Harvey got Scott Schade to ground out to end the game.

The two teams will conclude the three-game series Sunday at 2:30 PM EST.

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