The 49ers improved to 8-4, while the Tigers fell to 13-2. It was the first meeting between the two teams in Charlotte since 1988.
The Tigers fell behind 5-0 when Charlotte scored five runs in the
second inning. But Clemson stormed back with five runs of its own in
the fourth inning. Then with Charlotte ahead 8-6, Clemson scored
four runs in the top of the eighth inning, highlighted by John
Hinson's three-run homer with two outs, to take a two-run lead. But
Williams' came through with a bases-clearing double with two outs in
the bottom of the eighth inning to end Clemson's five-game winning streak.
Charlotte reliever Patrick Lawson (1-0), the last of six 49er
hurlers, earned the win. He allowed two hits, four runs (none
earned), and three walks with three strikeouts in 2.0 innings pitched.
Tiger reliever Tomas Cruz (1-2) suffered the loss, as the only batter
he allowed to reach base (on a hit-by-pitch) scored the winning
run. Kevin Brady came out of the bullpen and pitched 5.0 strong
innings. He allowed just four hits with a career-high eight strikeouts.
The 49ers took the game's first lead in the second inning with five
runs thanks in part to four two-out hits. Williams reached on a
one-out walk and went to third on Mike Perkins' single through the
right side on a 1-2 pitch. Justin Roland followed with a potential
inning-ending, double-play grounder to second that would have kept
the game scoreless. Mike Freeman fielded the ball and tagged
Perkins, but he fumbled the ball trying to get it out of his glove,
allowing Roland to reach and Williams to score. After Shane Basen
singled up the middle, Justin Wilson singled through the left side to
score Roland. Cory Tilton doubled Charlotte's lead when he hit a
triple to right-center on a 2-2 pitch to plate Basen and
Wilson. After Shane Brown walked, Ryan Rivers gave Charlotte a 5-0
lead when he followed with a single through the left side on a 2-2
pitch to plate Tilton.
The Tigers answered with five runs in the fourth inning to tie the
score thanks to four two-out hits. Freeman hit a one-out single to
left. Two batters later with two outs, Kyle Parker fouled off
several two-strike pitches. Then on the 13th pitch of his at-bat,
Parker blasted a 3-2 pitch over the left-field fence for a towering
two-run homer, his seventh long ball of the season. After Wilson
Boyd lined a double to right field on an 0-2 pitch, Charlotte native
Richie Shaffer laced a single off the glove of third-baseman Kevin
Gillespie to score Boyd, then Shaffer moved to second on the
throw. Brad Miller followed with a single up the middle to score
Shaffer and advanced to second on an error. Phil Pohl then tied the
score when he grounded a double over the third-base bag to bring home Miller.
The 49ers regained the lead in the fifth inning. Brown led off with
a walk on four pitches and advanced to third when Rivers grounded an
0-2 pitch through the right side for a single. Gillespie loaded the
bases with no outs when he walked on a 3-2 pitch, then Williams
walked on five pitches to score Brown. Two batters later with one
out, Roland stayed alive when Pohl dropped a pop-up in foul
territory. Roland then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Rivers.
In the sixth inning, Parker, Boyd, and Shaffer led off with walks to
load the bases with no outs, then Miller hit a sacrifice fly to
center to score Parker. But the next two Tigers were retired,
keeping the 49ers ahead 7-6.
The 49ers added to their lead in the seventh inning. Gillespie led
off with a walk. Two batters later, Perkins lined a double to right
field to advance Gillespie to third. Roland's line-drive single to
center scored Gillespie, but Perkins was caught in a rundown between
third and home and was tagged out.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Tigers went from two runs down
to two runs ahead thanks to another clutch two-out hit. Parker led
off with a walk, went to second on a balk, and moved to third when
Boyd reached on an error. After Shaffer struck out and Miller walked
to load the bases with one out, John Nester hit a line drive to
right-center, but Tilton was shading him to that part of the field
and made a leaping catch for out #2. However, Parker scored on the
sacrifice fly to cut Charlotte's lead in half. Then on a 3-2 pitch,
Hinson, who for the third straight game came off the bench and
contributed to an eighth-inning rally to give Clemson the lead,
blasted a three-run homer to right field. It was the Asheville, NC
native's second home run of the season. It was also Clemson's only
hit of the inning and its first since the fourth inning.
But the 49ers came right back and scored three runs to take the lead
in the bottom of the eighth inning. Wilson led off with an infield
single and Tilton drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Brown lined an 0-2
pitch to left field that Jeff Schaus short-hopped, but Wilson was
caught in between and was retired at third base for out #1. Rivers
loaded the bases when he was hit by a 3-2 pitch, then Gillespie
popped up to short for out #2. But Williams came through with a
three-run double past a diving Hinson down the left-field line to
give the 49ers an 11-10 lead.
In the ninth inning, the first two Tigers were retired before Parker
reached on a walk and Boyd hit an infield single. But Shaffer struck
out to end the game.
Charlotte, who outhit the Tigers 11-9, was led by Wilson, Tilton,
Rivers, and Perkins, who all had two hits apiece. Williams totaled a
game-high four RBIs, while Roland added three RBIs.
Freeman and Boyd had two hits apiece for Clemson. Parker added a
homer, three runs, two RBIs, and three walks, while Miller scored two
runs and drove in two runs.
The two teams combined for 15 two-out RBIs in the game. Both teams
walked eight times as well.
Clemson will return home to face Georgia Southern on Wednesday at 6:30 PM.
Tigers fall at Charlotte
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