Elon snaps Clemson's winning streak

CLEMSON - Elon scored 11 runs in the last four innings to rally for a 15-10 victory over No. 5 Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Tuesday night.

Elon improved to 11-9 and snapped its five-game losing streak with the win. The Tigers dropped to 17-3 on the year. It was Clemson's first home loss of the season in 16 home contests.

Clemson's 18-game home winning streak dating back to 2009 also came to an end.

Clemson rallied back from an early 4-1 deficit to take an 8-4 lead. But thanks in part to four Tiger errors, the Phoenix scored 11 runs, six of which were unearned, in the final four innings to pull out the five-run win.

Ken Ferrer (2-1), the third of six Elon hurlers, earned the win in 1.2 innings pitched. He allowed three hits, two runs (one earned), and one walk with two strikeouts. Tiger reliever Scott Firth (0-1) suffered the loss, as he yielded five runs (three earned) on five hits in 1.0 innings pitched.

The Phoenix took the game's first lead with three runs on four singles and a walk in the first inning. Niko Fraser hit a one-out single up the middle and went to third on Mike Melillo's single to right field.

After Melillo stole second, Neal Pritchard grounded out to second to bring home Fraser and Matt Hinson walked. Seth Canipe fisted a two-out single to right-center to score Melillo, then Alex Swim grounded an 0-2 pitch up the middle for a single to plate Hinson. The runs snapped Elon's 10-game streak of going scoreless in the first inning.

With some help from wild pitches, the Tigers dented the scoreboard in the second inning. Will Lamb led off with a single through the right side and stole second. John Nester grounded out, then Lamb moved to third on a wild pitch. After Chris Epps struck out for out No. 2, Lamb scored on another wild pitch.

Elon added to its lead in the top of the third inning thanks to more clutch two-out hitting. Hinson hit a one-out single up the middle. Two batters later, Swim laced a two-out double to left-center to score Hinson.

In the bottom of the third inning, Lamb contributed to another scoring frame. With two outs and no one on base, Kyle Parker lined a single to right-center and Wilson Boyd walked. Lamb then hit an opposite-field double to left-center to score Parker and Boyd, cutting Elon's lead to 4-3.

In the fourth inning, Nester led off with a double to left-center on a ball that the Phoenix outfielders could not pick up in the early-evening sky. Epps followed with a single to left field to move Nester to third, then Nester scored on a balk. Brad Miller later drew a one-out walk and stole second, then two batters later, Jeff Schaus hit a two-out single to left field to score Epps and Miller.

Clemson doubled its lead in the fifth inning. Boyd led off with an opposite-field, solo home run to left field, his third long ball of the season. It also extended Boyd's hitting streak to 11 games. Lamb followed with a walk and Nester reached on a bunt single. Two batters later with one out, Jason Stolz reached on a fielder's choice as Nester was out at second. Chris Bresnahan's throw to first base was errant, allowing Lamb to score.

Elon came right back and scored five runs to take the lead in the sixth inning. Swim led off with a single down the left-field line and pinch-hitter Ryan Adams followed with a two-run homer to right-center, his sixth long ball of the season. Pinch-hitter Matt Kirchner singled to left-center and Harry Austin walked. Fraser then laid down a bunt back to Firth, who would have had time to throw out Kirchner at third base, but he booted the ball. Melillo tied the score when he hit a two- run double to right-center to score Kirchner and Austin. Hinson then gave the Phoenix the lead when his groundout plated Fraser.

In the eighth inning, Austin led off with a hit-by-pitch and advanced to second on Fraser's sacrifice bunt. Melillo then lined a 1-2 pitch to right-center for a single to score Austin. The Tigers brought David Haselden in the game to pitch, then Pritchard flared an 0-2 pitch to left-center for a single to move Melillo to third base. It was the first hit allowed by Haselden in 9.0 innings pitched in 2010. Haselden later allowed his first run of the season as well. After Pritchard moved to second on a wild pitch, Canipe hit a two-out slow-roller to Miller at short. Miller's throw to first was errant, allowing Melillo and Pritchard to score on the error.

The Phoenix added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning.

Adams led off with a walk and moved to second on Scott Riddle's groundout. Two batters later, Fraser grounded a two-out single through the right side to score Adams. Melillo then reached on a fielding error by Parker at first, the fifth error committed by the Tigers in the game, allowing Fraser to score. Pritchard followed with a double to right-center to score Melillo.

Parker hit the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning over the fence in left-center for a solo home run, his 10th long ball of the season. Two batters later, Lamb hit an opposite-field, solo homer to left field, his second home run of the year.

Fraser, Melillo, Pritchard, and Swim all had three hits apiece to lead Elon's 16-hit attack. Melillo went 3-for-6 with a double, three RBIs, and three runs, while Fraser went 3-for-5 with one RBI and three runs.

Lamb went 3-for-4 with a homer, double, three RBIs, and three runs to pace Clemson, who had 12 hits and nine walks in the game.

Clemson will host Elon for the second and final game of the midweek series on Wednesday at 6:30 PM.

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