Blue Devils ride late rally over Tigers

On a two out ralley during the eighth, Duke scored four of five runs in the inning and held on for a 10-9 victory.

No. 11 Clemson falls to 22-9 overall and 9-4 in ACC play while Duke improves to 18-12 overall and 4-9 in the ACC.

The back-and-forth game saw the Tigers take a 3-0 lead in the second inning, but Duke scored four runs in the third inning to take the lead.

Clemson regained the lead with three runs in the fifth.

But with an 8-5 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning, the Tiger bullpen surrendered five runs. Clemson rallied in the ninth, scored a run, and had the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with one out, but the next two Tigers struck out to end the game.

Blue Devil reliever Ryan Knott (2-0) earned the win in 0.1 innings pitched. Marcus Stroman, who also went 1-for-3 with two runs at the plate, recorded his third save of the season.

Clemson reliever Alex Frederick (0-1) suffered the loss, as he yielded two runs in the eighth inning.

The Tigers grabbed the game's first lead in the second inning thanks to the long ball. Senior Wilson Boyd was hit-by-pitch (for just the third time in his career) with one out and John Hinson reached on a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Two batters later with two outs, John Nester hit a towering three-run homer to left field, his second home run of the season.

The Blue Devils dented the scoreboard in the third inning with four runs. Eric Brady led off with a single to right field and advanced to third on Stroman's double to center. Joe Pedevillano hit a pop-up to shallow left that dropped for a hit to score Brady, then Stroman and Pedevillano moved up a base on a throwing error. Ryan McCurdy's sacrifice fly to left-center plated Stroman, then two batters later with two outs, Will Currier lined a two-run homer to left to give Duke a 4-3 lead. It was Currier's fifth home run of the season.

In the fourth inning, Kyle Parker led off with a walk after being down in the count 0-2 and Hinson singled up the middle with one out to advance Parker to third. Brad Miller then hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Parker, tying the score 4-4.

Clemson retook the lead in the fifth inning, thanks again to a two-out, three-run homer. Chris Epps walked with one out and went to third two batters later on Jeff Schaus' two-out single through the right side. Parker followed with a long three-run homer to left field, his 12th long ball of the season, to give the Tigers a 7-4 lead.

In the seventh inning, Brady led off with a single down the right-field line and moved to second on Stroman's groundout. Pedevillano beat out an infield single in a close play at first as Brady advanced to third, then McCurdy lofted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Brady.

Clemson added to its lead in the top of the eighth inning. Miller drew a one-out walk and went to second two batters later on Will Lamb's two-out walk. Epps then singled through the right side to plate Miller.

But in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Blue Devils scored five runs to take a 10-8 lead.

Currier led off with a single through the left side and Jeremy Gould, who earlier extended his hitting streak to 10 games, doubled off the wall in left to advance Currier to third. Will Piwnica-Worms followed with a seeing-eye single through the left side to plate Currier and Dennis O'Grady was hit-by-pitch with no outs.

Frederick entered the game for the Tigers and got Brady to ground into a 1-2-3 double play, then Stroman walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for pinch-hitter Mike Carroll. On another 3-2 pitch, Carroll walked to bring home Piwnica-Worms. McCurdy then hit a bloop single to left-center to plate O'Grady and Stroman to give Duke the lead. Jake Lemmerman reached on an infield single to score Carroll, upping Lemmerman's hitting streak to 14 games.

In the ninth inning, Parker walked with one out and Boyd followed with a bloop single to center. Hinson hit a sharp grounder up the middle that got through for a hit to score Parker, then Hinson hustled into second with a double. But Miller struck out swinging and Nester struck out looking to end the game, as Clemson suffered its fifth consecutive one-run loss.

McCurdy paced Duke's 12-hit attack with a game-high four RBIs, while Currier went 2-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs, and two runs. The Blue Devils were 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the contest and scored 10 of their 16 baserunners in the game.

Hinson tallied a career-high four hits for the Tigers, who also had 12 hits. Nester went 2-for-5 with a homer and hree RBIs, Parker went 1-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs, and three runs, and Schaus and Boyd added two hits apiece. Epps also went 1-for-3 with two walks. It was the sixth game in a row that Epps reached base three times by a hit or walk (combined).

Clemson and Duke will play game-two of the series on Saturday at 2:00 PM.

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