Tigers blast Tide to force game three

CLEMSON – The Clemson bats were lights out Sunday night in the 19-5 drubbing of Alabama during game two of the best-of-three Super Regional.

Backed up against a wall and facing elimination—like last week in Auburn, the Clemson Tigers battled back in the face of adversity. After Saturday night's loss, Clemson bounced back in spectacular fasion.

"I guess we just like to battle," said Brad Miller, who went 4-for-5 with a grand slam and four RBIs. "We know the other team isn't going to give us anything easy. We have to earn it all."

Clemson batted around twice in blowout loss that saw the Alabama pitching staff touched up for 20 hits, including three homeruns.

Coach Jack Leggett would like to see the offensive momentum carry over to Monday afternoon's 1 p.m. rubber match, but knows all too well the hits and runs aren't guaranteed.

"We know that you can't take anything into tomorrow," Leggett said. "We know we're going to have a battle tomorrow.

"We're just focused on what tomorrow brings for us."

Sunday night brought plenty of offensive fire power and a solid start from Scott Weismann, who gave up nine hits and four runs over six innings before giving way to the bullpen, which gave up only one hit and one run in three innings of work.

Before he toed the rubber, Weismann had a six-run cushion after the Tigers' big top half of the first.

"It's a huge confidence booster. These guys have been doing it all year for me," he said.

Three straight singles from Mike Freeman, Jeff Schaus and Kyle Parker kick started a six-run top half of the first inning during which the Tigers batted around.

Parker's hit scored the first run, two batters later John Hinson knocked in two more with a single. Richie Shaffer followed with a sacrifice fly to right before Spencer Kieboom doubled to score two more.

"It was a good first inning for us. We were able to loosen up and get some momentum as the game went on," Leggett said.

Each time the Tide answered with a run, the Tigers countered.

Alabama third baseman Jake Smith put the Crimson Tide on the board with a solo homerun in the second.

Hinson and Shaffer hit back-to-back homeruns in the third to push the Tigers' lead to 8-1.

First baseman Clay Jones knocked in Alabama's second run on a groundout to third base with the bases loaded in the third.

Schaus' single in the fourth scored another, giving Clemson a 9-2 lead.

Freeman doubled with two outs in the fifth to push Clemson's lead to 10-3.

"The thing I was most pleased with tonight was that every time they scored, we scored to answer," Leggett said. "Getting rebound runs, which is a big part of the ball game."

Then came another monster inning where the Tigers batted around.

Clemson touched up three Alabama pitchers for a nine-spot in the sixth to take a 19-3 lead. Brad Miller's grand slam with two outs capped the inning that saw Kieboom walk with the bases loaded and Schaus and Shaffer each hit two-run singles.

After the nine-run sixth, Tide left fielder Jon Kelton scored on an RBI double by designated hitter Brett Booth.

Slick fielding second baseman Ross Wilson added to the Alabama score during the seventh with a solo homerun, shortening Clemson's lead to 19-5.

Clemson will throw Dominic Leone and Alabama will start Nathan Kilcrease on Monday. The game will be televised on ESPN 2.

"We've got to realize they're going to be coming after us tomorrow and just match their aggression," Miller said.

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