The Tigers scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth off FSU reliever Geoff Parker (3-1) to draw within two games of the Seminoles for the lead in the Atlantic Division.
"I was just so pleased with the fight again of our guys coming back and getting ourselves in a position to win the ball game," said head coach Mike Martin. "You got to take your hat off to Clemson, they got key two-out hits when they needed them in that eighth inning and that was our undoing tonight."
Jayce Boyd paced the Seminole offense on Thursday night going 3-for-4 with two home runs and a single as he scored three runs and drove in a pair. The freshman first baseman connected on a pair of solo shots in the fourth and sixth innings off Clemson starter Casey Harman. Boyd tied career-highs for hits and runs scored in game one.
"He was a very impressive hitter tonight," added Martin on the performance of Boyd. "He also played well defensively at first base. He did a very good job. I was very pleased with the way he played tonight."
Tyler Holt and Rafael Lopez each registered two hits for the Noles in the loss.
Sean Gilmartin went 6.0 innings Thursday night in earning a no decision. The sophomore southpaw allowed five runs, four earned, on nine hits. He walked four and tied a career-high with nine strikeouts.
"I thought he (Sean) pitched very well," said Martin. "I haven't looked at the numbers but I thought he pitched well. I thought Johnny Gast threw the ball well too."
Clemson's Brad Miller had an outstanding evening as the Tiger designated hitter had a perfect night at the plate going 5-for-5 with three singles, a double, a two-run home run, four runs scored and three RBI. The bottom of the order did the bulk of the damage in game one as Miller, John Nester, Wilson Boyd and Jason Stolz accounted for 11 of the 17 hits, while driving in seven of the nine Clemson runs.
The Tigers finished the game out hitting the Seminoles 17-10.
Clemson left a pair stranded in the first as Gilmartin worked around two walks getting John Hinson swinging on strikes to close out the inning.
The Seminoles loaded the bases with one out in the second as James Ramey drew a walk, Devon Travis reached on a fielding error at third base and Lopez dropped a bloop single to left. But Florida State could not muster a run as Harman got Jayce Boyd to ground into an inning ending double play.
The Tigers broke out to an early 2-0 lead opening the bottom half of the second with three straight singles off Gilmartin. The third hit by Wilson Boyd plated the first run of the game as the senior centerfielder laced an RBI single to right center scoring Miller from second. With runners at the corners, Stolz sent a sac-fly to right plating Nester for a two-run Tiger advantage.
FSU answered the call with three runs in the top of the third to grab its first lead of the evening. All three runs came with two outs as Stephen Cardullo tied the game ripping a two-run double to left center. With Sherman Johnson and Stuart Tapley aboard following a fielder's choice and a walk, respectively, Cardullo took a 1-2 pitch from Harman to the gap for his 12th double of the season. The senior shortstop then created the third run of the inning as he stole third and advanced home as the throw from Nester went into left field.
Clemson threatened in the bottom of the third putting together a two-out rally as Hinson drew a walk and Miller connected on his second hit in as many at-bats. But Gilmartin got Nester to ground back to the mound for the final out of the inning.
Jayce Boyd gave the Noles a 4-2 lead with one swing of the bat in the fourth. The freshman first baseman deposited a 0-2 pitch from Harman into the seats in left center for his fifth home run of the season.
The Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the fourth on a fielder's choice groundout off the bat of Will Lamb. Wilson Boyd led off the inning with a single through the right side and moved to second on a passed ball. A single to right by Stolz put runners at the corners with no body out. Lamb stepped in and hit a high chopper to the right side that Jayce Boyd made a nice play on throwing over to second to record the first out of the inning. Gilmartin then got a fly out and groundout to second to maintain FSU's lead at 4-3.
The Garnet and Gold left two stranded in the top of the fifth after Ramsey registered a two-out double to the gap in left center. Mike McGee, who led off the inning with a walk, advanced to third on the play. Harman kept the deficit at one as he got Travis to fly out to right for the third out.
Clemson retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of a two-run home run by Miller. The sophomore designated hitter took a 1-0 pitch from Gilmartin out of the park to right center for a two-run shot, good for his sixth home run of the season and a 5-4 Tiger lead. A throwing error at third by Johnson kept the inning alive for the Tigers, but Gilmartin struck out Lamb to escape further damage.
The Seminoles tied the game at five in the sixth on Jayce Boyd's second home run of the evening. Boyd took the first offering from Harman inside the right field foul pole for his first career multi-home run game.
Mike Freeman led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to right and advanced to third on a wild pitch and a stolen base. Gilmartin was able to get out of the inning as he registered consecutive strikeouts to Kyle Parker and Hinson to keep the game tied at 5-5.
FSU went on top for the second time Thursday night taking advantage of the third Tiger error of evening. After walks to Tapley and Ramsey by Clemson reliever Alex Frederick (5-1), Travis hit a ground ball to short that Stolz could not field cleanly allowing Tapley to score all the way from second to give the Noles a 6-5 advantage. FSU looked to add another run on a single to left by Lopez but Jeff Schaus made a nice throw to the plate to get Ramsey for the final out of the inning.
John Gast started the bottom of the seventh and gave up a single to Miller, his fourth hit of the ball game. Miller than moved to second on a sac-bunt by Nester and advanced to third on a groundout to first by Wilson Boyd. With right handed hitting Stolz due up, Martin went to the bullpen for the second time Thursday night bringing on Geoff Parker. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Stolz beat out an infield single to short scoring Miller from third to tie the game for the second time.
The lead once again went in favor of the Noles as the Garnet and Gold scored twice in the eighth to take an 8-6 lead. Jayce Boyd got things started with a single to center and scored all the way from first as Johnson registered his first triple of the season. The sophomore third baseman ripped a shot to the gap in right center that Wilson Boyd made a diving attempt on but the ball fell in and rolled to the wall for an RBI triple. McGee followed with an RBI groundout to third scoring Johnson to give FSU a two-run lead. McGee ripped a line drive to Hinson but the Tiger third baseman could not make the catch recovering in time to throw out McGee at first.
The back and forth game continued as Clemson answered with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead for good at 9-8. The Tigers registered six hits off Parker in the inning as a pair of base running miscues resulted in the first two outs of the inning. With Freeman aboard after leading off the inning with an infield single, Schaus hit a ball to the right side that hit off the heel of Freeman for the first out of the inning. Kyle Parker then registered a double followed by an RBI infield single by Hinson. Cardullo made a nice diving stop on Hinson's ball hit up the middle to keep Kyle Parker from scoring. Geoff Parker then picked off Hinson at first after the fake to third, throw to first move for the second out of the inning. Miller delivered a big two-out hit, his fifth hit of the night, hammering a double to center scoring Parker to tie the game at 8-8. After a walk to Nester, Wilson Boyd singled home Miller for the go ahead run.
The Seminoles got a runner aboard in the ninth as Ramsey drew a one-out walk off Kevin Kyle. But Tomas Cruz got the final two outs to register his third save of the season. Cruz got Travis to line out to short after Stolz made a great leaping grab to rob the freshman second baseman of a hit. The Tiger right hander than got pinch hitter Ohmed Danesh swinging on strikes to close out the game.
The Seminoles return to the diamond for game two of the series against the Tigers on Friday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. The game will air live over the internet on TigerCast on Clemson's athletic website - www.clemsontigers.com, while fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team and 94.3 FM and on the web at Seminoles.com.