Brett Armour’s two-run homer in the eighth inning broke a scoreless tie and Wake Forest held on for a 2-1 win over Clemson in front of 1,241 fans at Wake Forest Baseball Park on Friday night. The Demon Deacons, who took a 2-0 series lead and clinched a spot in the ACC Tournament, improved to 31-22 overall and 12-17 in the ACC. The Tigers fell to 32-23 overall and 16-13 in ACC play.
The Demon Deacons escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the top of the eighth inning without allowing a run, then Armour blasted a two-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole in the bottom of the eighth inning to score the game’s first runs. Clemson loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth inning, but only scored one run and fell one run short.
Michael Dimock (3-3) earned the win in relief. He allowed one hit, one run, and two walks with one strikeout in 1.1 innings pitched. Starter Jack Fischer tossed 7.2 strong innings, allowing just four hits, no runs, and two walks with three strikeouts. Fischer retired 18 batters in a row during one stretch.
Daniel Gossett (6-3), the first of three Tiger pitchers, suffered the loss in his first career ACC start. In a career-long 7.1 innings pitched, he surrendered six hits, two runs, and two walks with seven strikeouts.
With the score 0-0, Richie Shaffer led off the seventh inning with a chopper in front of the plate. Fischer’s throw to first was offline and pulled first-baseman Carlos Lopez off the bag before the ball arrived according to the first-base umpire. After a discussion with all three umpires, the home-plate umpire overturned the first-base umpire’s call and ruled that Lopez’s foot was on the bag when he caught the ball. Two batters later, Brad Felder ripped a two-out double through the left side, but Joe Costigan struck out to end the inning.
In the top of the eighth inning, Jon McGibbon ripped a one-out single through the right side, then Jason Stolz reached on an infield single. After Steve Wilkerson walked on six pitches to load the bases, Thomas Brittle and Shaffer both struck out on three pitches to end the inning.
Mark Rhine led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single through the left side. Two batters later, Armour laced a two-run home run just inside the left-field foul pole, his fourth long ball of the season.
Phil Pohl led off the ninth inning with an infield single, Clemson’s first leadoff batter to reach in the game. Felder walked on four pitches, then Tyler Slaton walked to load the bases with no outs. Spencer Kieboom flied out to shallow center for out #1 as all runners stayed at their bases. McGibbon then lofted a flyball to the wall in right field. Mac Williamson made the catch a few feet away from the wall as all three baserunners tagged up. Pohl scored on the sacrifice fly, but Slaton was thrown out at second base in a close play for the game-ending double play.
Evan Stephens went 2-for-3 to lead the Demon Deacons, who totaled six hits and left only four runners on base.
Five different Tigers had one hit apiece, while McGibbon had the lone RBI for Clemson, who stranded seven runners on base. Wilkerson went 0-for-3 with a walk, as his 15-game hitting streak came to an end.
Clemson and Wake Forest will conclude the regular season with game-three of the series on Saturday at 1:00 PM.