The Clemson Tigers bullpen blew two separate leads in the late innings, as the Florida State Seminoles broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth to earn a 5-4 win, advancing to the ACC Baseball Championship.
Clemson usually-reliable relievers gave up two runs, and allowed an inherited runner to score on a wild pitch.
Chris Williams’ three-run homer in the fourth provided the bulk of the Tigers’ offense, and starting pitcher Jake Higginbotham made it stand over his 6 and 1/3 innings. He allowed a leadoff walk in the seventh, however, who came around to score on a wild pitch by Carson Spiers, who relieved him later in the inning.
After Clemson regained the lead in the bottom of the inning, Spiers allowed a leadoff homer to Jackson Lueck in the eighth and Ryley Gilliam loaded the bases after coming in to relieve him. Home plate umpire David Savage ejected Tigers Head Coach Monte Lee for arguing balls and strikes, but following Lee’s ejection, Gilliam struck out two batters and induced a groundout to escape the threat.
Gilliam’s fortunes would not remain favorable in the ninth, as a two-out walk came around to score after a stolen base and Rhett Aplin’s game-winning single.
Clemson put a runner on with one out and Seth Beer & Chris Williams coming to the plate, but FSU reliever CJ Van Eyk retired both to end the ballgame.
Tigers Head Coach Monte Lee believed despite the loss, that this week prepared them well for what will come during the NCAA Tournament.
Lee also lamented the Tigers’ missed opportunities on offense, who left nine on base and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Clemson awaits its NCAA Tournament seeding on Monday at noon, finishing the pre-tournament part of the season at 45-14.