The Clemson Tigers find themselves in all-too-familiar territory, after losing Saturday night’s NCAA Baseball Tournament winner’s bracket game to Vanderbilt, 4-3.
The Tigers entered the exact same predicament a year ago, having to win three games in the final two days of their host regional to advance. Clemson pushed the Commodores to the decisive Monday game last year, only to lose, 8-0.
Clemson started out on fire offensively, scoring three runs in the first two innings on RBI-singles by Chris Williams, Drew Wharton and Logan Davidson. Vanderbilt stole the momentum back in the bottom of the second, however, as Julian Infante’s run-scoring groundout and an opposite field two-run homer by Ethan Paul tied the score at 3-3.
Vanderbilt went ahead in the fifth on Connor Kaiser’s single through a drawn-in infield, and the Clemson bats went to sleep, stranding eight runners adding to their tournament total of 18 left on base.
The Tigers will have to beat St. John’s on Sunday to draw another date with Vanderbilt later that night, needing to beat the Commodores twice to advance to their first Super Regional since 2010.
Clemson Head Coach Monte Lee shared the frustration his players had in a continuation of missed opportunities:
The Tigers (46-15) and the St. John’s Red Storm meet at noon Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, with the winner scheduled to play that evening against Vanderbilt at 6 PM. Clemson will be designated as the road team in the contest with St. John’s, as the Red Storm have yet to play as the home team through their first two games of the regional.