RJ Schreck hit a two-run home run in the sixth and his teammate Chase Cheek blasted the game winning two-run shot in the ninth as Duke completed a three-game ACC sweep of Clemson with a 4-2 win on Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson (24-26/16-20) is the #11-seed in next week’s ACC baseball tournament in Charlotte. The pool designations, seeds, and game times will be announced this weekend. The tourney begins on Tuesday at Truist Field, home of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights.
After utilizing ten pitchers in Friday’s loss to the Blue Devils, Clemson hoped Caden Grice would be as good on the mound as he has been at the plate. In his first start for the Tigers since March 9th, the freshman was terrific, sitting down the first twelve batters he faced, six of them on strikeouts. That allowed Clemson’s offense to generate its first lead of the series.
In the bottom of the third, Bryar Hawkins rolled a base hit into centerfield scoring James Parker to give the Tigers a 1-0 advantage. Then in the fourth, Sam Hall picked up an RBI single to right, as Clemson enjoyed a 2-0 cushion moving to the fifth.
Grice allowed his first and only hit of the game in the top of the frame, but got through the fifth inning unscathed. The eighty-five pitches, which included eight strikeouts, were enough for head coach Monte Lee as Grice was moved to designated hitter for the sixth inning.
“We couldn’t stretch him out past that point because of pitch count and just from a health standpoint with him,” Lee explained of the decision after the game. Grice’s five innings were a season high in his five appearances this year.
Duke pulled even in the sixth inning on Schreck’s two-out, two-run home run to left field. Then in the ninth, Cheek connected on a two-run home run with two outs to ultimately give the Blue Devils their eighth straight win and second consecutive series sweep of the Tigers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Duke also turned the trick in 2019.
Marcus Johnson picked up the win in relief for the Blue Devils, tossing three and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball. Geoffrey Gilbert suffered the loss, giving up a run in two and two thirds innings of relief for the Tigers.