The Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals opened the ACC baseball championship on Tuesday morning in Uptown Charlotte and put on one heck of an offensive show. The two teams combined for a single-game, ACC tournament record with eleven home runs, as Louisville slugged its way to a 15-10 victory over the Tigers. With the loss, Clemson’s hopes of winning “Pool B” are dashed, as the Tigers had to sweep both games in their pool to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. Clemson will wrap up its stay in Charlotte Tuesday night at 7pm against Georgia Tech.
Clemson got the scoring started in the first inning as Caden Grice made his first tournament at bat a memorable one. The freshman blasted a two-run home run to left centerfield, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead going to the bottom of the frame. Little did anyone know what would transpire at the plate the rest of the way.
UofL responded quickly with a sacrifice fly and an RBI double to tie the game at 2-2. The first of six straight innings in which the Cardinals would score at least one run against the Tigers.
Clemson answered back in a big way in the top of the second inning. Adam Hackenberg put the Tigers back in front 3-2 with a run scoring single. Then Bryce Teodosio smacked a two-run double to stretch the advantage to 5-2 heading towards Louisville chance at batting practice.
The Cardinals strung together consecutive two run innings in the second and third, before grabbing their first lead in the bottom of the fourth. That’s when they hit two of their ACC tournament record seven home runs; one by Ben Metzinger and the other blast from catcher Henry Davis to put the higher seeded Cardinals up 9-8 heading into the fifth inning.
In a game heavily tilted towards the offense, Louisville found something in relief pitcher Carter Lohman. The sophomore from Fishers, Indiana tossed four innings, giving up just two runs on three base hits while striking out eight. His work through the middle innings allowed UofL to seize control of the contest.
Louisville scored a run in the fifth and then got some breathing room with a four-run sixth inning. In that frame, Alex Binelas had his biggest home run of the day. Sandwiched between solo blasts in the third and ninth innings, the first baseman connected on a three-run home run to up Louisville’s advantage to 14-9. Binelas also had a team high six RBIs to go along with his game high three home runs.
Caden Grice also had a multi-homer day as he had long balls in the first and third innings. Grice finished the season with six home runs against the Cardinals, hitting four during the regular season sweep by the Tigers a month ago. Teodosio had a great day at the plate as well with two base hits and four RBIs to lead the Tigers.
Evan Webster pitched two innings to record the victory for Louisville, while Mack Anglin’s two innings of work earned him the loss for Clemson.
Afterwards, Clemson head coach Monte Lee was very direct in his comments regarding the Tigers most likely not earning an NCAA tournament bid. “It seems really weird,” Lee said when trying to describe the season coming to an end shy of the NCAA’s. “My expectations as a head coach are to always be in the postseason. I’m trying to come to grips with the reality of it. I failed our club and didn’t do a good enough job this year of putting them in a position to be successful and getting it to the postseason. I’m going to do everything I can to try and fix some of these issues.”
Monte Lee Postgame Comments
Caden Grice Postgame Comments