For six innings, it was an easy Saturday at the ball park for the Clemson baseball team. However, the final three innings caused plenty of consternation. The Tigers had to hold off a furious eight-run rally by Georgia Tech to pick up a 12-9 victory over the Yellow Jackets at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, clinching a huge ACC series win.
Clemson (30-17/8-14) set the tone for the high scoring affair in its first at bat. Bryar Hawkins and Caden Grice each had RBI doubles to spark a five-run uprising in the opening frame. Then after Georgia Tech (27-20/12-14) responded with a single run in the 2nd inning, the Tigers continued burning out the light bulbs in the scoreboard.
The home team regained its five run advantage with a run in the fourth, before breaking the game open in the middle innings. Grice lofted a two-run homer in the fifth, but saved his biggest blast for the sixth. After Jonathan French flared a two-out, run-scoring single, the right fielder with the funny number (#99) followed with a three-run homer, his 11th of the year, to up Clemson’s lead to 12-1 going to the 7th.
No one told the Yellow Jackets that it was time to pack up the dugout and head back to the hotel as the visitors chipped away at Clemson’s big lead with a pair of runs in the seventh, three more in the eighth, and three in the ninth on a pair of home runs. But with the potential tying run at the plate, Ryan Ammons coaxed a game ending ground out to preserve the victory.
Austin Gordon earned his first career win by tossing three innings in relief. He allowed four runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Ammons picked up his seventh save of the season by recording the game’s final out. Georgia Tech starter Marquis Grissom Jr. (2-5) suffered the loss, surrendering eight runs (five earned) on six hits in 4.2 innings pitched. And yes, he is the son of former Atlanta Braves outfielder Marquis Grissom.
The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.