Virginia Tech’s formidable lineup feasted against Clemson in an 18-6 victory at the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, Thursday. The Tigers (35-23) were looking for a win to bolster their NCAA resume before the bracket is revealed on Memorial Day, but their pitching simply didn’t hold up against a lineup featuring five all-conference performers.
The top-seeded Hokies scored in each of the first three innings against starter Billy Barlow (2-4), but struck the decisive blows in a seven-run third that featured back-to-back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches. Clemson hurlers gave up 15 hits, ten walks and six long balls to VT hitters.
Clemson’s offense made some noise, too. Blake Wright got the Tigers on the board with a two-run opposite field home run in the second. Conference Player of the Year Max Wagner was hitless in five tournament at bats before launching a two-run homer in the third, cutting the lead to 10-4. Camden Troyer followed with a two-run shot in the fourth that landed on South Mint Street outside the stadium. But the Hokies kept the pressure on, adding two runs in the fifth, two in the seventh and four more in the ninth to account for the final margin. Wagner’s big fly turned out to be his only hit in Charlotte, but it did move him into a tie with Khalil Greene for the single-season school record of 27.
After starting the season 14-0, Clemson’s poor showing in Charlotte may leave the Tigers on the outside looking in when the NCAA Regionals begin next weekend. Clemson’s fate will be revealed when the D1 Baseball Selection Show airs on ESPN2 at noon, Monday.