Photos by Clemson Athletics
Second-ranked Wake Forest showcased its power at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Thursday, grabbing the early advantage against Clemson starter Austin Gordon on its way to an 8-3 victory in the series opener.
Gordon (0-2) fanned six but surrendered five earned runs to the Demon Deacons potent lineup in five innings of work. Wake’s Nick Kurtz put Clemson on its heels with a two-run homer in the first inning. Before the Tigers could answer, the Deacons put another three runs on the board in the fourth, including another two-run homer.
Clemson (16-11, 2-5) left a runner on base in each of the first five innings before scratching out two runs in the sixth. Will Taylor opened the frame with a double and scored on Caden Grice’s infield single. Grice came home on Blake Wright’s sacrifice fly, trimming Wake’s lead to 5-2.
Wake Forest (24-3, 8-2) got to the Tigers bullpen, however, and Chris Katz’s three-run homer made it 8-2. Seven of Wake’s eight runs came via the home run. Clemson had a chance to make some noise late, loading the bases with just one out in the eighth. Ben Blackwell drove home a run with a flyout but the Tigers failed to capitalize further.
Freshman Cam Cannarella walked in the fifth, extending his on-base streak to 24 games and Taylor finished 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. Freshman righthander Joe Allen will get the start in Game 2 as Clemson tries to even the series at 6 p.m., Friday.