Dramatic finish goes Wake’s way, #Clemson falls 4-3 (Updated w/Postgame Audio)

Nick Clayton struck out eight in relief of Joe Allen (Clemson Athletics)

For a moment, Clemson had Wake Forest right where they wanted them. The Tigers led the nation’s second-ranked team heading into the eighth but couldn’t hold on as the Deacons scored a run in each of the final two innings to take a 4-3 victory at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Friday.

The Clemson bullpen held Wake Forest at bay in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings before finally cracking ever so slightly. But when you’re facing a team playing as well as the Demon Deacons (25-3, 9-2), cracks are often enough to sink you. After Wake pushed across the tying run in the eighth on a safety squeeze play, the Tigers had their chances, but failed to score again, stranding three runners in scoring position over the final two frames.

With the game tied in the ninth, Clemson’s Jackson Lindley (1-3) hit Brock Wilken to set things in motion. Wilken moved to second on a sacrifice before scoring the go-ahead run on a single from Justin Johnson.

The Tigers wouldn’t go quietly, however, as Cam Cannarella’s third hit of the game resulted in runners at the corners with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Cannarella swiped second to put the winning run into scoring position. Cooper Ingle stared down Wake stopper Camden Minacci (1.59) with two runners on and the game in the balance. Minacci won the showdown, inducing a game-clinching groundout from Ingle to pick up his seventh save and clinch the series for the Deacons.

Riley Bertram drove in a pair of runs for Clemson and Nick Clayton was especially good in relief, fanning eight and surrendering just one run in 4.2 innings.

Clemson (16-12, 2-6) will look to salvage a game in the series when the two clubs meet at 2 p.m., Saturday.

Box Score

Erik Bakich and Nick Clayton — Clemson Postgame

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