Clemson got a brilliant outing from Ethan Darden and some heady play from Blake Wright to put away Florida State 8-1 in Tallahassee, Fla., Friday.
Making his first career ACC start, Darden (2-1) allowed just four hits and a walk in five shutout innings. FSU didn’t fare much better against the Clemson bullpen. Fellow southpaw Tristan Smith relieved Darden and posted scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh. The Seminoles (14-17, 4-10) finally got on the scoreboard with a run in the ninth, but it was far too little and hopelessly late.
After three scoreless innings, Wright turned the momentum in the Tigers’ favor with an RBI single. Wright then helped his pitcher out with a trick play in the fifth. FSU’s Cam Smith doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a bunt. Before Darden had to throw another pitch, Wright tagged out Smith, having never relinquished the ball on the “hidden ball trick.” With the bases now clear, Darden got the next batter to fly out to close the inning and finish off his day.
Wright wasn’t through showing off his baseball IQ and helped Clemson extend the lead in the following inning. Wright drove in another run in the sixth on a single to center and reached second base on the throw. With runners on second and third, Riley Bertram executed a suicide squeeze bunt to plate Caden Grice. Wright never stopped and scored from second on the play to give his club a 4-0 lead.
Wright added a third RBI single in the eighth before Cam Cannarella capped the Tigers’ scoring with a homer in the ninth, extending his on-base streak to 29 games in the process.
Clemson (18-14, 3-8) and Florida State will meet in the rubber match of the series at 11 a.m., Saturday.