Photos by Clemson Athletics
Right around the dinner hour, Saturday, millions of people will turn their attention to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., to take in the spectacle of America’s most famous horse race and the Kentucky Derby’s “Run for the Roses.” Clemson fans can sit back and enjoy the “most exciting two minutes in sports” knowing their Tigers have already taken the first two legs of their series against Louisville, including a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Saturday.
For the second game in a row, Clemson (30-17, 13-10) plated three runs in the seventh and got outstanding pitching to get the better of Louisville. The Tigers scored on a pair of bases-loaded walks and a sacrifice fly from Billy Amick in the seventh to build a 4-1 lead. Louisville (29-17, 9-14) scored twice in the eighth to tighten it up, but Rob Hughes shut the door to wrap up Clemson’s eighth win in the last nine games.
Hughes inherited the tying run after Tristan Smith plunked Louisville’s Brandon Anderson to open the ninth. Tyeler Hawkins entered as a pinch runner and attempted to get into scoring position but was gunned down by Clemson catcher Cooper Ingle. Hughes cruised from there for his first save of the season. Ingle also extended his hitting streak to 18 games. Rily Bertram scored a run and finished 3-for-4. Starter Austin Gordon was outstanding, fanning five and holding the Cards scoreless through 6.0 innings.
The Tigers will go for the sweep at noon, Sunday.