Graduate Justin Sarratt tossed 6.0 scoreless innings of four-hit ball with 10 strikeouts and #15 Clemson scored six runs in the sixth inning in its 7-2 victory over Elon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Tuesday night. The Tigers, who took a 1-0 lead in the two-game, midweek series, improved to 11-7 in 2011. Elon dropped to 15-7 on the season.
Other than Clemson’s single run in the third inning, neither team could scratch during the first five innings. After Sarratt got out of a jam in the top of the sixth inning, Clemson exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull away for their fourth win in a row.
Sarratt (1-1), a fifth-year righthander from Gaffney, SC, allowed just four singles, no runs, and one walk with 10 strikeouts to earn the win. He allowed just two baserunners past first base and only one past second base. Alex Frederick pitched 2.0 perfect innings with three strikeouts to close out the game. The four Tiger pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts and allowed only seven hits, all singles.
Thomas Girdwood (2-2), the first of three Phoenix hurlers, suffered the loss. He gave up seven hits, four runs (three earned), and two walks with two strikeouts in 5.1 innings pitched.
The Tigers grabbed the game’s first lead in the third inning. Chris Epps led off with a single through the right side, but was thrown out at third base on Spencer Kieboom’s single to right-center. Kieboom advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third on Steve Wilkerson’s groundout to second. Will Lamb then reached on a two-out, infield single to score Kieboom, which also extended Lamb’s hitting streak to 10 games.
In the sixth inning, the Tigers distanced themselves with six runs on five hits and four walks. Lamb led off with a single to center, stole second, and moved to third on Jeff Schaus’ lineout to center. After Phil Pohl was intentionally walked, Richie Shaffer laced the next pitch through the left side for a single to score Lamb. Jon McGibbon loaded the bases with a bunt single, then Jason Stolz walked on six pitches to score Pohl. Epps followed with a double to right field to plate Shaffer and McGibbon. Kieboom kept the rally going with a single through the right side to score Stolz. After Wilkerson walked to load the bases, Lamb lofted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Epps.
Elon dented the scoreboard for the first time in the seventh inning. Sebastian Gomez led off with a walk and went to second two batters later on Garrett Koster’s one-out single through the left side. Eric Serra followed with a single down the right-field line to plate Gomez. After Jake Luce walked to load the bases, Niko Fraser singled through the right side to score Koster. But Clemson escaped further damage when Neal Pritchard popped up to second and Alex Swim lined out to left-center to end the frame, keeping the Tigers ahead by five runs.
Kieboom went 3-for-4 with a double and RBI to lead Clemson’s 11-hit attack. Epps went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, while Lamb went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two stolen bases. Seven different Tigers accounted for the team’s seven runs.
Fraser and Serra both had two hits and an RBI to pace Elon, who had seven hits in the game.
Clemson will conclude the two-game, midweek series with Elon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday at 4:00 PM. The game was originally slated for a 6:30 PM start, but due to the threat of inclement weather on Wednesday night, the start time was moved to 4:00 PM.