Sophomore righthander Dominic Leone tossed 8.0 innings of two-hit ball and Brad Miller went 4-for-4 to lead #23 Clemson to a 4-2 victory over #9 Georgia Tech in front of 4,706 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday night. The Tigers, who took a 1-0 series lead, improved to 28-14 overall and 12-10 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets dropped to 30-13 overall and 17-5 in ACC play.
After Kyle Wren reached on an error to lead off the game, Leone retired the next 13 batters. The Tigers scored single runs in the first and second inning before the Yellow Jackets tied the score on Zane Evans’ two-run homer in the fifth inning. But Jason Stolz’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning gave the Tigers the lead for good and Stolz’s run-scoring, squeeze bunt in the eighth inning gave Clemson a two-run cushion. Leone and Scott Weismann combined to face the minimum 12 batters in the final four innings to close out the game.
Leone (3-1) earned the win by pitching 8.0 strong innings. He allowed just two hits, two runs, and two walks with a career-high-tying 10 strikeouts. Weismann retired all three batters he faced in the ninth inning to record his third save of the season. The two righthanders combined to allow just two hits, one of which was an infield chopper over the mound, against Georgia Tech, who entered the game leading the ACC with a .316 batting average. They also combined to face five batters over the minimum.
Mark Pope (9-2), the first of four Yellow Jacket pitchers, suffered the loss after scattering 10 hits, three runs, and two walks with five strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched.
The Tigers grabbed the game’s first lead in the first inning. Phil Pohl hit a one-out double to left-center and scored on Miller’s single to right field on a 1-2 pitch.
In the second inning, Will Lamb led off with a single through the right side to extend his hitting streak to 17 games and advanced to second on Spencer Kieboom’s groundout. Two batters later, Stolz bounced a two-out single through the left side to score Lamb.
In the fifth inning, Sam Dove drew a one-out walk and Evans followed with a two-run homer to left-center, his third long ball of the season. It was also the first hit of the game for the Yellow Jackets. The runs ended Leone’s scoreless innings pitched streak at 14.0.
The Tigers regained the lead in the sixth inning. Lamb led off with a flyball that fell for a double in shallow left field. After Kieboom popped up for out #1, Lamb stole third and Chris Epps walked. Stolz followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Lamb.
In the eighth inning, Lamb led off with a walk and Kieboom laid down a two-strike bunt back to the mound. Dusty Isaacs’ throw, which would have been in time to retire Lamb at second base, was errant and Lamb advanced to third base on the error. Two batters later, Stolz laid down a safety-squeeze bunt to score Lamb.
Miller went 4-for-4 with a double and RBI to lead Clemson’s 11-hit attack. In the last two games, Miller is 7-for-7 with two walks, as has reached base via a hit or walk in all nine of his plate appearances.
Stolz, a native of Marietta, GA, went 1-for-2 with a game-high three RBIs. Lamb went 2-for-3 with a double, game-high three runs, and a steal.
Evans and Wren had one hit apiece for the Yellow Jackets.
Clemson and Georgia Tech will play game-two of the three-game series on Saturday at 1:00 PM. The game will be televised live by Regional Sports Network. The Thomas F. Chapman Grandstands in left field will be dedicated prior to the game. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and sit in the Thomas F. Chapman Grandstands and receive a free T-shirt as we thank Mr. Chapman for his donation to Clemson Baseball.