Game two story:
Brad Miller’s three-run homer in the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie in #16 Clemson’s 8-3 win over Virginia Tech in front of 713 fans in the second game of a doubleheader at English Field on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers, who took a 2-0 lead in the series and won their eighth game in a row, improved to 36-15 overall and 15-11 in the ACC. The Hokies dropped to 28-23 overall and 9-17 in the ACC.
Joseph Moorefield (2-1) struck out the only batter he faced in the seventh inning to earn the win. Matt Campbell pitched 2.0 hitless and scoreless innings with three strikeouts to record his second save of the season. Starter Justin Sarratt pitched 6.1 effective innings, allowing six hits, three runs, and one walk with eight strikeouts. Clemson also improved to 10-0 in Sarratt’s 10 starts in 2011. Four Tiger pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts in the contest as well.
Hokie starter Marc Zecchino (5-5) suffered the loss. He yielded seven hits, five runs (four earned), and one walk with seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched.
After Sarratt struck out the first five Hokies to start the game, Matt Blow lined a two-out, solo homer down the right-field line in the second inning, his third long ball of the season. It was also only the second home run allowed by Sarratt in 2011 and snapped his streak of 27.2 innings pitched without allowing an earned run.
The Tigers responded in the top of the third inning to take the lead. In his first career start, freshman Mike Dunster led off with a single up the middle and John Hinson crushed a long two-run home run to right field, his sixth long ball of the season. It was also Clemson’s first extra-base hit of the series.
In the bottom of the third inning, Johnny Morales belted a one-out double to left-center. Two batters later with two outs, Michael Seaborn laced a 1-2 pitch off the wall in left field for a double to plate Morales and tie the score 2-2.
Clemson regained the lead in the fourth inning. Jeff Schaus reached with one out when left-fielder Andrew Rash dropped his liner, the first error by either team in the series. Two batters later, Chris Epps ripped a two-out single up the middle to score Schaus.
In the seventh inning, Rash led off with hit a hard-hit grounder on an 0-2 pitch right at Hinson, but he could not field the ball cleanly and Rash reached on the infield single. Two batters later, Tyler Horan grounded a one-out single through the right side to advance Rash to third base. Pinch-hitter Chad Pinder followed with a single to left field to bring home Rash and tie the score 3-3. After both runners stole a base, Morales flied out to shallow left-center as neither runner advanced. Moorefield then struck out Jake Atwell to keep the score tied.
In the eighth inning, Dunster led off with a walk on six pitches after Zecchino had retired nine batters in a row, then Hinson blooped a single to left field. Phil Pohl’s bunt back to the mound allowed Zecchino to throw to third base to retire pinch-runner Steve Wilkerson. But Miller blasted a 2-2 breaking ball over the fence in right field for a three-run homer, his third long ball of the year, to give Clemson a 6-3 lead.
The Tigers added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning, Schaus led off with a single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch and went to third on Jason Stolz’s single through the left side. Epps followed with a single through the right side to score Schaus and move Stolz to third. Wilkerson lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Stolz and give Clemson a five-run lead.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, a one-out walk by Tony Balisteri and two-out walks by Chris Kay and Morales loaded the bases. But Campbell struck out pinch-hitter Gabe Ortiz to end the game.
With the win, Clemson became the sixth team to clinch a spot in the 2011 ACC Tournament.
Hinson paced the Tigers’ 13-hit attack by going 4-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs, and two runs. Miller went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and hit-by-pitch, while Epps went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base. Will Lamb went 0-for-4, snapping his 25-game hitting streak.
Six different Hokies accounted for the team’s six hits.
Clemson and Virginia Tech will play the finale of the three-game series on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
Game one story:
Jeff Schaus went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, two walks, and a hit-by-pitch to lead #16 Clemson to a 7-2 win over Virginia Tech in the first game of a doubleheader at English Field on Saturday. The Tigers, who took a 1-0 series lead and won their seventh game in a row, improved to 35-15 overall and 14-11 in the ACC. The Hokies dropped to 28-22 overall and 9-16 in ACC play.
Starter Dominic Leone (5-1) earned the win for the Tigers in 6.0 innings pitched. He allowed six hits, two runs, and two walks with seven strikeouts.
Hokie starter Joe Mantiply (5-7) suffered the loss, as he gave up nine hits, six runs, and five walks with two strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.
In the first inning, John Hinson led off with a flyball that fell for a single in shallow right-center and Phil Pohl lined a single to center. Two batters later, Richie Shaffer drew a one-out walk to load the bases, then Will Lamb reached on a fielder’s choice as Hinson scored.
Chris Epps led off the second inning with a walk on seven pitches, then Spencer Kieboom executed a hit-and-run on the next pitch when he singled through the right side to advance Epps to third base. Hinson followed with a sacrifice fly to deep right-center on an 0-2 pitch to plate Epps. Pohl hit a soft liner on an 0-2 pitch for a single to right-center, but he was retired at second base on Brad Miller’s fielder’s choice. With two outs, Kieboom scored on a passed ball to give Clemson a 3-0 lead.
In the third inning, Chad Morgan led off with a double to left field and advanced to third on Johnny Morales’ sacrifice bunt. Jake Atwell followed with a single to right-center to score Morgan, then Michael Seaborn hit a double to right-center on a 1-2 pitch to score Atwell.
In the top of the fifth inning, Miller lined a one-out single to center and Shaffer walked. After Lamb’s infield single to first loaded the bases, Schaus grounded a single through the right side to score Miller and Shaffer. Jason Stolz then lined a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Lamb.
The Hokies threatened to cut into Clemson’s lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Atwell lined a one-out single off Stolz’s glove at second and Seaborn was hit-by-pitch. Ronnie Shaban’s four-pitch walk loaded the bases, but Leone struck out Tim Smalling and Andrew Rash to end the inning and keep the Tigers ahead by four runs.
In the top of the ninth inning, Lamb lined a one-out single to right, Schaus lined a single to center, and Stolz lined a single to center to load the bases. Epps’ groundout to first scored Lamb.
In the bottom of the ninth inning as steady rain fell, Tyler Horan led off with a double to right-center and went to third on Morgan’s single to left-center. With a 2-1 count on Morales, the horn went off to halt play due to inclement weather. After the 122-minute delay, Scott Weismann took the mound for the Tigers and threw two straight strikes to strike out Morales. Atwell popped up to Hinson for out #2, then Seaborn struck out to end the game.
Pohl and Lamb both went 3-for-5 to lead Clemson’s 14-hit attack. Lamb also extended his hitting streak to 25 games, the fifth-longest in Tiger history and the longest by an ACC player in 2011.
Atwell and Morgan had two hits apiece to lead Virginia Tech, who totaled eight hits in the contest.