Brad Miller, Will Lamb, and Jeff Schaus all had three hits apiece to lead #15 Clemson to a 7-4 victory over #4 Florida State in front of 4,973 fans at Dick Howser Stadium on Friday. The Tigers, who evened the series 1-1, improved to 38-17 overall and 16-13 in the ACC. The Seminoles fell to 40-14 overall and 19-10 in ACC play.
Clemson scored one run in the second inning, four runs in the third inning, and two runs in the fifth inning to build a 7-0 lead. But the Seminoles rallied with two sixth-inning runs and two eighth-inning runs before bringing the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth inning. But the Tigers prevailed and locked up the #6 seed in the ACC Tournament with the victory.
Justin Sarratt (7-1), the first of five Tiger pitchers, earned the win. In 5.1 innings pitched, he allowed five hits, two runs, and two walks with five strikeouts. Clemson improved to 11-0 in his 11 starts in 2011. Kevin Brady struck out four of the five batters he faced in 1.2 perfect innings pitched. Scott Weismann did not allow a hit or run with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings pitched to record his fifth save of the season.
Robert Benincasa (2-1), the first of seven Florida State hurlers, suffered the loss. In 2.2 innings pitched, he surrendered seven hits, five runs, and one walk with one strikeout. The seven pitchers combined to strand 12 Tigers on base.
Chris Epps gave the Tigers the game’s first lead with two outs in the second inning when he belted a solo home run to right field, his eighth long ball of the season.
In the third inning, Jason Stolz led off with a walk on four pitches and John Hinson tripled to right-center to score Stolz and up his hitting streak to 11 games. Phil Pohl followed with a sacrifice fly to center to plate Hinson. After Miller singled up the middle, Lamb blooped a single to left field that got by Seth Miller to allow Brad Miller to score and Lamb to advance to third base. Two batters later, Schaus hit a two-out double to right field to score Lamb.
Clemson added two runs to its lead in the fifth inning. Miller led off with a single through the right side and Lamb crushed a two-run homer to right-center, his second long ball of the year, to give Clemson a 7-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, Rafael Lopez led off with a hit-by-pitch and Sherman Johnson lined a single to right field. After Mike McGee walked on four pitches to load the bases with no outs, James Ramsey struck out. Jayce Boyd, who earlier extended his hitting streak to 11 games, laced a single to left field to score Lopez. Brady entered the game on the mound for the Tigers and struck out Justin Gonzalez for out #2. The home-plate umpire then called a balk on Brady, the first by a Tiger pitcher in 2011, to bring home Johnson, but Brady struck out Parker Brunelle to end the inning.
McGee cut into Clemson’s lead in the eighth inning when he hit an opposite-field, solo home run to right-center, his 10th long ball of the season. Ramsey followed with a walk, then Boyd grounded a double over the third-base bag on a 1-2 pitch to score Ramsey.
In the top of the ninth inning, Richie Shaffer led off with a walk and Schaus lined a single to right-center to move Shaffer to third. It was Schaus’ 300th career hit, as he became the 21st player in ACC history and sixth player in Clemson history to reach that mark. But the Tigers were unable to add to their lead in the frame.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, pinch-hitter Devon Travis was hit-by-pitch with one out and Lopez walked on six pitches. With the potential tying run at the plate, Weismann battled back from being down in the count 3-1 to strike out Johnson for out #2. McGee then flied out to center to end the game.
Miller went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs, and a stolen base to lead Clemson, who totaled 13 hits in the contest. Lamb went 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs, two runs, and a steal, while Schaus was 3-for-5 with a double and RBI. Stolz was 1-for-2 with a run and three walks as well.
Boyd went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs to lead Florida State, who amassed seven hits. McGee went 2-for-4 with a homer and walk as well.
Clemson and Florida State will play both team’s regular-season finale on Saturday at 1:00 PM. The game will be televised live by Regional Sports Network.