Behind a season-high three home runs, including Richie Shaffer’s go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, #14 Clemson defeated N.C. State 6-3 in the ACC Tournament in front of 4,255 fans at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Saturday afternoon. The #6-seeded Tigers improved to 41-18 overall and 2-1 in the ACC Tournament. The #7-seeded Wolfpack fell to 34-25 overall and 1-2 in the ACC Tourney.
With the Wolfpack ahead 3-1, Shaffer stepped to the plate with two outs in the sixth inning and crushed a three-run homer to left-center to give Clemson the lead for good. The Tigers tied for the best record in their bracket with Florida State, but the Seminoles advanced to Sunday’s ACC Tournament Championship game by virtue of Florida State defeating Clemson on Thursday.
Freshman righthander Matt Campbell (1-0) earned his first career win by tossing 2.1 scoreless innings in relief. He allowed just one hit and no walks with one strikeout. Scott Weismann, the last of seven Tiger pitchers, recorded his seventh save of the year by pitching a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts.
Nick Rice (1-1), the third of five Wolfpack hurlers, suffered the loss. He gave up two runs on two hits in 1.0 innings pitched.
The Wolfpack took the game’s first lead in the second inning. Tarran Senay led off with a walk after being down in the count 0-2. Andrew Ciencin followed with a double off the top of the wall in left-center and Senay scored on an error by left-fielder Jeff Schaus. Two batters later, John Gianis lined a one-out single to left field to score Ciencin.
Brad Miller cut N.C. State’s lead in half in the top of the fourth inning when he belted a two-out, solo homer to left-center, his fifth long ball of the season.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Harold Riggins led off with a hit-by-pitch and went to third base on Senay’s double to right field. Ciencin’s sacrifice fly to right field plated Riggins.
In the sixth inning, John Hinson and Phil Pohl led off with walks. Two batters later, Will Lamb reached on a fielder’s choice as Pohl was retired at second base for out #2. Shaffer then blasted a three-run homer to left-center, his 11th long ball of the season, to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead.
Clemson doubled its lead in the seventh inning when Chris Epps led off with a long solo home run to right field, his 10th long ball of the year. It was Epps’ fifth homer in the last 11 games after going homerless in his previous 22 games.
In the eighth inning, Pohl led off with a single up the middle and advanced to third base on Miller’s single through the right side. Lamb lined out to right field to score Pohl on the sacrifice fly.
Jason Stolz went 2-for-2 with two doubles and a walk to lead Clemson, who totaled eight hits in the game. Hinson’s 14-game hitting streak came to an end as well.
Ciencin had a team-high two hits for N.C. State, who also amassed eight hits in the contest.
Clemson will await word from the NCAA Baseball Committee on the 16 NCAA Regional host sites on Sunday at approximately 3:30 PM at NCAA.com/CWS. Then on Monday at 12:30 PM, the 64-team field will be announced on ESPN.