By Nikki Steele
CLEMSON – The only question in Saturday’s game featuring Clemson and Coastal Carolina was who had more power as the game turned into a slug fest between the in-state rivals.
The answer turned out to be Clemson.
John Hinson, Will Lamb, and Richie Shaffer all home runs in leading the Tigers to a 12-7 win over the the Chanticleers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in the evening’s second game of the Clemson Regional.
Hinson went 2-for-5, scoring three times and hitting his second homer in as many nights. Lamb was 3-for-4 with a homer, a triple and two RBI and Shaffer was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead scoring six runs in the first three innings – two runs in each frame – but Coastal Carolina continued to battle scoring two each in the first and third innings as Clemson led 6-4 through the first three.
Lamb homered to lead off the fifth inning – his third of the year – as Clemson went up 7-4. The Chanticleers bounced back with a single run to pull back within two at 7-5.
Richie Shaffer, who had homered to right field earlier, laced an RBI double into the right center field gap to push the Tigers back up to an 8-5 lead, setting up a huge eighth inning that put the game out of reach.
The Chanticleers had a chance to cut into the lead again in the bottom of the seventh inning, but a laser throw by left fielder Jeff Schaus to second baseman Jason Stolz thwarted the rally.
With one out in the inning, Chanticleer first baseman Rich Witten laced a shot off the left field wall, but Schaus played the ball perfectly and fired to Stolz who tagged out Witten easily. The play was huge because the out was made in front of Coastal’s Tommy La Stella, who had already homered and doubled.
La Stella grounded out weakly, however, and Clemson led 8-5 heading to the eighth.
Stolz singled to right to lead off the inning, and catcher Spencer Kieboom sacrificed him to second. Up stepped Hinson, who launched a 2-1 fastball into the right field seats for his ninth homer of the season and a 10-5 Tiger lead.
Phil Pohl followed that with a single, scored on a Lamb triple and Lamb scored on Shaffer’s RBI single and Clemson led 12-5.
Coastal added two more runs in the bottom of the ninth, but Alex Frederick retired the final two batters and pushed the Tigers into the Sunday night game.
(Jack Leggett, John Hinson, Richie Schaffer, Jeff Schaus)
(Gary Gilmore, Tommy La Stella, Rich Witten)
David Haselden threw four innings and picked up the win in relief of starter Dominic Leone. Haselden gave up two runs before Frederick was called on to record the final two outs.
Coastal Carolina will face the UConn Huskies, who defeated Sacred Heart in Saturday’s first game, at 3 p.m. Sunday. The winner of that contest will play Clemson at 7 p.m.. A Clemson win will send the Tigers to the Super Regionals next weekend, while a loss would force a game Monday night at 7 p.m.