By Nikki Steele
CLEMSON-The hot-hitting Clemson Tigers won the first two games of their NCAA Regional by scoring a ton of runs, but needed to win a different kind of game against the Connecticut Huskies Sunday night.
That didn’t happen, as a game that saw both teams battle back and forth ended with a one run Husky win on a walk-off single by UConn’s Ryan Fuller for a 7-6 victory.
The Clemson loss forces a seventh and deciding game Monday night at 7 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the winner advancing to a super regional next weekend.
UConn senior Elliot Glynn started on the mound and held the hot-hitting Tigers scoreless until the third inning when John Hinson hit a 2-out single and scored on a single up the middle by Brad Miller. That began a streak of four consecutive innings where Clemson would score at least one run.
In the fourth inning Jeff Schaus would single up the right field line and score ore a sacrifice fly by catcher Spencer Kieboom. Brad Miller would score on a throwing by the UConn short stop to put Clemson ahead 2-1.
Miller worked a one out walk and advanced to third on a single by Will Lamb. UConn shortstop Nick Ahmed made a throwing error on a ground ball by Richie Shaffer that allowed Miller to score stretching Clemson’s lead to 3-1.
The sixth inning began with a Chris Epps bunt single. With Epps and second after a sac fly, John Hinson came up big as he has all through out the regional when he flared a single into right field to score Epps, giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead.
Justin Sarratt, the starting pitcher for the Tigers allowed one run in the second inning, but quickly shut down the Huskies after they threatened with bases loaded in the bottom of the second. Sarratt had settled in after his second inning troubles and had held the Huskies scoreless until the sixth inning when he gave up a single and a 2-run home run to allow UConn to trim the Tigers lead to one at 4-3.
Sarratt finished with three earned runs, eight hits, five strikeouts and one walk in his 5.2 innings of work, tossing 109 pitches in the outing..
Keven Brady came into pitch for the Tigers with two out in the sixth inning. He struck out three of the first four batters that he faced before yielding the tying run
Alex Frederick came in for Brady in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and induced a grounder from Elliot to get the second out of the inning.
The Huskies took the 6-4 lead on a Tim Martin single to left off of closer Scott Weismann.
The Tigers came back in the top of the ninth and loaded the bases against UConn closer Kevin Vance. Spencer Kieboom stepped to the plate with two outs and lined a single into left field to tie the game a six a piece. John Hinson struck out to end the threat.
Mazzilli led off the bottom of the ninth with a single through the left side and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Clemson then intentionally walked Springer and struck out Nemeth. Fuller singled to left scoring the game-winning run.
(Jack Leggett, Spencer Kieboom, Brad Miller)