Oregon is known for its small ball tactics and they were on full display in Friday’s 18-1 victory over Clemson in game one of the Vanderbilt regional. But the Ducks also mixed in a little long ball as well in beating the Tigers every which way possible.
Clemson falls into the losers bracket and will play the loser of tonight’s Vanderbilt-Xavier game at 2:00 PM Eastern. The Tigers have lost four of their last five NCAA Tournament games. Friday’s margin of defeat, 17 runs, matches the mark for the second worst defeat for Clemson in a NCAA Tournament game.
Clemson scored a run in the top of the first on a RBI single by Steve Wilkerson but that lead was wiped out by a three run Oregon second in which the Ducks batted around. Oregon then put the game out of reach in the fourth sending 11 men to the plate. Shaun Chase crushed a three run homer to center and Tyler Baumgartner followed with a solo shot to left and the Ducks built an 8-1 lead.
Oregon scored three more runs in the fifth and tagged on seven more in the 6th to turn the game from a rout to an embarrassment for the Tigers. The Ducks did whatever the pleased on offense. The dropped down bunts Clemson couldn’t field. They hit ropes into the gaps. They stole bases, and they took the extra base at every opportunity.
Clemson looked like a team with no answer for what Oregon could do. The Ducks finished with 20 hits, nine for extra bases. They were hit by a pitch five times, put down three sacrifice bunts, two of which scored runs, had a sacrifice fly, stole five bases and took the extra base at every opportunity. And Clemson committed two errors.
The Tigers managed only five hits, one each for the top five batters in the lineup. Crownover, one of five Tiger pitchers on the day, took the loss to fall to 8-6 on the year.
The Tigers will turn to their ace Daniel Gossett Saturday in hopes of keeping their season alive.
(Jack Leggett, Matthew Crownover, Steve Wilkerson)