Clemson head coach Monte Lee likes to say his leadership on this year’s baseball team begins with Andrew Cox. His leader stepped up big in the bottom of the 11th on Tuesday night at Doug Kingsmore.
Cox drove in Reed Rohlman with a game-winning hit down the right field line with one out as the fourth-ranked Tigers rallied for a 6-5 victory over Charleston Southern.
Rohlman led off the Tigers’ 11th with a base hit to center field and then Chris Williams singled to center with one out to put runners at the corners. Logan Davidson then walked to load the bases for Cox, who lined the game-winner down the right field line to score Rohlman.
Cox finished the game with three hits and had two RBIs as he drove in the game’s first run in the second inning. The Tigers improved to 7-0 this season in one-run games. That does not include a 5-3 victory in 11 innings over South Carolina in Columbia on March 5.
Clemson had the winning run 90-feet away in the bottom of the 10th inning, but Chase Pinder flied out to right field to end threat. The Buccaneers had the go-ahead run on second base at the top of the 11th inning , but Brooks Crawford got a strikeout and a pop up for the first two outs, and then Jeremy Beasley came on to get the last out, a roller to first base for the putout.
The Tigers (29-5) rallied all the way from four runs down to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by Williams. With Pinder and Rohlman on first and third with one out, Williams hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game up at 5 as Pinder came home.
Charleston Southern used a big four-run fourth inning to surge ahead of the Tigers 5-1. Tyler Jackson looked strong through three innings, even after giving up a solo shot to Nate Blanchard in the third inning, but crumbled in the fourth, loading the bases and giving up four runs.
Outside of an Andrew Cox RBI in the second inning, Clemson’s offense was largely held in check until the sixth inning. Clemson exploded in the sixth inning with a Logan Davidson three-run homer after Rohlman and Williams reached base, cutting the Charleston Southern lead to 5-4.
Jackson gave up five total runs and only lasted 3 1/3 innings until Monte Lee decided to bring in Jacob Hennessy, who finished off the inning (he allowed one run that was credited to Jackson).
Davidson became the third player in Clemson history to hit home runs on both sides of the plate in one year (two right handed and four left handed this season), joining former Tigers Patrick Boyd and Randy Mazey.
Hennessy stifled CSU over 3 2/3 innings, only allowing one hit and striking out two. He got some help from his defense in the top of the seventh inning when Drew Wharton jumped up and snagged what could have been a home run at the wall.
The eighth inning provided some late-game drama when Charleston Southern’s manager Adam Ward was thrown out after an overturned call that lead to Williams being ruled safe at second base.
Clemson then loaded the bases but failed to capitalize with the bases loaded and no outs. Charleston pitcher Ryan Stoudemire struck out the side to end the inning and the Clemson threat.
Patrick Andrews and Ryley Gilliam continued to shut down the Buccaneers to close the last two innings, providing the Tigers with a chance to get back in the game. Gilliam went 2 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts and no walks.
The Tigers will travel to Florida State this coming Saturday in Tallahassee for a three-game series.