Omaha, NE – Clemson starter Casey Harman went six innings and gave up just three runs on seven hits and Alex Frederick came on in relief and gave up zero runs on just one hit as the 8th seeded Tigers knocked off the number one seeded Sun Devils of Arizona State, 6-3.
Tiger hitters also faired well on the day, racking up their six runs on 14 hits, seven of which were off of the Sun Devil’s ace pitcher Seth Blair, who was previously undefeated at 12-0, but gave up five earned runs to the Tigers today in just four and one-third innings worked.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Clemson, who was the designated visitor for today’s game, got the scoring started in the top of the second inning. John Hinson led off the inning with a strike out swinging, but Richie Shaffer followed him up with a single through the left side. Wilson Boyd came to bat next and worked a one out walk on just six pitches, moving Shaffer into scoring position at second base. Both runners advanced on a balk.
The next batter up, freshman catcher Spencer Kieboom, singled back to the short stop, scoring Shaffer from third on the hit. With the Tigers ahead by one early, Mike Epps reached on a fielders choice but Kieboom was retired at second on the play. Boyd then scored on a throwing error by the Sun Devil short stop before Mike Freeman singled to left field to advance Epps to third. With runners now on first and second and two outs, Kyle Parker grounded back to third base for the final out of the inning, but the Tigers got out of it with a two run lead, 2-0.
Harman did his job to perfection again in the bottom of the second, and again he retired the Sun Devil hitters without giving up a hit. One runner reach base on an error in the inning by Brad Miller, but it didn’t end up costing the Tigers this time.
In the third inning, it looked as though Sun Devil pitcher Blair had settled in a bit, as the Tigers managed just one hit and one baserunner in the inning, but still had the lead heading into the bottom of the inning. In that half, Raoul Torrez hit a one out double to left field, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Torrez later scored when he tagged up on a line out to right field by Austin Barnes. Harman then ended the inning by getting
Drew Maggi to pop a foul out to Shaffer at first. After three full innings played the Tigers lead had been cut in half at 2-1.
After another scoreless inning by both teams, Tiger hitters produced again in the top of the fifth. Jeff Schaus got things started with a walk and Kyle Parker then singled to center field, pushing Jeff to second. John Hinson followed up a fly out by Brad Miller with another single, this one through the right side and into right field, scoring Schaus and moving Parker to third.
Hinson would be Blair’s final batter to face of the day, and the Sun Devils turned to freshman righty Brady Rodgers to try to stop the bleeding. Rodgers first batter to face was Richie Shaffer. Shaffer welcomed him to the game by hitting another single, this one to left field, scoring Parker and moving Hinson over to third in the process. Wilson Boyd then followed that up with, you guessed it, another Tiger single. Boyd’s single was right back up the middle, and it scored Hinson and moved Shaffer to second, but the inning would end when Spencer Kieboom grounded into a double play, but the Tigers had scored three more runs, and now led 5-1 after four and a half innings.
Harman continued his dominance of the Sun Devil batters in the bottom half of that inning. After a lead-off single, the retired the side three straight batters in a row, swinging, fly-out, pop-out to second. After five full innings, the score remained 5-1 Tigers.
In the next inning, the sixth, the Tigers struck again. Epps led the inning off with a single and then advanced to second on a balk. Mike Freeman then grounded out to second, but moved Epps over to third on the play. Jeff Schaus then hit yet another Tiger single, this one to right-center field, scoring Epps. Kyle Parker then struck out looking and Brad Miller grounded out to end the inning, but the Tigers had pushed the lead to five and now led it 6-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tiger starter Harman began to look a little winded. After giving up a lead off single to Barnes, Casey got Maggi to hit into a double play to the second baseman, but he then subsequently walked the next two batters he faced. The following batter, Riccio Torrez singled to left-center field to score the Sun Devil’s second run of the game, and left runners on first and second with two outs for Zach Wilson. Harman then finished the inning strong by striking Wilson out swinging on a beautiful 1-2 slider. After six full innings, the Tigers still led it, 6-2.
After a scoreless top of the seventh for the Tigers, Casey Harman came out to pitch the bottom of that inning. Harman continued to look a little winded, and after giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases, Coach Leggett made the call to the bullpen.
Leggett called upon Junior righty Alex Frederick to try and get out of the mess and close things out for the Tigers, and boy did he deliver. Frederick came into the game with the bases loaded and nobody out for the Sun Devils, and he retired the first batter by getting him to pop up to center field. Freddie then got Maggi to ground out to second, but the runner on third, Ruettiger, scored. The next batter up, Macphee, then struck out swinging in three straight pitches, and Frederick and the Tigers got out of the inning giving up just one run and still held the lead, 6-3.
The Tigers didn’t score again in the game, but they didn’t need to due to the continued top shelf performance by Frederick. In the eighth inning, he issued one walk but retired the other three batters he faced, ground-out, strike out, and foul out. Then in the ninth, Alex would again shut things down. After getting the first hitter to ground out, and the second to fly-out, Freddie gave up a single to Matt Newman, but Newman and the Devils were retired on the next play when Maggi hit into a fielder’s choice. That ended the game and gave Clemson the 6-3 victory.
Casey Harman earned the win for the Tigers, going six innings and giving up just three runs on seven hits, striking out five. Seth Blair suffered the loss for the Sun Devils, his first loss of the season, giving up five runs on seven hits in just four and a third innings pitched.
The win marks Clemson’s 11th win overall against a number one ranked opponent, and was played in front of 14,198 college baseball fans in attendance.
Clemson will now face Oklahoma on Tuesday at 8:00(CST), while Arizona State will face off against South Carolina, also on Tuesday, at 3:30(CST).
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