By Trey McCurry.
Sixteen-ranked Clemson used two big innings and 18 hits to defeat Duke 16-7 Saturday night in front of 4,315 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers, which won the series, improved to 9-7 (2-3 ACC) while the Blue Devils fell to 15-6 (2-3 ACC).
Freshman reliever Kevin Pohle (2-1) earned the win pitching 3.0 innings of four hit, one-run ball. Matt Campbell and Dominic Leone each pitched a scoreless innings to end the game as four Tiger pitchers combined for only one walk against 11 strikeouts. Duke reliever Eric Pfisterer (1-1) suffered the loss as he allowed six runs (four earned) on three hits and four walks in 1.0 innings.
Duke jumped out to a quick lead in the top of the first as they used a hit-by-pitch, walk, and two hits to take a 3-0 lead before the Tigers even had a chance to bat. However, like last night, Clemson responded right away.
With one out, Will Lamb doubled to right field to get the Tigers going. Jeff Schaus followed with a double to right-center to score Lamb. After a Phil Pohl walk, Richie Shaffer singled to score Schaus and move Pohl around to third. Pohl scored on a wild pitch, then Jon McGibbon grounded a double down the first-base line to score Shaffer. After McGibbon was picked off, Chris Epps followed with his third homer of the season to cap the inning for the Tigers. Clemson scored five runs on five hits, including three doubles and a homer to lead 5-3 after one inning.
After the Blue Devils tied the game in the third and took a one-run lead in the fourth, Jason Stolz led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single up the middle before the game was halted for a 43-minute weather delay.
After the delay, the Tigers came out with a huge inning as they batted around for the second time in the game. When play resumed, Steve Wilkerson walked on four pitches as Stolz moved up to second. John Hinson followed with a double to right to score Stolz and move Wilkerson to third. Lamb then reached on a dropped fly ball to left allowing Wilkerson to score on the sac fly and Hinson to score on the error. Schaus followed with a single to plate Lamb and Pohl doubled down the left-field line to put runners at second and third. After a Shafer walk, McGibbon walked to score Schaus followed by a wild pitch that allowed Pohl to score. Two batters later, Stolz capped off the scoring with a sac fly to center to score Shaffer and put Clemson up 12-6 after four innings.
After Duke got a run in the top of the fifth, Clemson answered with another run in the sixth.
Epps led off with a single and moved around to third on a Stolz single. Two batters later, pinch hitter Joe Costigan was hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Lamb followed with a sac fly to left field to score Epps and stretch the Tiger lead back to six at 13-7.
Clemson capped off the game with a three-run eighth inning. After a Stolz lead-off single and Wilkerson walk, Dominic Attanasio lined a double down the right-field line to score both runners and came around to score on two groundouts and put the final score at 16-7.
Four different Tigers had three hits each while seven scored two runs in Clemson’s 18-hit attack. Schaus, Shaffer, Epps, and Stolz all had three hits. Lamb had two sac flies, Pohl had two hits, and Wilkerson walked four times. Clemson batters combined also combined for nine walks and two hit-by-pitches against only four strikeouts. Duke had 11 hits, led by Will Piwnica-Worms going 4-for-4.
Clemson will go for the sweep in the series finale on Sunday at 1:00PM at Doug KIngsmore Stadium.