Bullpen, eighth inning home runs lift Clemson over Demon Deacons

Bullpen, eighth inning home runs lift Clemson over Demon Deacons

Baseball

Bullpen, eighth inning home runs lift Clemson over Demon Deacons

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. —  With the game tied in the top of the eighth inning Friday night, Clemson’s Logan Davidson and Chris Williams both hit solo home runs to lead the 13th-ranked Tigers to a 7-5 victory over Wake Forest at David Couch Ballpark in Winston-Salem, N.C.

With the game tied at 5 in the eighth, Davidson took a pitch over the left field wall for his sixth home run of the season. One batter, Williams followed suit with a 400-foot bomb to left field to make the score 7-5. It was Williams’ 10th home run of the year.

“Just two huge home runs for us there by Logan and Chris Williams,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said to The Clemson Insider afterward. “Chris hit the ball on the screws a couple of times earlier in the ballgame but had nothing to show for it. He certainly got a hold of that one and it was a big one for us.”

Jacob Hennessy got the start for the Tigers (27-11, 12-7 ACC), but the sophomore had an early exit. The lefty went just two innings as he gave up five runs (four earned) off five hits.

Spencer Strider settled things down going 3 1/3 innings, while allowing just one hit. The freshman also fanned five batters. Ryan Miller finished it off for the Tigers by going 3 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit as well with four strikeouts.

Clemson allowed no runs and  just two hits over the last seven innings Friday. The bullpen retired the last 14 batters at Georgia this past Wednesday, while pitching six straight scoreless innings.

“We have to give Spencer Strider a lot of credit,” Lee said. “It is very difficult to come into the ballgame in the third inning, but he threw up zeroes for us. Also Ryan Miller was outstanding for us.”

Clemson jumped out to a lead in the top of the first.  After Kier Meredith was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. Logan Davidson hit a shot down the line and reached third with what looked like a triple, scoring Meredith.

After the umpires met they ruled it was a ground-rule double and made the runners return to second and third. However, Seth Beer singled to right to score both runners for a 2-0 lead.

The Demon Deacons (18-21, 10-9 ACC) responded with a run in the first on a sacrifice fly. Wake Forest plated four in the second and took advantage of a Clemson error to take control early. 5-2.

However, the Tigers bounced back in the third. With one out Drew Wharton singled down the right field line and Grayson Byrd  followed with a base hit up the middle to score Wharton.

Kyle Wilkie later singled to score Byrd and the Deacs lead was cut to one run, 5-4.

Williams almost gave the Tigers the lead again in the fourth inning, but his bomb to center field was robbed by Wake’s D.J. Poteet. After Beer hit a two out single in the fourth Williams hit one over the wall to right center but the leaping center fielder came down with the ball.

Clemson tied the game in the top of the fifth, but could have had more. Patrick Cromwell walked to get things started and then Byrd was hit by a pitch with one out.

Wilkie singled to load the bases, and with two outs Kier Meredith was hit by a pitch to score Cromwell with the tying run.

Miller worked out of trouble in the sixth inning after coming in for Strider in with runners on second and third with one out. But he retired the side to end the Demon Deacons last threat.

The Tigers jumped out front in the eighth. With one out Davidson hit a 396-foot home run down the left field line and Williams later followed with his 400-foot shot to left center.

Clemson and the Demon Deacons play Game 2 of the series Saturday at 4 p.m.

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