Steven Wells’ solo home run to left field in the top of the 13th inning allowed the 15th-ranked Seminoles to down sixth-ranked Clemson, 3-2, Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
The home run came off Clemson closer Ryley Gilliam, who had Wells in a 1-2 count before the right fielder blasted a shot to left for the game-winning run. The 13 innings marked the longest game Clemson has played all year.
With the win, FSU head coach Mike Martin became the NCAA’s all-time winningest coach as he recorded his 1,976th win, passing former legendary Texas coach Augie Garrido, who passed away last month.
“Overall, it was a great baseball game,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “I would like to congratulate Mike Martin, first-and-foremost. He is one of the best of all-time. Now the all-time wins leader, what an incredible accomplishment.”
Gilliam, despite suffering the loss, pitched admirably for the Tigers, who saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end. The righty pitched a season-high four innings, which was his longest outing since February 24, 2017, when he went 4 1/3 innings against Elon.
The junior, who allowed one run on three hits and had seven strikeouts, had not pitched more than 2 2/3 innings all year.
“Ryley, maybe one of the best reliefs efforts of Ryley’s career,” Lee said. “Just to gut out four innings in relief. He had runners on base and did a heck of a job coming up with big pitches in big-time spots.”
Florida State’s C.J. Van Eyk was equally impressive out of the bullpen. The reliever, who started a game last week and went seven innings, went 6 1/3 innings to earn the win. He allowed just four hits and one run in relief.
Clemson had an opportunity to tie the game or win it in the 13th inning when Logan Davidson drew a lead-off walk. Seth Beer then hit into a fielder’s choice at second, but FSU’s Nick Derr threw the ball away at first.
It looked like Davidson had a shot to move to third, but he missed the bag at second and had to go back, which caused him to be tagged out at third. Instead of having runners at second and third with no outs, Beer was alone at second with one out.
Chris Williams popped up to second for the second out and Kyle Wilkie flew out to right to end the game.
“Logan was actually sliding into second base,” Lee said. “When he stood up and the ball got past first and he did not touch the base, he went back and touched the base and tried to go to third base. It was a bang-bang play, but once he hesitated … he took responsibility for it, but on the other side he was trying to be aggressive so you can’t fault him for being aggressive.”
The Seminoles (32-14, 14-10 ACC) took a 1-0 in the top of the sixth inning when Rhett Aplin doubled to right field and Cal Raleigh brought him home with a single to right field.
Jacob Hennessy ended his day after 5 1/3 innings. He gave up one run off seven hits. He struck out three and walked none.
FSU increased its lead to 2-0 in the top of the seventh inning as Reese Albert, who homered to right centerfield on a 0-1 pitch from Ryan Miller.
Clemson (34-12, 17-8) finally got on the scoreboard in the seventh inning when flew out to centerfield with one out to score Williams from third. Williams was the first of three straight walks given up by FSU starter Drew Parrish, who had eighth strikeouts and no walks through the first 6 1/3 innings.
The Tigers again loaded the bases with two outs when reliever Jonah Scolaro walked Grayson Byrd. However, after another pitching change as well as a new batter, Eyk struck out Robert Jolly to end the threat.
Clemson tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning when Jordan Greene led off the inning with a double off the wall in right field and then scored when Logan Davidson got a two-strike hit to center to bring Greene home, making the score 2-2.
The Tigers had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth inning when Byrd got a two-out that put Cromwell at second with the winning run. However, Jolly flew out to left field to end the threat, sending the game into extra innings.
The Seminoles loaded the bases in the top of the 10th inning, but with two outs, Gilliam got Rafael Bournigal to line out to short to end the FSU threat.
Clemson again had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the 12th, after Drew Wharton led off the inning with base hit to left field. Byrd then bunted him over to put him in scoring position, but Van Eyk struck Jolly out and got Greene to ground out to the mound to end the inning.
Clemson and Florida State will play Game 2 Sunday at 4 p.m.