Clemson’s Jordan Greene had a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift No. 6 Clemson to a come-from-behind, 5-4, victory over 14th-ranked Florida State Monday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
“Jordan is a kid that is in the third year in our program. He has played a lot of baseball for us and he came up with the biggest at-bat of the year. That is the biggest at-bat of the year for us up to this point,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said.
Greene hit the home run on a first-pitch offering from Conor Grady to deep left field, winning not only the game for Clemson, but the three-game series against the Seminoles as well.
After making contact with Grady’s pitch, the second baseman stopped and watched his work as the baseball carried over the field field wall.
“He probably stood and looked at it a little too long,” Lee said smiling afterwards. “We all want to admire our work. I’m a little bit old school, but I want our guys to have fun, be loose and enjoy the moment. But that might have been a little too much so I do apologize to the baseball purist who were watching on ESPN.”
With the win, Clemson (36-12, 19-8 ACC) clinched a top 4 seed in the ACC Tournament later this month. It also keeps the Tigers in the discussion for a national seed in the NCAA Tournament.
It was not all Greene, though.
Greene’s home run was set up by Sam Hall’s clutch catch in the top of the eighth inning, when he robbed Drew Mendoza of what looked like a double that would have scored FSU catcher Cal Raleigh, who was turning second to come home for the go ahead run.
Hall ran up the small incline in left center and made the catch while hitting the wall at full speed.
“Sam Hall made the play of the day,” Lee said. “The ball was drilled to left centerfield and this was a kid that had not played very much in the outfield all year, period. For him to make that type of play just shows why he is in the lineup every day and what kind of athlete he is. That was a special play.”
Greene entered the game for Robert Jolly in the seventh inning, which moved Hall from second base to left field. Lee’s move to put Greene in the game and move Hall to left field proved to pay off for the Tigers in the end.
“We just felt like it was the right move when they brought (Clayton) Kwiatkowski in, the lefty,” Lee said. “We felt like when we got back to that spot that we needed to bring Jordan in. We are a little bit banged up right now. We had Kier (Meredith) out and (Bryce Teodosio) out so, we did not have a lot of moves to make, but that was a move that we were ready to make in case they brought the lefty in and bring Greene into that spot.
“We feel good about Jordan playing second base. He has played a lot of second base for us and you know that Sam Hall is athletic as he is can play anywhere on the field, even though he has limited experience in left. We felt good about the defensive situation that we put ourselves in there by putting Greene in the game. We felt good about the offensive move there as well.”
Clemson’s Seth Beer tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when he sent Florida State pitcher’s Clayton Kwiatkowski’s 0-2 offering to left field for a two-run home run to tie the game.
Catcher Kyle Wilkie kept the inning alive with a two-out single up the middle and then Beer stepped up and delivered his two-run shot to the opposite side to get the 4,655 fans at Doug Kingsmore back on their feet.
The game was tied at 4 after seven innings.
Clemson grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third inning when Logan Davidson launched a bomb to left centerfield for a two-run home run.
Jolly led off the inning with a base hit up the middle and then on the first pitched offered by FSU starter Cole Stands, Davidson sent it over the wall in left center.
The home run gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead at the time.
The Seminoles (32-16, 14-12 ACC) got on the board in the top of the fourth inning when Rhett Aplin doubled down the left field line to score Jackson Lueck.
In the top of the fifth inning, FSU took the lead thanks to three Clemson errors and a Steven Wells’ double to score two runs. The ‘Noles picked up the third run of the inning thanks to a Clemson error to make the score 4-2 after five innings.
Ryan Miller, who came in and relieved starter Jake Higginbotham with two outs in the fifth, kept the Tigers in the game by getting Nick Derr to strike out swinging with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh and then Reese Albert to strike out looking to end the threat.
The score stayed that way until the seventh inning.
Clemson will host Western Carolina at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.