For the first time since 1997, Clemson swept the third-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels on the baseball diamond.
Logan Davidson took Austin Love’s 2-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a two-run shot to right field, completing the sweep for the 20th-ranked Tigers on Sunday with a 5-4 victory.
“I was just trying to get a hit and tie the game up,” Davidson said. “I was just trying to stay in the middle and hit it. There were a lot off-speed pitches and a lot of junk.
“I got some changeups. I swung at it in the dirt and a laid off another changeup in the dirt. I just choked up on the bat. I was trying to shoot the ball the other way and he threw me a changeup kind of in and I got the barrel to it and the rest is history.”
Davidson’s home run scored Sam Hall, who doubled with two outs to keep the Tigers hopes alive so Davidson could step up and win the game.
“We are battling and being tough,” Hall said. “That says a lot about our program and about what we do here. We just battle and compete.”
Davidson’s walk-off home run was the Tigers’ first hit with runners in scoring position all afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson was 0-for-8 in that situation prior to his home run.
“It does not get any better than that. That was a lot of fun,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “You have to give North Carolina credit. They played a really good ballgame today. I think their starter Austin Bergner was lights out and their reliever love was extremely tough on us. We had some opportunities and they capitalized better than we did when they had opportunities. We had runners at second and third with no outs in the eighth and we got just one run. That is testament to Love being as good as he is on the mound.
“But Sam Hall has really been our most consistent player in the early going for us and he gives us a chance. We are down by one run with two outs and he finds a way to get on base. Logan gets to two strikes and he does what big-time players do in big-time situations. He got a pitch to hit and he got just enough of the plate and he turned on it and he hit it out of the ballpark. The rest as they say is history.”
The Tigers (12-3, 3-0) won both games of a doublehearder on Saturday, including a walk-off balk in Game 1. They won Game 2 17-3.
It appeared North Carolina was going to avoid being swept by Clemson for the first time with Caleb Robert’s RBI single in the top of the eighth inning, which gave the Tar Heels a 3-2 lead. Roberts’ hit scored pinch runner Dallas Tessar.
Carolina (12-4, 0-3 ACC) added a second run with two outs in the eighth inning to make the score 4-2, on a Danny Serretti double down the left field line to score Roberts.
Clemson had an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom half of the eighth when Grayson Byrd and Kyle Wilkie got back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. However, the Tigers were only able to bring Byrd home due to two wild pitches from Love.
Love’s blown save wasted a solid outing by starter Austin Berger. The righty allowed nine hits and two runs in seven innings of work. He had six strikeouts.
Clemson took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With the Tigers trailing North Carolina, centerfielder Bryce Teodosio hit a home run to left field with one out. The solo shot was his fifth of the season, which ties Davidson for the team lead.
Clemson grabbed the lead three batters later when Davidson roped Bergner’s 0-1 offering with two outs to left centerfield, scoring Hall all the way from third base. Hall reached with a two-out walk and then Davidson doubled for the fifth time this season.
The Tar Heels tied the game in the top of the sixth inning when Aaron Sabato got a hold of Keyshawn Askew’s 3-2 pitch and sent over the wall in left field. The solo homer tied the game at 2-2.
Askew’s day ended after Sabato’s home run. The true freshman went 5 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs on off five hits, while striking out three and walking one.
Carson Spiers came on in the eighth inning for Holt Jones, who replaced Askew, to earn the win.
UNC scored first in the game when Brandon Martorano singled through the left side with two outs, scoring Roberts from second base, to give North Carolina 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning.
The last time Clemson swept the Tar Heels was 22 years ago on this same field and it won by the same score on a Eric DeMore walk-off home run.
Clemson will host Coastal Carolina Wednesday at 6 p.m.