Clemson dropped game two 11-3 to No. 13 Virginia Tech on Saturday to force a Sunday rubber match.
The Hokies (10-7, 6-5 ACC) shut down the Tigers at the plate, utilized the long ball and took advantage of a difficult day defensively with three errors, eight walks, a hit batter and four wild pitches by Clemson.
Virginia Tech out-hit Clemson 15-7 on the afternoon and struck out 10 Tigers while allowing three walks and one hit batter.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee felt things snowballed quickly but knows the importance of the rubber match on Sunday.
“I think it snowballed a little bit, the players put too much pressure on themselves after things like that happened and got frustrated. The bottom line is we just didn’t play well in any phase and didn’t coach well either,” Lee told The Clemson Insider after the game. “But the great thing is we have a chance to show up tomorrow put it behind us, learn from it and get to go out tomorrow.”
The Hokies got rolling in the top of the second with a solo home run by Cade Swisher with one out to take a 1-0 lead. Jack Hurley followed with a double to left center and Kevin Madden continued the rally with a single to center that put runners on the corners with one out.
Leonard added another run with a safety squeeze that scored Hurley and gave Virginia Tech a 2-0 advantage.
Fritz Genther added another run for Virginia Tech in the top of the fourth with a solo home run to right center that put it up 3-0.
Clemson (7-9, 2-6 ACC) rallied with two outs in the bottom of the fourth as Johnathan French hit a one-run single to left that scored Caden Grice and cut the deficit to 3-1.
In the top of the sixth the Hokies scored on an error by Bryar Hawkins on a ground ball by Tanner Schobel that scored Carson Jones to add some insurance and put the Hokies up 4-1.
The Hokies continued to pour it on with four runs on four hits and an error in the seventh to extend their lead to 8-1 as Clemson’s difficulties in the infield continued.
Tech added two more in the top of the eighth on a two-run single by Genther to move in front 10-1.
James Parker added a bright spot for the Tigers in the bottom of the eight with a solo home run to right center to cut the deficit to 10-2.
Parker was disappointed with his team’s performance on Saturday but is looking forward to putting it behind him on Sunday.
“There is some stuff we definitely could have done better, there is some stuff that definitely didn’t go our way and it wasn’t a good day for us,” Parker said. “But the biggest thing for us is that we have a big game tomorrow and we can learn from our mistakes and keep our heads up with a clear mindset tomorrow.
Tanner Thomas answered with a solo shot to right field over the Cajun Cafe for the Hokies to get the run back and take an 11-2 lead.
Clemson added another on a one-run single by Cooper Ingle in the ninth that scored Max Wagner to make it 11-3.
Clemson returns to action in the rubber match on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in hopes of salvaging its first conference series win.