Tigers win weekend series, 2-1
James Parker lifted Clemson over No. 13 Virginia Tech, 4-2, Sunday with a two-out-three-run bomb to right center field in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving the Tigers’ their first ACC series victory of the season.
The Tigers finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth with two outs when Kier Meredith drew a walk and Dylan Brewer was hit by a pitch to put two on for James Parker. Parker made the Hokies pay with a three-run homer to right center to give Clemson the 4-2 lead.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee could not have hoped for a better situation than Parker stepping up to the plate in a high leverage situation.
“We had the big leverage at bat, a couple of free nineties with Kier and a Brewer. Jimmy Parker is in the three hole for a reason because he is the man and he is the man we want up at the plate in high leverage situations,” Lee said after the game. “He got down in the count 0-2 and thank God the wind was blowing out to right field.”
Closer Geoffrey Gilbert (1-1) earned the win with two innings in relief as he allowed just three hits and one run with three strikeouts and no walks.
Hokies’ starter Shane Connolly looked outstanding in seven innings as he allowed three hits, one run, struck out 11 and walked nobody while throwing 107 pitches.
The Tigers got excellent outings from starter Keyshawn Askew, reliever Nick Clayton and closer Geoffrey Gilbert to keep the team in position for a come-from-behind win in the late innings. They combined for 13 strikeouts and one walk on the day.
Askew gave the Tigers four innings and allowed just three hits and one run with a walk and seven strikeouts. The sophomore knew the importance of Sunday’s game both personally in the wake of an injury and as a team moving forward.
“We’ve been on a tough streak but going in it was important because I wanted to get the series win and get us back on the right track,” Askew said. “I know we are a high energy team and this was a huge win for us I feel like we are about to turn the page. And for myself, getting back comfortable dealing with the injury and being back on the mound, it was a great great day.”
Virginia Tech drew first blood in the top of the fourth on a Tiger error. Tanner Schobel broke from third base and Johnathan French had him dead to rights but the throw sailed into left field to give the Hokies a 1-0 lead on an error.
Clemson (8-9, 3-6 ACC) battled back to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth on a one run single by Elijah Henderson that scored Bryce Teodosio from first base to even the score at 1-1.
Clemson brought on Geoffrey Gilbert to close it out in the top of the eighth and Virginia Tech took full advantage of the first mistake of the afternoon by Tiger pitching.
The Hokies (10-8, 6-6 ACC) jumped back in front in the top of the eighth on a solo home run to right center off the bat of Dayne Leonard to give his team a 2-1 advantage.
But, Parker delivered the three-run blast with two outs to give the Tigers their first conference series win of the year.
Clemson returns to action on Tuesday as it faces Georgia Southern in North Augusta, S.C. at 6:30 p.m.
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