Following a pair of losses in Friday’s doubleheader against 11th-ranked Duke, Clemson brought the heat early thanks to a two-run homer from pitcher Valerie Cagle in the first inning to win Game 3 of the series 4-1 Saturday at McWhorter Stadium in Clemson.
With the win, No. 20 Clemson snaps the Blue Devils 20-game winning streak, while improving to 21-4 overall and 13-4 in ACC play. Cagle, who has made appearances in all three games so far this weekend, earns the win in the circle, improving to 13-3 on the season.
“I don’t ever take this game for granted and every win is special at this level,” head coach John Rittman said. “Certainly, when you’re playing a team that’s ranked in the first place that ended your streak last night and you have a chance to end their streak, today was pretty special.”
The Tigers got on the board first in Saturday’s contest thanks to a two-run bomb to center field from Cagle in their first inning of work to give Clemson the 2-0 advantage.
Clemson continued to bring power to the plate in the second, extending their lead to 4-0 with a two-run double from freshman outfielder McKenzie Clark.
While the Blue Devils (26-2, 14-2 ACC) sought an answer in the top of the fifth with an RBI single from Rachel Crabtree, the Tigers continued to have a strong showing both in the circle and at the plate, shutting down the inning with an impressive double-play-ball by shortstop Ansley Gilstrap and first-baseman Grace Mattimore.
Center fielder McKenzie Clark was a force to be reckoned with at the plate for the Tigers on Saturday, racking up three hits, two RBI’s, and two doubles on the day.
“It felt pretty amazing,” Clark said. “My team was firing me up the entire at-bat and their energy and the vibes that they were giving off, I just used that in that at-bat.”
Clemson returns to McWhorter Stadium Sunday for their final game of the four-game series against the Duke Blue Devils. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will be televised by the ACCN.
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