JoJo Hyatt ripped a bases loaded two-out single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth inning to score Marissa Guimbarda with what turned out to be the game winner Sunday, as No. 20 Clemson beat No. 11 Duke, 4-2, at McWhorter Stadium in Clemson.
“We will find a way to get the timely hit. We have proven that this season,” Clemson head coach John Rittman said to the ACCN after the game. “I think we did that yesterday and today. We cleaned up the defense. Our pitching was phenomenal and we got the timely hits.”
The Tigers’ win came a day after they snapped Duke’s 20-game winning streak. The victory also allowed Clemson to even the four-game series at 2-2. The Blue Devils won the first two games on Friday, snapping Clemson’s 17-game winning streak.
“We got a lot of fight in this program,” Rittman said. “We are a young program. But they just come out and they play the game. They are playing with nothing to lose. It was a tough day on Friday to lose the doubleheader, both close games, and they just came back and fought and won two close games against a very good Duke team.”
With the victory the Tigers improve to 22-4 overall and 14-4 in the ACC, while Duke fell to 26-3 and 14-3 in the ACC.
Millie Thompson earned the win in the circle for the Tigers. She gave up two runs on eight hits in six innings of work. She struck out three and walked just one.
“Millie is just a competitor. She just goes out there and gives it her all and competes her butt off every day,” Rittman said.
Valerie Cagle came in and spelled Thompson in the top of the seventh inning to earn the save.
“Valerie is a phenomenal player. Just think about what she did today,” Rittman said. “She hit. She had an assist in right field. She gunned a runner out at third and then she comes in and saves the game. She is a five-tool player. She is phenomenal.
“We are just blessed to have her in our program. She is learning how to lead and she is maturing.”
Guimbarda led the Tigers at the plate with two hts, two RBIs and a double. Ansley Gilstrap was 2-for-2.
After Duke took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, Guimbarda doubled down the left field line to score Cagle and Clark. The two-out double gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead at the end of three innings.
Duke evened things up in the top of the fifth inning, but again, the Tigers responded with two more runs in the bottom frame.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Hyatt ripped a single up the middle to score Guimbarda, who singled through the right side earlier in the inning. Gilstrap, who got on with a hit by pitch, also scored on the Hyatt single thanks to a throwing error by Duke center fielder, Jameson Kavel.
The Tigers are off until Thursday when they host North Carolina in the first of four games, including a scheduled doubleheader on Friday. First pitch for Thursday’s game at McWhorter Stadium is set for 5 p.m.
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