Virginia took advantage of a difficult day on the mound for the Tigers to take Game 2 of the series 8-4 and force a Sunday rubber match.
The ball jumped out at Doug Kingsmore with a pair of home runs by the Cavaliers and three solo homers by Clemson.
Clemson pitching gave up eight runs on 13 hits with two walks, two hit batters and seven strikeouts.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee boiled it down to Virginia’s quality at bats and offensive performance.
“They put together some good at bats. We had tied the game in the sixth and the leadoff guy hit a home run. Then we made some changes because we didn’t want to burn Clayton,” Lee said. “The bottom line is they were the better team today, we were better by far yesterday and they were a little better today.”
Virginia thrived in high leverage situations hitting .389 with runners on base and .417 with runners in scoring position and .429 with two outs, it also scored four runs with two outs. Chris Newell led the way for the Wahoos he went 2-for-4 with a two-run triple and three-run homer.
Virginia got rolling in the top of the second inning with three runs off five hits to take an early 3-0 lead. Alex Tappen and Max Cotier opened the frame with back-to-back singles to put two on with no outs before Keyshawn Askew rebounded with a pair of strikeouts.
But, Chris Newell put the Cavaliers on the board with a two run triple with two outs to take a 2-0 advantage and Zack Gelof added a one-run single to put them up 3-0.
Clemson got one run back in the bottom of the second on a 404-foot solo home run to center field by Caden Grice that cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Tigers added another run in the bottom of the third on a one-run single by James Parker with two outs that ate up the shortstop and scored Elijah Henderson from third to cut Virginia’s lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, Kier Meredith evened the score with a solo home run to left center field that tied the game 3-3.
The Cavaliers reclaimed their lead in the top of the sixth with a pair of two out hits with a double by Teel and a one-run single by Hamrock to move in front 4-3.
Adam Hackenberg evened the score with another solo home run to left center field that tied the game 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth.
Gelof put the Wahoos in front again 5-4 in the top of the seventh with a solo home run just over the glove of Bryce Teodosio in left center.
The Cavaliers tacked on insurance with a three-run homer to center by Newell to extend their lead to 8-4 in the top of the eighth and they didn’t look back.
Nick Clayton took his first loss of the season in 1.2 innings as he allowed four hits and two runs without a walk or strikeout.
Kier Meredith finished the game 2-for-4 with a solo home run and is looking forward to the rubber match on Sunday.
“We are excited and it’s going to be a challenge tomorrow it’s a big game and we’ve won three ACC series in a row and we want to win our fourth tomorrow,” Meredith said.
Clemson aims to salvage the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the game will be televised on ESPN 2.