Clemson bested Boston College 4-3 in nine innings on Saturday after an errant throw by the shortstop landed in the Eagle’s dugout to score Carlee Shannon.
The 17th ranked Tigers came from behind and scored three unanswered runs to win their 11th straight game and improve to 31-4 overall and 21-4 in the ACC.
Clemson struggled to string together hits early against Boston College’s starter Peyton Schackenberg. She pitched five innings and allowed five hits and three runs with three strikeouts and one walk.
Head coach John Rittman told The Clemson Insider he celebrates a win even when it doesn’t come as easy.
“We got contributions from just about everybody on this team at one point or another and that’s why we are able to win some of these close games,” Rittman said. “We celebrate wins and you are going to have some close battles Boston College has a lot of pride and we found a way to win a close game when we didn’t play our best.”
Valerie Cagle (19-3) earned the win in relief with 4.2 scoreless innings as she held the Eagles to two hits, walked nobody and struck out seven. Reagan Spencer started for the Tigers and pitched 4.2 innings giving up five hits and three runs.
“I thought Reagan pitched well but we got Valerie to pitch in relief and that’s always good to have her come in and finish a close game,” Rittman said.
Boston College struck first with a run in the top of the fourth to take an early 1-0 lead on a one-run single by Elisabeth Laviolette that scored A.J. Alatorre.
Clemson responded in the next frame with a run on a fielding error by the left fielder. Mackenzie Clark hit a line drive to left that went off of Laviolette’s glove and allowed Cammy Pereira to score from second to tie the game 1-1 after three innings.
In the top of the fourth, the Eagles moved back in front on a two-out one run infield single by Maddy Carpe that scored Nicole Giery to give BC a 2-1 advantage.
Boston College added to its lead with a solo home run to right field by Ellie Mataya to add some insurance and extend its lead to 3-1 in the top of the fifth.
Cagle entered the game after the home run and shut down the Eagles for the remainder of the contest.
Clemson surged back in the bottom of the sixth when it loaded the bases with no outs thanks to back-to-back singles by Ansley Gilstrap and Cagle and a drawn walk by Marissa Guimbarda.
Abi Stuart popped up on a controversial infield fly that was dropped in shallow right for the first out but scored Gilstrap on the fielding error to move the Tigers within a run. Grace Mattimore tied the game on a squeeze play that scored Cagle from third and tied the game at 3-3 after six.
Neither team notched a run in the seventh so the teams went into extra innings. Both starters from Friday’s game Cagle and BC’s Susannah Anderson kept it quiet in the eight as well.
But Clemson found its stride in the ninth inning with two runners on and no outs after an infield single by Kyah Keller and an error by the first basemen put Pereira at first. Mackenzie Clark followed with a hard hit ball to the shortstop who threw the ball into the dugout and sent pinch runner Carlee Shannon home to give the Tigers a 4-3 win.
The win marked the 800th of head coach John Rittman’s career but he’s focused on winning No. 801 tomorrow.
“It’s a milestone victory but listen I’m going to wake up tomorrow and go at it for 801 but listen this game will humble you very quick and I’m grateful to be the head coach at Clemson,” Rittman said.
The Tigers aim for the sweep on Sunday at noon at McWhorter Stadium in Clemson.