Tigers collapse in 8th inning, FSU rallies to take series

Tigers collapse in 8th inning, FSU rallies to take series

Baseball

Tigers collapse in 8th inning, FSU rallies to take series

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Clemson came into the eighth inning on Sunday nursing a one-run lead on No. 10 Florida State in the rubber match of their three-game series.

But, like they did in Game 1, the Seminoles scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to down the Tigers 9-6 at Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.

With the loss the Tigers fell into a tie for 10th in the ACC standings.

The Tigers (24-23, 16-17 ACC) are tied with Virginia for 10th place, who won the series at Clemson last month. Clemson will likely need to win its series over Duke next week to be in position to make the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers jumped all over Florida State ace Parker Messick to start the game. They opened with four run in the first inning on five hits.

After Kier Meredith and James Parker got one-out singles, Caden Grice delivered a double to left center to bring both runners home for an early 2-0 lead.

Grice did not stay at second long, as Bryar Hawkins singled up the middle to score the freshman for a 3-0 advantage. Blake Wright made it 4-0 with two outs when he hit the ball safely to right field to bring Hawkins home.

Unfortunately, for Clemson, starter Nick Clayton could not hold the lead. After getting out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first, the righty gave up three runs in the second and then two more in the third as the Seminoles rallied to take a 5-4 lead.

Jackson Greene had a two-run double in the second inning, while Tyler Martin drove in a run as well with a base knock through the right side.

Martin drew an RBI walk with two outs and the bases load in the third and Logan Lacey followed with one as well, allowing the ‘Noles to go in front, 5-4.

Nick Hoffman came in relief of Clayton after the Seminoles loaded the bases with two outs in the third. Though he walked in the two runs, both runs were charged to Clayton.

Hoffman settled down after that and kept FSU at bay, which allowed the Tigers to stay in the game and eventually regain the lead when Wright homered to left center field with his two-run shot in the sixth inning. That gave the Tigers a 6-5 lead at the time.

But the Seminoles (28-19, 19-14 ACC) finally got to Hoffman in the bottom of the eighth. Martin doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning and then Lacey singled to left to put runners on first and third with no outs.

The Tigers brought in Geoffrey Gilbert to try and save the game but a safety squeeze with one out by Robby Martin allowed Tyler Martin to score the tying run and then pinch hitter Davis Hare singled through the left side to bring home the go-ahead and eventual game winning runs, scoring Lacey and Robby Martin.

Despite pitching so well for much of the day, Hoffman was charged the loss for Clemson.

After giving up four runs in the first inning on five hits, Messick retired 15 of the next 16 batters he faced and one point retired 13 straight Tigers. However, in the top of the sixth inning, he walked Jonathan French on a full count and then gave up the two-run blast to Wright on a 2-1 pitch.

Clemson will return home next Thursday when it takes on Duke in the first game of a crucial three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium to close out the regular season.

Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletics Communications

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