Clemson drops 8th straight to Duke
Duke swept Clemson with a 4-2 win at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday to secure its eight straight win and second straight sweep over the Tigers on the diamond.
The Blue Devils knocked off Clemson thanks to a pair of two-run homers including one in the top of the ninth with two outs by Chase Cheek to give them the 4-2 lead which proved the eventual game winner.
In his postgame press conference, head coach Monte Lee was frustrated to come up short in another close game.
“We had a couple of opportunities with runners on base to get a hit,” Lee said after the game. “It’s frustrating to be as close as we have been on so many occasions this year and just come up short.”
The Tigers finished the regular season 24-26 overall and 16-20 in the ACC.
This marks the first time the Tigers have finished the regular season below .500 since Bob Smith’s 1957 team finished the season 6-12 and Clemson Athletic Director Frank Howard brought on Bill Wilhelm to lead the program.
In its last two full seasons the Tigers have finished the regular season at or below .500 in ACC play.
It is the first time Clemson has finished with a losing record in the conference since the last time it missed the NCAA Tournament in 2008, that team finished the year 11-18 in the ACC.
The Tigers started strong with five scoreless innings by Caden Grice who surrendered just one hit and left the game with a 2-0 lead in the fourth.
But the Blue Devils found life on a two-run home run by R.J. Schreck off the left field foul pole to tie the game 2-2 in the of the sixth.
Then in the top of the ninth with two outs Cheek blasted a two run shot over the Cajun Cafe in right field to give Duke the 4-2 lead.
Clemson out hit Duke 8-6 but stranded 10 runners on base. Lee hopes the Tigers perform better in high leverage situations at the upcoming ACC Tournament.
“We have got to be better in the back half of the game, we haven’t been able to finish games out with pitching and defense,” Lee said. “When we get opportunities to score with runners on base we have to be better with runners in scoring position.”
Clemson returns to action in the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, N.C. as the 11 seed at Truist Field.
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