Feb. 26, 2012
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Clemson, SC –
The #16 Clemson Tigers rallied from a 6-0 deficit to defeat Maine 9-6 in front of 3,989 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers, who won the series 2-1, improved to 4-2 on the season. Maine fell to 1-2 in 2012. It was Clemson’s ninth regular-season series win in a row dating back to 2011, its longest streak since it won 10 regular-season series in a row from 2006 to 2007.
Maine took advantage of several Clemson errors to build a 6-0 lead during the fourth inning. But the Tigers scored two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, then they erupted for five runs in the sixth inning, all with two outs. Steve Wilkerson’s two-run double tied the score, then Phil Pohl gave Clemson the lead for good with another two-run double. Clemson was 7-for-15 with two outs and had seven two-out RBIs in the contest.
Clemson’s six-run deficit overcome to gain victory was its largest comeback win since the second game of a doubleheader at Wake Forest on March 9, 2008. That day, the Tigers rallied from an 11-4 deficit to edge the Demon Deacons 12-11 thanks in large part to Kyle Parker’s three home runs. It was the second day in a row Clemson overcame a deficit to gain victory, as the Tigers trailed 4-0 on Saturday before topping Maine 9-5.
Kevin Pohle (2-0), the second of four Tiger pitchers, earned the win by tossing 3.0 solid innings. He allowed four hits, three runs (all unearned), and no walks with four strikeouts. Scott Firth pitched 2.0 scoreless innings with four strikeouts, then freshman Daniel Gossett pitched a hitless and scoreless ninth inning to record his first career save. Five of the six runs allowed by Tiger pitchers were unearned due to Clemson’s five errors.
Mike Connolly (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, as he yielded five hits and five runs in 0.2 innings pitched.
The Black Bears used several two-strike hits to take the game’s first lead in the second inning. Alex Calbick led off with a single to left field on a 1-2 pitch and advanced to second on Justin Leisenheimer’s groundout to first. Fran Whitten grounded a single through the right side on a 1-2 pitch to move Calbick to third, then Calbick scored on a wild pitch.
In the third inning, two costly Tiger errors led to two Maine runs. Leadoff batter Scott Heath reached on an error. Two batters later, Ian Leisenheimer reached on another error by the Tiger infield. Calbick followed with a double down the right-field line to score Heath. Two batters later, Whitten grounded a two-out single through the left side to score Leisenheimer, but left-fielder Dominic Attanasio threw out Calbick at the plate for the inning-ending out.
Another costly Clemson miscue allowed the Black Bears to double their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Colin Gay reached on an infield single with two outs and Heath singled through the right side. Michael Fransoso hit a flyball to right-center, but centerfielder Thomas Brittle dropped the ball, allowing Gay and Heath to score. Ian Leisenheimer followed with a double to left field to plate Fransoso, giving Maine a 6-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Wilkerson led off with a bunt single and Pohl lofted a single to left-center on an 0-2 pitch. Two batters later, Spencer Kieboom ripped a double over the third-base bag to score Wilkerson. Brad Felder then hit a sacrifice fly to shallow center to score Pohl in a close play at the plate. Jon McGibbon and Jason Stolz drew two-out walks to load the bases, but Attanasio grounded out to second to end the frame.
Richie Shaffer cut Maine’s lead to 6-4 in the fifth inning when he lined a two-out, two-run homer to left field, his second long ball of the year. Wilkerson, who hit a one-out single to left-center earlier in the frame, also scored on the home run.
In the sixth inning, three two-out hits led five Tiger runs to give Clemson the lead. McGibbon drew a one-out walk and Stolz lined a single to left field. Attanasio’s infield single to second loaded the bases, then Brittle fouled out for out #2. But Wilkerson came through with a double to left-center to score McGibbon and Stolz to tie the score. Pohl then belted a double to left-center to score Attanasio and Wilkerson. Shaffer added another run when he singled over the third-base bag to score Pohl. Shaffer would have had a stand-up double, but he pulled up while rounding first base and left the game with a mild hip flexor strain.
In the ninth inning, Whitten reached on a two-out walk and Brian Doran was hit-by-pitch to bring the potential tying run to the plate. But Troy Black grounded out to short to end the game.
Wilkerson paced Clemson’s 14-hit attack by going 4-for-5 with a double, two RBIs, and three runs. Wilkerson became the first active Tiger to tally four hits in a game during his career. Pohl went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs, and two runs, while Shaffer went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. Shaffer’s status will be re-evaluated during the upcoming week.
Gay went 3-for-5 with a run to lead Maine, who had 10 hits in the contest.
Clemson will travel to Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in Charleston, SC to take on South Carolina on Friday at 6:00 PM.
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