June 7, 2002
CLEMSON, SC – Arkansas jumped out to a 7-0 lead and held off a furious Clemson rally to take a 9-6 victory Friday night before 5,343 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The loss snapped the Tigers’ (50-15) eight-game postseason winning streak at home and put the Razorbacks (35-26) one win away from a trip to the College World Series. Every Arkansas starter had at least one hit and five Razorbacks notched at least one RBI.
Charlie Isaacson (7-7) threw 140 pitches over 7.2 innings to earn the victory. He allowed five runs off 11 hits while walking two and striking out five. Steve Reba (13-3) got the loss for Clemson after yielding five runs on seven hits over 1.2 innings.
The Razorbacks jumped on Reba early with five hits, including three straight to lead off the game. Kirk McConnell started things with a single and moved to third on a hit and run with Scott Bridges. The runners scored when Michael Conner tripled off the fence in left-center and Conner came home one batter later on a groundout by Nick Pitts. Arkansas added another run in the frame when Andrew Wishy doubled to right field and scored on Cody Clark’s single to center for a 4-0 lead.
In the second inning, Pitts knocked in another run with a two-out double and knocked Reba out of the game. Reliver Thomas Boozer got the final out of the inning without further damage, but Arkansas not before Arkansas increased the margin to 5-0.
RBI-hits by Clay Goodwin and Ryan Fox gave Arkansas a 7-0 lead in the top of the fifth before Clemson finally got on the board in the bottom of the inning. A two-out double by Roberto Valinete and a single by Jarrod Schmidt, who singled up the middle to score two runs.
Clemson made it a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on second and third and two outs, Khalil Greene, who had not reached base so far in the game, extended his hitting streak to 31 games with a single to left field that scored Steve Pyzik and Zane Green. The rally continued on the next pitch, when Jeff Baker went deep to right center on reliever Gary Hogan’s first pitch. The two-run shot gave Baker 25 home runs, a new Clemson single season record, and brought the Tigers to within one run.
Arkansas got a run back in the top of the ninth. Paul Harrelson entered the game with runners on first and second and one out and threw a wild pitch that left runners at the corners. Fox then grounded to third base, but Baker’s throw to second base bounced into right field, allowing one run to score. With Scott Hode batting, Harrelson then picked off Fox at first, but Arkansas’s Goodwin scored in the rundown to pad the Arkansas lead to 9-6. Hogan, Jr. retired Clemson in order in the ninth to garner his third save of the season.
The two teams will square off Saturday at 7:15 PM.
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