May 27, 2000
Clemson, SC–Justin Singleton belted a two-run triple to break open a close game in the eighth inning, and Kevin Lynn allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings of relief, leading Clemson to a 9-3 victory over Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Regional at Clemson, SC and Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson improved to 47-16 with the victory, while Illinois fell 41-22.
Clemson, as the only undefeated team in the four-team regional, now advances to the championship round on Sunday at 2:00 PM. Clemson will meet the winner of Saturday night’s game between Illinois and Middle Tennessee. The winner of Saturday night’s Illiniois vs. Middle Tennessee game must beat Clemson twice on Sunday. Old Dominion was eliminated from the tournament in Saturday morning’s game, a 6-5 Middle Tennessee victory.
Lynn got the Tigers out of a based loaded two-out jam in the bottom of the fourth. He went 5 1/3 innings and allowed just two hits and one run. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. He improved his record to 4-1. Andy Dickinson fell to 8-3.
Clemson led by a 4-3 score with one out in the top of the eighth. Mike Calitri started Clemson’s five-run eighth with a walk. Freshman designated hitter Jarrod Schmidt also walked, as Illinois starter Andy Dickinson began to become fatigued.
That brought up Singleton, who had just entered the game defensively in the bottom of the seventh. Singleton, a left hand hitter facing the left-handed pitching Dickinson, lined a triple that rolled over the Tiger Paw at the base of the right centerfield terrace. Singleton is now 5-12 against left handed pitchers this year.That scored Calitri and Schmidt, giving the Tigers a 6-3 lead.
Clemson added two more runs in the inning. Singleton scored when Illinois first baseman Andy Schutzenhofer threw wild at home on a batted ball by Ryan Riley. Brian Ellis, who had walked after Singleton’s triple and had advanced to third on the throwing error, then scored on a suicide squeeze by Casey Stone. Riley then scored on a wild pitch, Clemson’s third run of the game on a wild pitch.
Clemson took a 3-1 lead in the first inning and a half. Casey Stone led off the game with a single to right and later scored on a bases loaded walk by Jarrod Schmidt. Illinois came back to tie the game in the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Chris Basak, who had two hits and a walk on the day, singled to right. He later scored on a single by designated hitter Luke Simmons.
Clemson added two runs in the second. Brian Ellis walked and moved to second on a single by Ryan Riley. Stone then singled to load the bases. Patrick Boyd grounded into a double play to score Ellis. Riley later scored on a wild pitch.
Illinois made it a one-run game in the third when Chris Basak singled, was erased on a fielder’s choice, allowing Brady Ballard to reach first. Ballard then moved to third on a single by Andy Schutzenhofer. Ballard scored on a wild pitch.
Scott Berney started for the Tigers and worked into the fourth inning, but struggled with two out. He hit a batter and then issued consecutive walks. Jack Leggett then went to his bullpen and brought in Lynn. The junior got out of the based loaded jam by inducing Brady Ballard to fly to Casey Stone in left field.
Dickinson, who threw 108 pitches in Saturday’s 92 degree heat, stymied the Tigers between the third and eighth innings. Clemson had just one hit in those five innings and scored just one unearned run. But, Clemson broke the game open in the eighth thanks to Singleton’s ice breaker.
Clemson had just six hits in scoring its nine runs. However, Clemson batters were issued 10 walks by Illinois pitchers and two other runners reached on errors. Four of Clemson’s runs were scored by players who had walked. Casey Stone had two hits and drove in a run with a sacrifice. Jarrod Schmidt reached base three times on two walks and a single.
Illinois was led at the plate by Craig Marquie who had a double and a single, and Chris Basak who had two singles and a walk.
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