April 24, 2007
Clemson, SC –
Chris Vasami went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and Mike Melillo hit a two-run home run to help Elon survive a Tiger comeback and hold on for a 13-12 victory over #17 Clemson on Tuesday in front of 3,948 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Phoenix improved to 23-20, while the Tigers dropped to 26-14. Elon snapped its five-game losing streak with the win.
Jesse Lewter (2-2) earned the win for Elon despite giving up four runs and nine hits in 4.2 innings pitched in relief. Making his first relief appearance of the season, Steven Hensley pitched the final inning to earn his first save of the year. Justin Sarratt (0-1) suffered the loss for the Tigers, giving up five runs (one earned) on five hits in 1.2 innings pitched in relief.
Four different Phoenix players had at least two hits in the game. Chris Dove and Vasami collected three hits apiece, as Elon totaled 12 on the night. All nine Tiger starters had at least one hit, punctuated by Doug Hogan’s grand slam and solo homer, making the game his second multi-homer game of the year. Andy D’Alessio hit a long ball as well.
The Tigers scratched early in the first inning. Leadoff batter D.J. Mitchell drew a walk and then stole second base. With one out, Marquez Smith laced a single to left-center to drive Mitchell home.
The Phoenix responded with four runs in the top of the second to take the lead. Robert Rodebaugh drew a leadoff walk, and with one out, Melillo walked. Ryan Adams then singled to the pitcher to load the bases. Chase Austin then drove Rodebaugh home with a squeeze bunt. With two outs, Dove then tripled to right-center, plating both Melillo and Adams. Jordy Snyder was then hit by a pitch. Pat Irvine hit a single through the left side, scoring Dove, and putting the Phoenix on top 4-1.
The Tigers wasted little time retaking the lead in the bottom of the second inning thanks to Hogan’s grand slam and Clemson’s three free passes. With one out, Marquez Smith walked to load the bases. D’Alessio then walked again to bring in a run. Hogan then crushed a grand slam to left-center, putting the Tigers on top 7-4. The grand slam was Clemson’s first of 2007.
Melillo’s two-run homer in the third, and Irvine’s solo home run in the fourth evened the score 7-7.
Clemson broke the tie with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Mitchell led off with a single to center. Harbin then doubled down the left-field line to score Mitchell and give the Tigers the lead 8-7.
Elon regained the lead in the fifth with four runs. Melillo led off with a walk, and with one out, Adams singled through the right side. Austin reached on a catcher’s interference to load the bases on a play that would have resulted in out #2. Two batters later with two outs, Snyder singled to left field, plating both Adams and Austin. Irvine then walked to load the bases again. Vasami then singled to left field to score Dove and Snyder, and put the Phoenix up 11-8.
The Phoenix tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh, as Dove reached on a fielder’s choice to shortstop and then stole second. With one out, Snyder walked as Dove stole third base. Dove then scored on a sacrifice fly by Irvine. Vasami followed with a double to left-center to score Snyder.
The Tigers cut into the lead in the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back solo home runs to left-center by D’Alessio and Hogan. It was D’Alessio’s sixth homer of the season, and Hogan’s second of the game and seventh of the season.
Relievers Matt Vaughn and Stephen Clyne kept Elon off of the scoreboard the final two innings of the game.
Clemson continued to battle back in the eighth. With one out, Smith drew a walk and advanced to second on a groundout by D’Alessio. With two outs, Hogan was hit by a pitch, and then Smith and Hogan advanced a base on a wild pitch. Alex Burg then drove in Smith and Hogan with a single to right field to bring the Tigers within one run.
But Hensley slammed the door in the ninth, as he set the Tigers down in order to preserve Elon’s win.
The Tigers will play host to #5 South Carolina Wednesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium at 7:15 PM.
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