David Slevin’s double to center triggered a four-run 10th inning that gave top-ranked Clemson an 11-7 win over 13th-ranked North Carolina before 2,105 fans at Boshamer Stadium Friday night. Every Tiger starter had a hit as Clemson improved to 29-3 overall and 6-1 in the ACC. North Carolina fell to 24-12 overall and 9-4 in the ACC. Clemson defeated South Carolina 11-10 in 10 innings on March 3 and is now 2-0 in extra inning games.
Collin Mahoney walked with one out and was replaced by pinch runner Chad Coder. The move paid off as Coder scored on Slevin’s double to center. Kyle Frank followed with a double to right field and after an intentional walk to Khalil Greene that loaded the bases, Jeff Baker was hit by a pitch to score one run. Jarrod Schmidt’s sacrifice fly capped the scoring and gave the Tigers a four-run advantage.
Steven Jackson (4-1) pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to earn the win. Jackson was one of five Tiger pitchers used in the game. Michael Gross (3-2) got the loss for North Carolina.
Clemson jumped out in front with two runs in the third inning. Mahoney led off the frame with a towering home run that just cleared the 400 sign in center field. It was the sixth homer run of the year for the catcher, who homered in his last at bat against Georgia on Wednesday. Frank and Greene singled later in the inning and Johnson came through with a two-out single to center that scored Frank.
North Carolina made it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the inning with Sean Farrell’s solo home run to left field. The Tar Heels added two more runs in the fourth thanks to five singles. Jeremy Cleveland led off with a single and was followed two batters later by Chad Prosser’s base hit. Cleveland scored on a groundout and Prosser scored on a single by Mell Adams to give North Carolina its first lead. The Heels tacked on another run on Adam Greenberg’s RBI-single for a 4-2 lead. Farrell’s single appeared to give North Carolina another run but left fielder Jeff Hourigan gunned down Greenberg at the plate to end the inning.
Clemson clawed back to take the lead in the top of the fifth. Singles by Greene and Baker scored one run and Schmidt’s two-out bloop single scored another to knot the game at four. With Hourigan at the plate, Head Coach Jack Leggett called for a double steal that was executed perfectly. Schmidt ran halfway to second and stopped while Johnson broke for the plate. Second baseman Prosser’s throw was not in time and Clemson ended the inning with a 5-4 lead.
The Tigers extended the lead to 7-4 in the seventh. Singles by Greene and Johnson sandwiched a walk by Baker to load the bases with none out in the seventh. Schmidt struck out but Hourigan followed with an infield single to plate one run. Russell Triplett fouled off four pitches to stay alive and walked to score another run before Mahoney grounded into a double play to end the inning.
North Carolina would not go away and earned one run back in the bottom of the seventh. Cleveland singled in a run that put runners on first and third and knocked Clemson reliever Jeff Hahn out of the game, but closer Paul Harrelson induced a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the jam. The Tar Heel attack continued in the eighth. Prosser led off with a double and scored on Mell Adams’ sacrafice fly. Reliever Thomas Boozer then took the mound and got Greenberg to pop out but yielded a two-out single to Russ Adams that tied the game.
Greene and Johnson each had three hits to lead the offense.
The teams will square off for game two on Saturday. First pitch, originally scheduled for 2:00 PM, will be at 3:00 PM.
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