May 14, 2011
Blacksburg, VA –
Brad Miller’s three-run homer in the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie in #16 Clemson’s 8-3 win over Virginia Tech in front of 713 fans in the second game of a doubleheader at English Field on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers, who took a 2-0 lead in the series and won their eighth game in a row, improved to 36-15 overall and 15-11 in the ACC. The Hokies dropped to 28-23 overall and 9-17 in the ACC.
Justin Sarratt pitched 6.1 effective innings, allowing six hits, three runs, and one walk with eight strikeouts. Clemson also improved to 10-0 in Sarratt’s 10 starts in 2011. Four Tiger pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts in the contest as well.
Hokie starter Marc Zecchino (5-5) suffered the loss. He yielded seven hits, five runs (four earned), and one walk with seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched.
After Sarratt struck out the first five Hokies to start the game, Matt Blow lined a two-out, solo homer down the right-field line in the second inning, his third long ball of the season. It was also only the second home run allowed by Sarratt in 2011 and snapped his streak of 27.2 innings pitched without allowing an earned run.
The Tigers responded in the top of the third inning to take the lead. In his first career start, freshman John Hinson crushed a long two-run home run to right field, his sixth long ball of the season. It was also Clemson’s first extra-base hit of the series.
In the bottom of the third inning, Johnny Morales belted a one-out double to left-center. Two batters later with two outs, Michael Seaborn laced a 1-2 pitch off the wall in left field for a double to plate Morales and tie the score 2-2.
Clemson regained the lead in the fourth inning. Jeff Schaus reached with one out when left-fielder Andrew Rash dropped his liner, the first error by either team in the series. Two batters later, Chris Epps ripped a two-out single up the middle to score Schaus.
In the seventh inning, Rash led off with hit a hard-hit grounder on an 0-2 pitch right at Hinson, but he could not field the ball cleanly and Rash reached on the infield single. Two batters later, Tyler Horan grounded a one-out single through the right side to advance Rash to third base. Pinch-hitter Chad Pinder followed with a single to left field to bring home Rash and tie the score 3-3. After both runners stole a base, Morales flied out to shallow left-center as neither runner advanced. Moorefield then struck out Jake Atwell to keep the score tied.
In the eighth inning, Dunster led off with a walk on six pitches after Zecchino had retired nine batters in a row, then Hinson blooped a single to left field. Phil Pohl’s bunt back to the mound allowed Zecchino to throw to third base to retire pinch-runner Steve Wilkerson. But Miller blasted a 2-2 breaking ball over the fence in right field for a three-run homer, his third long ball of the year, to give Clemson a 6-3 lead.
The Tigers added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning, Schaus led off with a single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch and went to third on Jason Stolz’s single through the left side. Epps followed with a single through the right side to score Schaus and move Stolz to third. Wilkerson lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Stolz and give Clemson a five-run lead.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, a one-out walk by Tony Balisteri and two-out walks by Chris Kay and Morales loaded the bases. But Campbell struck out pinch-hitter Gabe Ortiz to end the game.
With the win, Clemson became the sixth team to clinch a spot in the 2011 ACC Tournament.
Hinson paced the Tigers’ 13-hit attack by going 4-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs, and two runs. Miller went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and hit-by-pitch, while Epps went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base. Will Lamb went 0-for-4, snapping his 25-game hitting streak.
Six different Hokies accounted for the team’s six hits.
Clemson and Virginia Tech will play the finale of the three-game series on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
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