May 23, 1998
Clemson, SC–Eric Munson drove in three runs and Seth Etherton struck out a career high 15 and walked just one in a complete game performance as Southern California defeated Clemson 8-5 in the third day of action of the NCAA East Regional.
Southern California upped its record to 42-16, while Clemson ends its season with a 43-16 ledger. Clemson was eliminated with the defeat. The Tigers had lost on Friday night, 2-1 in 16 innings to South Alabama. Southern Cal advanced to Saturday evening’s game with South Alabama, the only undefeated team in the tournament.
Southern California wasted little time taking the lead against Clemson starter and loser Brian Adams (6-2). In the second inning, Trojan third baseman Morgan Ensberg doubled down the left field line. Eric Munson, who has been a dominant hitter for Southern Cal throughout the tournament, nailed a home run off the light pole in dead right to give Southern Cal a 2-0 lead.
Southern Cal made it 4-0 in the fourth. With two out, Jason Lane singled to left. Brad Ticehurst, the number-eight batter in the order, homered to right. Like Munson, it was Ticehurst’s 14th home run of the season.
The first 10 Clemson hitters failed to reach base against Etherton, the Southern Cal ace who was held out until the third round of the tournament. He struck out seven of the first 10 Clemson hitters. But, Patrick Boyd singled with one out in the fourth, moved to second on a ground out and scored on Jason Harris’s single up the middle.
Southern Cal responded with three more in the fifth on five hits, all singles. Munson had one of the RBIs and also scored a run in the inning. Southern Cal made the count 8-1 on a hit batter and a run-scoring double by Robb Gorr.
Despite trailing 8-1 in the eighth and obviously exhausted after playing a 16-inning, 4:14 game the previous evening, Clemson outscored the Trojans 4-0 over the last two innings. The Tigers had two runs in the eighth on a single by Henri Stanley, a walk to Doug Roper and a single by Patrick Boyd. His hit to center was misplayed by Rod Perry, allowing Roper to also score.
Clemson added two in the ninth on a single by Harris, a double by Justin Singleton and a single by Stanley. Down three with a runner on first, Casey Stone grounded out and Roper struck out, the 15th Clemson strikeout victim of the game.
Etherton brought his record to 12-3 with the victory. He went the distance, allowing just four earned runs and seven hits. Adams took the loss for Clemson. Clemson’s Matt Additon allowed just one run in 4 1/3 innings of relief.
Clemson was led at the plate by Patrick Boyd, Jason Harris and Henri Stanley. All three players had 2-4 games with a run scored and a run batted in. Harris also had 14 chances defensively without an error. Southern Cal had a three-hit game by Greg Hanoian and Ensberg. Jason Lane had two hits, as did Munson.
“I am very proud of this team,” said Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett, who has won 246 games in five years with the Tigers. It was good to see us battle to the end, it was a typical Clemson game this year.
“It was difficult to come back after last night, but at 8:00 AM this morning our guys were up and ready to go. We were coming off a tough game last night, but we tried not to get down after that.
“Our team showed we have a lot of players with heart and character. We started the season very well, but had some problems late. We offer no excuses, we worked hard and I am proud of this team in 1998.”
“I have to give Clemson credit,” said Southern Cal Head Coach Mike Gillespie. ” I would not have wanted to be in their position with an early morning game after playing 16 innings last night. That was a heart-breaking loss. Clemson never rolled over or called it quits. Clemson continues to have a great program year after year and this is definitely one of the elite programs in this country. “
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