May 24, 2006
Jacksonville, FL –
Freshman D.J. Mitchell tallied a game-high three RBIs and P.J. Zocchi allowed only one run on four hits in 6.0 innings to lead #2 Clemson to a 13-1 victory over Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC Tournament at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Wednesday evening. The game was shortened to seven innings due to the 10-run rule, which is in effect for all games except the final one. Clemson improved to 44-13, while Wake Forest fell to 33-21. The 44 wins are the most by a Tiger team since 2002, when that College World Series team won 54 contests.
Clemson upped its winning streak to 16 games, the fifth-longest in school history. The Tigers also won their 16th-consecutive game over the Demon Deacons, including four games in 2006 by a combined score of 52-5.
Five Tigers had at least two hits, as Clemson totaled 13 on the night. Taylor Harbin was 3-for-3 with a double, triple, and an RBI, Marquez Smith was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Mitchell was 2-for-4 with a career-high three RBIs. Mitchell entered the game with just four RBIs on the season.
Tyler Colvin, who was 2-for-5, extended his hitting streak to 16 games. With his second-inning single, he hit safely in eight-straight at-bats over four games (all against Wake Forest), falling just one hit short of the Tiger record of nine. His streak of reaching base by either a hit or walk also ended at 10 plate appearances. In four games against the Demon Deacons this season, Colvin is 13-for-18 (.722).
Zocchi (6-0) pitched 6.0 innings, allowing four hits, one run, and one walk with three strikeouts to earn the win. Steve Richard pitched a scoreless seventh inning to close out the game. Wake Forest starter Eric Niesen (3-2) suffered the loss, as he allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits in 3.2 innings pitched.
The Tigers took a 4-0 lead in the second inning thanks to only two hits. Colvin led off with a single to left field. Harbin followed with a walk, but Colvin was retired at third base on Andy D’Alessio’s unsuccessful sacrifice bunt attempt. After the two runners moved up a base on a wild pitch and Stan Widmann walked to load the bases, Mitchell singled up the middle to score Harbin and D’Alessio. Mitchell, who made a start in place of an injured Travis Storrer, is a native of Rural Hall, NC, a neighboring city of Winston-Salem. Adrian Casanova plated Widmann on an RBI grounder that was booted by shortstop Dustin Hood, and Herman Demmink’s lineout to center brought home Mitchell.
Allan Dykstra put Wake Forest on the board in the fourth inning when he hit a long, solo home run to right field, his 15th of the season. It broke Clemson’s 12-game streak of not allowing a long ball.
The Tigers responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning. Casanova reached with one out on a hit-by-pitch. After Demmink struck out for out #2 and Brad Chalk walked, Smith singled up the middle to score Casanova. Colvin followed with a line-drive single to center to score Chalk.
Clemson added to its lead in the fifth inning with five runs. Widmann led off with an infield single, stole second, and went to third on catcher Austin Jones’ errant throw. Mitchell followed with a bloop single to left-center over a drawn-in infield. Two batters later, Demmink reached on a throwing error by Hood, then Mitchell scored on balk. Chalk doubled over the third-base bag to bring home Demmink. After Smith singled and Colvin struck out, Harbin doubled down the left-field line to score Chalk. D’Alessio followed with a walk, and the ball got away from Jones to allow Smith to score.
In the sixth inning, Demmink reached on a two-out walk and scored on Chalk’s triple down the right-field line. Smith followed with a single through the left side to score Chalk.
By holding the Demon Deacons to one run, Clemson upped its streak of holding opponents to three runs or less to 10 games. It is Clemson’s longest-such streak since it went 10 games in a row allowing three runs or less in 1972. The current streak is a record for the aluminum-bat era.
Clemson will play #4-seed Georgia Tech in the winners’ bracket on Thursday at 7:00 PM. The Tigers will be the home team and occupy the third-base dugout.
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