March 24, 2009
Clemson, ranked #20 in the country, improved its home-winning streak to nine games with an 8-7 victory over Elon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Tuesday night. With the win, the Tigers swept the doubleheader and improved to 16-6 on the season, while Elon fell to 12-7. Earlier on Tuesday, Clemson defeated the Phoenix 5-3.
Clemson reliever Craig Gullickson (1-0) earned the win for Clemson, as he pitched 3.0 innings and allowed one run on three hits with three strikeouts. Tomas Cruz pitched the ninth inning to earn his first save of the season. Elon reliever Tom Porter (0-1) took the loss, as he pitched 0.2 innings and allowed one unearned run on one hit.
Elon jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Cory Harrilchak led off the game with a double to center. After Harrilchak advanced to third on a groundout, Bennett Davis reached on a fielder’s choice as Harrilchak was thrown out at the plate. Mike Melillo followed with a two-run home run to deep right field to give the Phoenix a 2-0 lead.
Elon added to its lead in the second inning. With two outs, Zeth Stone singled through the left side. Harrilchak followed with a single up the middle and Stone scored on an error by centerfielder Chris Epps to give the Phoenix a 3-0 lead.
Clemson answered with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Addison Johnson, followed with a three-run homer to right-center. The long ball was Epps’ first of the season and tied the score 3-3.
Davis led off the third inning when he reached on an error. Melillo then hit another two-run homer to right-center to give Elon a 5-3 lead. It was Melillo’s second home run of the game and fifth of the season.
Clemson responded with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Mike Freeman led off with an infield single and Ben Paulsen followed with a double to the left-field gap to score Freeman. Paulsen then scored on an error by the second-baseman Stone when the Phoenix would have had Paulsen in a rundown had he not muffed the pickoff attempt. Clemson later loaded the bases with no outs but was unalbe to plate the go-ahead run.
Pat Irvine led off the top of the fifth inning with a home run to left-center to put Elon back in front 6-5.
However, Clemson regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jeff Schaus led off with a double to left-center and advanced to third on a groundout by Stolz. Pinch-hitter Will Lamb reached on an error by Stone and Schaus scored on the play. After Lamb stole second, Brad Miller reached on another error by Stone, as Lamb scored all the way from second base.
Clemson added to its lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Stolz led off with a single to left field and John Nester followed with a single to advance Stolz to third. Epps’ sacrifice fly to center scored Stolz and gave Clemson an 8-6 lead.
The Phoenix threatened in the top of the ninth inning. With two outs, Irvine belted a solo home run down the right-field line to bring Elon within one run. The homer was Irvine’s second of the game and seventh of the season. Neal Pritchard followed with a walk and pinch-runner Harry Austin stole second base to put the potential tying run in scoring position. But Melillo flied out to right field to end the game.
Miller, Freeman, Paulsen, and Schaus had two hits apiece to pace the Tigers’ 13-hit attack. Epps, making his first start of the season in the outfield, had a career-high four RBIs in the game.
Elon totaled 11 hits in the contest and was led by Chase Austin and Melillo with three hits apiece. Melillo and Irvine both smacked two home runs. Harrilchak extended his hitting streak to 19 games and his streak of reaching base safely to 52 games as well.
The game, which started at 9:02 PM, lasted 3:07, as the last out was recorded at 12:09 AM.
Clemson will travel to Chestnut Hill, MA to take on Boston College in a three-game series starting Friday at 2:30 PM.
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