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Feb 18, 2023

Cagle Dominates as Clemson Wins Two

CLEMSON, S.C. – In front of a sold out 2,116 crowd, the Clemson softball team picked up wins over No. 14/11 Northwestern, 3-2, and Ohio State, 5-1, to improve to 9-0 on the season. The Tigers clocked 12 hits between the two games led by Valerie Cagle finishing with two home runs, one in each game, and five RBIs. Cagle also earned her first save of the season in the circle against Northwestern and her fifth victory with the win against Ohio State.

Game 1 – vs. Northwestern (W, 3-2)

For the second day in a row, McKenzie Clark, as the leadoff batter, got a hold of the second pitch of her opening at bat, this time for a base hit up the middle. This allowed Cagle to step to the plate two batters later and drive the ball out the opposite side for a two-run homer, her fourth of the season, to give Clemson a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, Ally Miklesh led off with a walk and quickly stole second. Reedy Davenport laid down a bunt to advance Miklesh to third, and Clark executed a sac fly to left field to make it 3-0 in favor of the Tigers.

The Wildcats got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Northwestern looked to keep the momentum in its favor with two outs and the bases loaded, Cagle came in to relieve Millie Thompson in the circle and threw only one pitch to close out the inning and force the Wildcats to leave the bases loaded. After the sixth inning, Clemsonโ€™s 3-2 lead would hold through the final inning to secure the Tigersโ€™ eighth win of the season.

Thompson finished with 5.2 innings on the evening, tallying four strikeouts while only throwing 66 pitches to earn her third win of 2023. Cagle pitched the final 1.2 innings and tallied two strikeouts to earn the save.

Game 2 – vs. Ohio State (W, 5-1)

Clemson looked to apply early pressure in its second game of the day by loading the bases in the bottom of the first inning. Unfortunately, the Buckeyesโ€™ pitcher, Allison Smith, shut things down with back-to-back strikeouts to keep it 0-0 after one.

In the third, Ohio State capitalized on a couple singles and a wild pitch to advance the runner to third, eventually scoring to take a 1-0 lead. The Tigers responded in the bottom half of the inning as McKenzie Clark and Maddie Moore got on base of a walk and a single, respectively. Cagle advanced both runners with a fly out to deep left field, and a dropped ball by the right fielder from a Jacobsen at bat brought home Clark to tie things up. Alia Logoleo followed with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt to give Clemson the 2-1 lead that had Moore sneaking in under the tag at home.

Clemson kept things rolling in the fourth as Clark drew a walk and quickly stole second. Moore joined her on the basepath with a walk of her own to set up Cagle for her second home run of the day. With only one out and an 0-2 count, Cagle drove her 45th-career home run out of left center to make it 5-1 in favor of the Tigers.

Cagle pitched her second complete game of 2023 facing 25 batters. She struck out seven, while only giving up three hits and one walk.

Up Next

The Tigers conclude weekend action at the ACC/Big 10 Challenge tomorrow afternoon hosting Ohio State at 12:30 p.m.

John Rittman (Postgame), 02/18/23

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