CLEMSON, S.C. – McKenzie Clark, Ansley Houston and Aby Vieira all hit home runs over the course of two games to help the No. 4/4 Clemson Tigers to two victories on Friday at McWhorter Stadium. Clemson opened the afternoon with a dominating 10-1 run-rule victory over Bryant, before concluding the evening with a 3-0 win over UNC Greensboro.
With the two wins, Clemson improves to 23-1 on the year and extends its home winning streak to 21 games, dating back to April 16, 2022, against Notre Dame. The 21-game mark also ties a program record for longest home winning streak that was set over the course of the 2021 and 2022 season dating from March 7, 2021 to March 4, 2022.
Vs. Bryant – W, 10-1 (5)
The Bulldogs took the lead in the top of the first inning bringing the leadoff batter around to score. It didn’t take long for the Tigers to respond in the bottom half of the inning. Sophomore Maddie Moore drew a walk and advanced to second as Valerie Cagle hit a single through the left side. Moore moved to third as Caroline Jacobsen hit a fly out, and then came home on a throwing error that was attempting to get Cagle stealing second. Logoleo doubled Clemson’s lead when she brought Cagle home with a single through the right side.
Clemson continued its hot streak in the bottom of the second adding five additional runs to make it 7-1. JoJo Hyatt led off the inning with a single down the right field line. Julia Bomhardt, who came in to pinch run for Hyatt, stole second and advanced to third as Ally Miklesh laid down a bunt. Miklesh stole second to move into scoring position for Reedy Davenport to knock a two-RBI single up the middle.
The bats stayed hot as Clark stepped into the box and drove a two-run homer, her sixth home run of the season, out of left field to bring home Davenport. Moore continued with a double to center field, advanced to third and was brought home with a sac fly from Jacobsen. The Tigers added one more run in the third as Miklesh reached on a fielder’s choice and Davenport tallied her third RBI of the day with a double down the left line to make it 8-1 after three.
The highlight of the fourth inning was pinch hitter Houston tallying a two-run bomb for her first collegiate hit as a Tiger. Abi Stuart led off with a first pitch single, and with two outs, Houston sent the second pitch she saw out of left field to make it 10-1, which would hold for the remainder of the game.
Junior Regan Spencer got the start for the Tigers in the circle and pitched 4.0 innings with five strikeouts to earn her fourth win. She was replaced in the final frame by sophomore Rachel Gibson. Gibson made her first appearance in the circle this season and pitched the final frame picking up her first collegiate strikeout.
Vs. UNC Greensboro – W, 3-0
Neither Clemson nor UNC Greensboro was able to capitalize at the plate through the first few innings of play. Clemson’s left-handed pitcher Millie Thompson kept the Spartans at bay through the first three innings, picking up three strikeouts.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Tigers, who were the designated away team, took advantage of getting Jacobsen on off a walk and quickly stealing second. Arielle Oda was able to get a hold of the second pitch of her at bat and send it down the left field line to bring home Jacobsen. In the next pitch thrown, Vieira drove a single into right center that scored Oda to make it 2-0 in favor of Clemson.
Vieira capitalized again at the plate in the top of the sixth inning hitting her second home run of the year out of right center to push the Tigers ahead by three. The Tiger defense held strong to keep UNCG from capitalizing on any base runner that got on to claim the 3-0 victory.
Thompson started in the circle and pitched her fifth complete game of 2023. She struck out eight batters on her way to winning her eighth game and to make the push for all five Clemson Tigers that have seen time in the circle to maintain a 0.94 ERA or lower, as the team’s ERA drops to 0.70.
The Tigers will conclude the Clemson Classic on Saturday, March 11 with games against Jacksonville (3 p.m.) and UNCG (5:30 p.m.). Both games can be streamed on ACCNX. Prior to the games, the Clemson Classic Car show will happen in Jervey Meadows from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The car show is a free and open event to the public.
Photos courtesy of Jada Allred, Clemson Athletics