RALEIGH, N.C. – Dodging weather on Friday that halted action, No. 6/7 Clemson returned to the field on Saturday afternoon and captured two victories at NC State to improve to 40-4 overall (14-3 ACC). Clemson sealed the first game, 4-1, in the first extra-inning game of the year before clinching the series with a 6-3 win in game two.
Clemson clocked 16 hits between the two games Valerie Cagle and McKenzie Clark each tallying four. Caroline Jacobsen followed with three hits and a team-high five RBIs between the two games. Cagle also hit her 16th and 17th home runs on the year, while Jacobsen tallied her 10th.
Game 1 – W, 4-1 (8)
The Tigers got runners on through the first four innings, but it was NC State that was able to strike first. In the bottom of the fourth, NC State was able to get a runner on off a one-out double, and two batters later was able to bring the runner home for the 1-0 lead.
Clemson responded in the top of the fifth after Clark hit a first-pitch leadoff double. Cagle brought her home with a double off the left-center wall to even the game at 1-1 through five. NC State made a push in the bottom of the sixth to strike after getting runners on second and third, but Clemson’s defense picked up two quick outs that included Kyah Keller catching a line drive at first, and Cagle making the easy throw to first for the final out to keep things tied.
The top of the seventh inning began with a weather delay that required the tarp to return to the field and play to be suspended until Saturday, April 15. When the Tigers returned to the field on Saturday, both program’s went down in order, that included Clemson’s defense turning a 543 double play to send the Tigers to extra innings for the first time this season.
Marena Knowles sparked the Tigers in the top of the eighth with a leadoff single. She was replaced at first by Julia Bomhardt, who quickly stole second. Ally Miklesh joined her, reaching on an error. Clark plated Bomhardt with a single through the right side, and Jacobsen added insurance runs for the Tigers with a single into shallow right field. Heading to the bottom half of the inning, Clemson maintained the 4-1 advantage.
The Wolfpack was able to load the bases with two outs but stranded as the Tigers picked up the final out to seal the victory.
Cagle pitched her 15th-complete game en route to her 20th win on the year. She finished with eight strikeouts.
Game 2 – W, 6-3
The Tigers started game two in the same fashion they ended the first. Clark led off with a single off the left-field fence. She was brought home in the next at bat as Cagle, who was moved into the second spot, hit a first-pitch home run out of left center field to give Clemson the 2-0 advantage. NC State responded with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning to keep things even at 2-all.
NC State claimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run, but Clemson answered with a three-run fifth inning to reclaim the lead. After Miklesh hit a bunt down the line, Cagle drew a walk to put two on with two outs. Jacobsen stepped to the plate and drove the second pitch of her at bat out of left field to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Cagle once again capitalized at the plate for the Tigers, driving the fourth pitch of her at bat out of center field for her 17th home run of the season. Clemson took the 6-3 advantage, which held for the remainder of the game.
Junior Millie Thompson started in the circle and pitched four innings with two strikeouts to improve to 12-1. She was replaced by sophomore Brooke McCubbin in the fifth, who pitched the final three innings with one strikeout to earn her second save of the year.
The Tigers and Wolfpack will conclude the three-game series on Sunday, April 16. First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 4 p.m. on ACC Network.