CLEARWATER, Fla. – The No. 5/7 Clemson Tigers battled to a gritty 3-2 victory on Friday evening against the Indiana Hoosiers. With the win, Clemson moves to 2-0 on the season and picks up win number 156 as a program. Junior Millie Thompson earned her first win in the circle, and Valerie Cagle picked up a save, while also adding two hits alongside freshman Julia Knowler to secure the victory.
Indiana took the lead in the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff home run. Clemson’s defense shut things down to get out of the inning without allowing any additional runs, including junior Aby Vieira catching a runner attempting to steal to end the inning. The Tigers looked to strike back in the top of the second as Knowler tallied her fourth hit of the weekend and Maddie Moore reached base on a dropped third strike to put runners on the corners, but Clemson left both stranded.
Clemson claimed the lead in the top of the third inning as Knowler continued her hot streak at the plate. After Alex Brown reached on a fielder’s choice, and Cagle put runners on first and second with two outs, Knowler stepped up and hit a two RBI double into left field to put the Tigers ahead, 2-1. Indiana evened it in the bottom of the fourth with an unearned run to make it 2-2 heading to the fifth.
Cagle reclaimed the lead for Clemson in the top of the fifth with an RBI single to left field that plated Brown, who had earlier reached on a fielder’s choice and then stole second to be in scoring position. Cagle entered the circle in the bottom half of the inning, replacing Thompson, and picked up three quick outs, including two strikeouts to maintain a 3-2 advantage through five.
Clemson looked to add two insurance runs in the seventh as both Brown and Cagle tallied two-out singles but left both runners stranded heading to the final half inning. The Hoosiers put the pressure on by getting their lead batter on, but the Clemson defense turned its first double play of the season with a 143 shot for two outs. Cagle rounded out the inning with a strikeout to seal the Tiger win.
Thompson started in the circle and pitched four innings with two strikeouts en route to her win, while Cagle capped the evening with six total strikeouts.
Clemson continues weekend action on Saturday with two games. The Tigers will open the day at noon with a matchup against Liberty on the GameChanger App, before concluding the evening at 7 p.m. on MLB Network with a showdown against No. 15 Oregon. Fans can listen to both games on the ClemsonTigers App or by tuning into 105.5 TheROAR. Links to all the action can be found on the Clemson Softball schedule page.