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#5 Clemson Hits Three Home Runs to Down Catamounts 8-3 Tuesday

#5 Clemson Hits Three Home Runs to Down Catamounts 8-3 Tuesday

April 11, 2006

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Cullowhee, NC –

Clemson’s 4-6 batters combined for eight hits, three home runs, and seven RBIs to lead the #5 Tigers to an 8-3 victory over Western Carolina in front of a record crowd of 2,823 fans at Hennon Stadium on Tuesday. Clemson won its fifth road game in a row to improve to 25-8 overall. Western Carolina fell to 19-14.

Tyler Colvin and Andy D’Alessio each went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs, while Marquez Smith was 2-for-4 with a home run in Clemson’s 10-hit attack. Six different Catamounts had one hit apiece, including solo home runs by Grey Gregory and Jason Haynes.

Tiger starter P.J. Zocchi (3-0) earned the win, as he tied his career-long outing with 6.0 innings pitched. The Bronx, NY native allowed just three hits and one unearned run. Daniel Moskos picked up his fifth save by retiring all five Catamounts he faced, including two by strikeout. Western Carolina starter Tyler Johnson (2-1) suffered the loss, as he yielded five hits and three runs (one earned) in 4.1 innings pitched.

After three scoreless innings, Clemson got on the board in the fourth inning. Colvin lined a one-out double that short-hopped the fence in right-center. D’Alessio, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a second-inning single, laced another single to center to score Colvin.

In the bottom of the fourth, Tim Hallam led off and reached on a throwing error by shortstop Stan Widmann. But Hallam thought he was called out by the first-base umpire and was tagged by D’Alessio when he walked toward the Catamount’s third-base dugout. Barrett Shaft followed with a single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch and Steven Strausbaugh doubled off the left-field wall to put runners on second and third. But Zocchi struck out Trey McDaniel on three pitches and got Blake Murphy to pop up to end the threat.

A costly Catamount error led to four unearned runs for the Tigers in the top of the fifth inning. Widmann led off with a single up the middle and stole second on the pitch in which Doug Hogan struck out. After Herman Demmink walked and Brad Chalk popped up for out #2, Taylor Harbin hit another pop-up in the infield. But third-baseman Jonathan Greene dropped the ball after stumbling over the grass cutout, allowing Widmann to score. Colvin followed with a towering, three-run homer to right field, his seventh of the season, to give Clemson a 5-0 lead.

The Catamounts cut into the Clemson lead in the bottom of the fifth inning without the benefit of a hit. Donnie Wilson drew a one-out walk and was safe at second when Demmink booted a potential double-play ball off the bat of Gregory. After Haynes flied out for out #2, Hallam walked to load the bases. Zocchi’s wild pitch allowed Wilson to score, and Barrett Shaft loaded the bases again with a walk. But Zocchi struck out Strausbaugh looking on an 0-2 pitch to get out of the jam.

Clemson came right back and got the run back in the sixth inning when Smith lined the first pitch of the frame over the fence in right field. Smith’s fourth homer of the year was an opposite-field shot that just sliced inside the foul pole. Travis Storrer walked and Widmann doubled over the third-base bag to put runners on second and third with no outs. But the next two Tigers struck out and Chalk flied out to keep the score 6-1.

Gregory and Haynes, the #8 and #9 batters in the order, each hit the first pitch they saw over the fence in left field for solo home runs to lead off the seventh inning. It was Gregory’s second homer of the year and Haynes’ first career long ball, as it cut Clemson’s lead to 6-3. Two batters later, Shaft walked and Strausbaugh worked a 3-1 count. But Doug Hogan threw out Shaft at second on an attempted steal for the inning-ending double play.

McDaniel led off the eighth inning with a line-drive double to the gap in left-center, and the Tigers called on Steve Richard to take the mound. McDaniel moved to third on a wild pitch before Murphy popped up to shortstop for out #1. Greene followed with a walk on a 3-2 pitch, and the Tigers then called on Moskos. He promptly struck out Wilson on three pitches and got Gregory to ground out to end the inning.

After Western Carolina missed on a golden opportunity to narrow the margin, Clemson added two insurance runs in the ninth inning after the first two batters were retired. Colvin singled up the middle, then D’Alessio lined a two-run homer to left-center to give the Tigers an 8-3 lead. It was D’Alessio’s 11th long ball of the season. He hit the opposite-field homer without a contact lens in his right eye, as he lost it during the bottom of the eighth inning.

Moskos retired the Catamounts in order in the ninth inning to close out the game.

Prior to the game, there was a special ceremony to retire the #23 jersey of former Catamount player and head coach Keith LeClair. The one-time Southern Conference Player-of-the-Year has battled ALS for the past four years after serving as head coach at East Carolina. LeClair played and later coached under Jack Leggett at Western Carolina.

Clemson will play host to #7 South Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday at 7:00 PM. It will be the last of four regular-season matchups between the two rivals.