May 21, 1999
Clemson tied an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament record by turning four double plays and got seven scoreless innings from three relief pitchers en route to a 7-6 victory over Maryland on Friday.
The Tigers (36-23) advanced to play top-seeded Florida State on Saturday, while the Terrapins (23-33-1) were ousted from the double-elimination tourney. Maryland was attempting to become the first No. 8 seed to make the semifinals since Duke did it in 1983.
“Hopefully, we’ve gained some respect around the league from fans and participants,” said Maryland coach Tom Bradley.
Clemson turned double plays in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings while clinging to a one-run lead.
In the eighth, Chuck Easter was doubled off first after Jason Mohap popped a bunt to Clemson catcher Brian Ellis. Brian Patenaude’s pinch-hit double a batter later may have scored Easter had he not been doubled up.
“Anytime that happens, especially in the latter part of the game, that hurts you,” said Bradley. “We had our opportunities.”
Once again, Clemson’s offense was a sore spot. The Tigers pulled out the win despite stranding 14 runners one day after being two-hit by Wake Forest’s Mike MacDougal.
Clemson coach Jack Leggett had a lengthy talk with his club after the win.
“I don’t look at this as a negative,” Leggett said. “My job is to point out what went wrong. That’s exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
“Anytime you don’t pitch well or hit well with men on base that really jumps out at you,” Leggett added. “It stares you right in the face, so it’s easy to say that things didn’t go well.”
The game started with an offensive bang as Maryland led 6-5 after three innings as starters Joe Hart for the Terrapins and Mike Proto for the Tigers didn’t last long.
But Thomas Boozer worked four scoreless innings of relief for the Tigers, Brian Adams one inning and Chris Heck closed the door over the final two innings for his fourth save of the season. The trio allowed only four combined hits as Clemson has now won its last eight one-run games.
“We talked about being ready to play and how much we have to be a little more on our guard, a little more aggressive, a little more enthusiastic, a little more concentration,” Leggett said of Saturday’s matchup with highly-ranked Florida State.
Patrick Boyd was 2-for-3 with three RBI to lead the Clemson offensive attack, including a two-run homer in the first. Meanwhile, Craig Munroe belted his 16th home run of the season for Maryland and second in as many games.
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