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Fort Myers, Fla. – Clemson softball scored eight runs in the sixth inning, including Valerie Cagle hitting a walk-off two-run homer, to give the Tigers an 8-0 run-rule victory against Long Island University on Saturday afternoon at the FGCU Kickoff Classic.
“Today’s game was a great bounce back from last night,” said head coach John Rittman. “We played a tough Texas team yesterday who threw their All-American pitcher at us that resulted in a disappointing loss. I’m proud of how our team bounced back today. I give LIU’s pitcher credit for keeping us off balance for five innings. Adjustments between last night and today are harder at the beginning of the season. I think we had a strong team performance with big plays and at bats coming from everyone in the lineup.”
Redshirt sophomore Kyah Keller sparked the Clemson offense in the bottom of the sixth, stepping in as a pinch hitter and popping a single into left field with the bases loaded to break the scoreless game open.
The sixth inning started with Cagle reaching on an error by LIU’s first baseman and advancing to second. Alia Logoleo drew a walk, and Cammy Pereira was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Keller. Keller’s single scored Cagle and put the Sharks’ defense on their heels to allow Aby Vieira to hit a single of her own into right field, scoring two more runs for the Tigers.
Madison May kept things rolling for Clemson, reaching base on an error that scored Maddie Moore and Pereira. Graduate transfer Sam Russ stepped to the plate with one out and hit an RBI triple down the first base line to set up Cagle to hit the walk-off home run out of center field.
The young Clemson pitching staff kept the Tigers in the game, as sophomore Millie Thompson pitched the first three innings and picked up three strikeouts. Freshman Brooke McCubbin earned her first win in the circle, pitching the final three frames and adding three strikeouts of her own.
Clemson concludes weekend action tomorrow, Feb. 13 at 9:30 a.m. taking on Boston College in a non-conference matchup at the FGCU Kickoff Classic.
Photos by Charissa Coleman, Clemson Athletics