May 26, 2000
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Clemson, SC–Freshman Jeff Baker hit two home runs and Ryan Mottl pitched the first complete game shutout by a Clemson pitcher since 1996, leading Clemson to a 4-0 victory over Middle Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Regional at Kingsmore Stadium at Clemson, SC. Earlier in the day, Illinois defeated Old Dominion, 3-1.
Old Dominion will meet Middle Tennessee Saturday morning at 11:00 AM in an elimination game. Clemson will meet Illinois at 3:00 PM. There will also be a game at 7:00 PM featuring the winner of the morning game against the loser of the 3:00 PM game.
Baker homered in the fourth and the eighth innings. The blasts give him a team best 11 home runs this year. The total is tied for the second highest ever by a Clemson freshman. Jim McCollom also hit 11 homers his freshman year (1982). Matthew LeCroy, now with the Minnesota Twins, hit 15 homers in his freshman year, 1995.
Baker became the first Clemson player to hit two home runs in an NCAA Tournament game since Paul Galloway hit two against Navy at Kingsmore Stadium in an 8-4 Clemson win in 1995.
Mottl became the first Clemson pitcher since 1996 to pitch a complete game shutout. Ken Vining was the last to do it, he shutout Florida State 2-0 at Kingsmore Stadium on May 5, 1996. It was the second consecutive complete game for the Tiger senior, who beat Florida State in the ACC Tournament in his last outing. Mottl is the first Clemson pitcher to throw consecutive complete games since 1996 when Kris Benson, now a starter with the Pittsburgh Pirates, had four complete games at midseason.
For the night, Mottl struck out eight and walked just one. He allowed just four hits in upping his record to 9-3 for the season and 32-18 for his career. He is third in Clemson history in career victories, trailing only Brian Barnes (44) and Rusty Gerhardt (34).
Clemson gained the victory over former Clemson pitcher Jeff Parsons, who won an NCAA Tournament game for the Tigers in 1997. Parsons fell to 5-6, but pitched well, giving up just four runs in his 7 1/3 innings of work.
Clemson opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth when shortstop Jeff Baker hit his 10th home run of the season. The blast to right (opposite) field gave Clemson a 1-0 lead.
Clemson scored again in the fifth inning on two hits and a sacrifice. Brian Ellis led off the frame with a single to left. After a Justin Singleton sacrifice and a ground out, leadoff hitter Casey Stone singled to right to score Ellis.
Clemson made the count 3-0 in favor of the home team in the bottom of the seventh, again thanks to the work of Singleton and Ellis. With one out, Singleton doubled to right center. Riley then had an infield hit between third and short, sending Singleton to third. Stone then scored Singleton with a sacrifice fly.
Ryan Mottl was masterful for the first seven innings. During that time he allowed just two hits and did not walk a batter. He struck out seven over the first seven innings. Middle Tennessee’s only hits over the first seven innings were by Kris Lammers, a first inning single, and Bryan Peck, a fourth inning double.
Middle Tennessee did threaten against Mottl in the eighth. Kyle Thomas and Jason Conchin had leadoff singles. Brandon Johnson grounded out setting up a a first and third situation. Mottl struck out Wes Whitehead, but then walked Josh Renwick to load the bases. But Mottl got Kris Lammers to fly out to left field to end the inning.
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