May 31, 2002
CLEMSON, SC – Clemson established a new school record for home runs in an NCAA Tournament game with six as the top-seeded Tigers coasted to a 15-1 win over fourth seed Georgia Southern in the Clemson Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday night. The barrage was led by Khalil Greene and Jeff Baker, who each homered twice and tied the Clemson record for home runs in a season. Clemson (48-14) will move on to play East Carolina at 3:00 PM on Saturday while Georgia Southern (38-24) takes on Elon in an elimination game at 11:00 AM on Saturday.
Georgia Southern opened the scoring in the second inning with Matt Hammond’s solo home run, but Clemson answered in the bottom of the inning with Jarrod Schmidt’s RBI-single up the middle. Greene hit his 88th career double to lead off the third inning and Baker followed him by belting a line-drive home run over the fence in center. Baker’s 23rd home run of the year was the 58th of his career, tying him for fourth in ACC history, and it gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Three batters later, Zane Green launched his first career home run, a two-run shot, off the batters’ eye in center field to extend the advantage to 5-1.
Greene started things again in the fourth inning with a solo home run. The long ball was his 23rd of the year, tying him again with Baker for the team lead. The tie lasted only six pitches as Baker went deep again for his 24th home run of the season, tying the single-season Clemson record. The onslaught continued in the fifth inning. After Kyle Frank’s RBI-single, Roberto Valiente scored on a balk. Greene then capped the inning with another home run, this one a two-run homer, that gave him 24 for the season and gave Clemson a commanding 11-1 lead.
The Tigers went deep again in the seventh when Frank launched his fourth homer of the season, a two-run shot that made it a 13-1 game. Russell Triplett and Collin Mahoney came off the bench to add RBI-doubles in the eighth to make the final margin 15-1.
Steve Reba (13-2) threw just 67 pitches over six innings, allowing only one run off four hits while striking out two and walking none, to get the win. Ryan Childs pitched three scoreless innings to earn his first save of the season. Dennis Dove (7-4) got the loss for Georgia Southern.
Greene extended his hitting streak to 28 games with a single in the first inning and went 5-5 with two home runs and two doubles. Baker and Frank each added two hits and three RBIs for the Tigers. The multi-homer performances by Greene and Baker were only the sixth and seventh such efforts in the NCAA Tournament by a Clemson player.
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