Feb. 13, 1998
CLEMSON, SC–Brooks Jernigan and John Payne combined to limit 16th ranked Clemson to one run, in a 6-1 East Carolina victory at Tiger Field Friday afternoon. It was the first time since 1985 that Clemson had lost its home opener.
The Tigers had opened the season last weekend with three wins over teams that had been to the NCAA Tournament last year, South Florida, Central Florida and Auburn. East Carolina had opened with a loss to Duke.
It was the first win for first-year East Carolina Coach Keith LeClair, who used to be Clemson Coach Jack Leggett’s assistant at Western Carolina in the mid-1980s. The same two teams meet at Tiger Field Saturday at 2:00 PM and Sunday at 1:00 PM.
The Pirates first three players in the order, Antaine Jones, Chris Shaffer and Randy Rigsby, each had two hits, while cleanup hitter Steve Salargo had a pair of RBIs. The win raised East Carolina’s record to 1-1, while Clemson fell to 3-1. East Carolina played errorless baseball for the second straight game. The Pirates had just four errorless games all of 1997.
Clemson had seven hits offensively. Doug Roper was the only player with two hits for the Tigers.
East Carolina scored all the runs it needed in the third when the Pirates registered a four-spot off Clemson starter and loser Matt White (0-1). With one out, leadoff hitter Antaine Jones singled to left. He moved to third on a single down the right field line by Pirate third baseman Chris Shaffer. When Shaffer stole second, White through the ball into the outfield, allowing Jones to score the first run.
After Randy Rigsby was hit by a pitch and stole second, Salargo doubled down the right field line to score Shaffer and Rigsby. After Salargo stole third and remained there when John Williamson struck out. But, Ryan Massimo executed a bunt single down the third baseline to score Salargo with the fourth run of the frame.
East Carolina scored two more runs in the sixth. This time, Macon Jones started the inning with a single. He moved to second on the ground out and scored on a double to right center by Antaine Jones. Jones scored later in the inning on a ground out to shortstop by Shaffer.
Clemson avoided the shutout with a run in the bottom of the ninth. Co-captain Derek Borgert walked and was followed by a single by Peter Nystrom. After a balk, Casey Stone plated Borgert with a grounded out to second.
Jernigan started and went 5 1/3 innings before Payne came on. Jernigan allowed six hits, but no runs. He struck out four and walked two. Payned earned a save for his 3 2/3 innings of work.
White lasted 4 1/3 for Clemson. He allowed seven hits and four runs, three of which were earned. He struck out four and walked two.
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