June 5, 2011
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Clemson, SC –
Ryan Fuller’s walkoff single with two outs in the ninth inning scored L.J. Mazzilli to give #16 Connecticut a 7-6 victory over #12 Clemson in the Clemson Regional in front of 4,877 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday night. The Huskies, who stayed alive and moved to 3-1 in the Clemson Regional, improved to 44-18-1 on the season. The Tigers, who fell to 2-1 in the Clemson Regional, dropped to 43-19 in 2011. It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
The Tigers held a 4-1 lead before Doug Elliot’s two-out, two-run homer in the sixth inning cut Clemson’s lead to one run. The Huskies rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to take a 6-4 lead, but Spencer Kieboom’s two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth inning tied the score. However, Connecticut put its leadoff batter on base in the bottom of the ninth inning and Fuller’s two-out single through the left side plated Mazzilli from second base for the winning run.
Kevin Vance (1-0) earned the win despite allowing two runs on three hits in the ninth inning.
Scott Weismann (3-5) gave up one run on three hits in 1.0 innings pitched and suffered the loss.
The Huskies took the game’s first lead in the second inning. Nick Ahmed led off with a double to right-center on a 1-2 pitch and scored on Elliot’s single to right field.
The Tigers responded with a two-out rally in the third inning to tie the score. John Hinson reached on an infield single to second base with two outs and stole second. After Brad Miller grounded a single up the middle to score Hinson.
In the fourth inning, Jeff Schaus grounded a one-single through the right side and stole second. After Chris Epps walked and Jason Stolz reached on an infield single to short to load the bases, Kieboom lofted a sacrifice fly to left-center to score Schaus and give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Clemson took advantage of a Husky error to double its lead in the fifth inning. Miller drew a one-out walk and went third base on Will Lamb’s single through the right side. On the play, Lamb was thrown out for out #2 when he tried to take second base after right-fielder John Andreoli fumbled the ball. Richie Shaffer then grounded an 0-2 pitch to Ahmed at short. His throw to first was errant, allowing Miller to score.
In the top of the sixth inning, Epps led off with a bunt single and advanced to second on Stolz’s groundout to second. Two batters later, Hinson lined a two-out single to right field to score Epps.
Ahmed grounded a two-out single through the left side in the bottom of the sixth inning. Elliot followed with a towering two-run homer to left field, his second long ball of the season, to cut Clemson’s lead to 4-3.
In the eighth inning, George Springer led off with a single through the right side and advanced to second on Mike Nemeth’s sacrifice bunt. Fuller reached on an infield single to second as Springer advanced to third base, then Ahmed reached on a bunt single that drove home Springer to tie the score. Elliot grounded out to second base on a hit-and-run that moved the runners up a base, then Tim Martin lined a two-out single to left field to score Fuller and Ahmed, giving the Huskies a 6-4 lead.
Lamb led off the top of the ninth inning with an infield single. Two batters later, Schaus lined a one-out single to center, then Epps walked on six pitches to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Jon McGibbon struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for out #2, but Kieboom came through with a single to left field to score Lamb and Schaus, tying the score 6-6.
Mazzilli led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a single through the left side on an 0-2 pitch and advanced to second on Andreoli’s sacrifice bunt. After Springer was intentionally walked, Nemeth struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for out #2. But Fuller, who fouled off two two-strike pitches, grounded a 2-2 pitch through the left side for a single that scored Mazzilli for the winning run.
Ahmed led Connecticut’s 14-hit attack by going 3-for-4 with a double, RBI, and three runs. Elliot, who entered the game 0-for-12 in the Clemson Regional, was 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. Every Husky had at least one hit in the game. Connecticut was 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position, 6-for-12 with two outs, and totaled five two-out RBIs as well.
Lamb went 3-for-5 with a run to lead the Tigers, who totaled 12 hits. However, the Tigers stranded 13 runners on base, including seven in scoring position, and only scored six of their 21 baserunners.
Clemson will face Connecticut again in a decisive Game 7 for the Clemson Regional Championship on Monday at 7:00 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers will be the designated home team.
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