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Gossett, Long Balls Lead Clemson to 11-0 Victory Over Winthrop Tuesday

Gossett, Long Balls Lead Clemson to 11-0 Victory Over Winthrop Tuesday

April 3, 2012

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Clemson, SC –

Freshman righthander Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Tuesday night. The Tigers improved to 15-13, while the Eagles dropped to 9-21. The start of the game, which was slated for 6:30 PM, was delayed 82 minutes due to inclement weather.

The Tigers took a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning before blowing the game open with six runs in the fourth. Meanwhile, Gossett retired the first 15 batters before surrendering a leadoff single in the sixth inning. He gave up two hits in the sixth, but he held the Eagles off the scoreboard and allowed the Tigers to record their first shutout of the season.

Gossett (3-2) was masterful in his first career start at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. In 7.0 innings pitched, he allowed just three hits (all singles), no runs, and no walks with a career-high 13 strikeouts. His 13 strikeouts were the most by a Tiger since May 31, 2009, when freshman lefthander Chris Dwyer totaled 13 strikeouts against Oklahoma State in the Tigers’ 15-1 win in the Clemson Regional.

Josh Strong (0-2), the first of six Eagle hurlers, suffered the loss. He gave up two hits, one run, and two walks in 2.0 innings pitched.

For the fourth game in a row, Clemson took the game’s first lead. In the second inning, Spencer Kieboom drew a one-out walk. Two batters later with two outs, Garrett Boulware was hit by a 1-2 pitch, then Thomas Brittle flared a 1-2 pitch to left-center for a single to score Kieboom.

Richie Shaffer doubled Clemson’s lead in the third inning when he blasted a solo homer down the left-field line, his seventh long ball of the season. Two batters later, Jon McGibbon grounded a two-out single through the right side and Kieboom followed with a double down the right-field line to score McGibbon.

In the fourth inning, the Tigers added six runs to their lead. Brittle was hit by a 1-2 pitch to lead off the inning, then Steve Wilkerson reached on a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Jay Baum followed with a single to left-center to score Brittle, then Shaffer singled through the left side on a 1-2 pitch to score Wilkerson. Phil Pohl gave Clemson an 8-0 lead when he belted a three-run homer to left field, his fifth long ball of the year. Three batters later with two outs, Jason Stolz lined a solo homer to left field, his second long ball of the year. The senior hit exactly one home run in each of his first three seasons as a Tiger.

The Eagles finally put a batter on base in the sixth inning when Matt Lobacz led off with an infield single. Chas Crane followed with a single through the right side. But Winthrop was unable to dent the scoreboard.

In the seventh inning, Stolz led off with a walk and Boulware singled through the left side. Pinch-hitter Brad Felder ripped a single off the pitcher to plate Stolz, then pinch-hitter Mike Dunster grounded into a double play that allowed Boulware to score.

Baum, Shaffer, McGibbon, and Boulware all had two hits apiece to pace Clemson’s 14-hit attack. Shaffer went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs, two runs, and one walk, while Pohl had a game-high three RBIs on his long ball. Stolz added a home run to give Clemson a season-high three homers in the game. Every Tiger starter had at least one hit by the end of the fourth inning as well.

Four different Eagles had one hit apiece, as Winthrop totaled just four hits in the contest. Jason Driver went 0-for-4, as his 16-game hitting streak and 22-game streak of reaching base both came to an end.

The contest marked the return of Winthrop Head Coach Tom Riginos, who served as an assistant coach at Clemson from 2003-10 and helped coach the Tigers to College World Series berths in 2006 and 2010. Also returning to Tigertown were Winthrop Assistant Coaches Ben Hall (2005,06) and Wilson Boyd (2007-10), who both lettered multiple times at Clemson.

Clemson will conclude its home-and-home season series against Western Carolina when it hosts the Catamounts at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday at 4:00 PM. The game was originally scheduled to start at 6:30 PM, but the threat of inclement weather forced the change.