TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Morgan Johnson’s pinch-hit double to lead off the seventh inning sparked Clemson (44-7) to a 4-2 victory against Troy in an elimination game at the Tuscaloosa Regional on Saturday evening. Johnson would later come around to score the go-ahead run on McKenzie Clark’s single.
Clemson advances to play third-seeded Alabama at 2 p.m. eastern on Sunday in an elimination game for the Tigers on ESPN3 and WCCP 105.5 FM. If Clemson were to win, the Tigers and Tide would meet again Sunday at 4:30 p.m. to determine the Regional winner in the double-elimination format.
Johnson, a freshman from Georgia, entered as a pinch hitter to open the 7th and drove the second pitch she saw into left center for a double, her seventh extra-base-hit of the year. After advancing to third on a passed ball, Johnson scored the go-ahead run when Clark hit a well-placed ball to shortstop that didn’t draw a throw.
After stealing second, Clark scored when Gilstrap hit a ball up the middle which bounced off the pitcher and into left field. Alia Logoleo later singled in Gilstrap to give Clemson a 4-1 lead.
Troy threatened in the bottom of the seventh against Valerie Cagle. After a leadoff single, a costly throwing error put runners on second and third with nobody out. A nubber to third made it 4-2. Cagle then got Katie Webb to line out to Casey Bigham at third base on the eleventh pitch of her at-bat. Arielle Oda caught the two-out liner to right to close the game.
Cagle pitched 2.2 innings in relief to earn the victory, upping her record to 28-6 on the year. Starter Millie Thompson and Regan Spencer combined to allow just one run on three scattered hits in 4.1 innings pitched.
Gilstrap knocked in the game’s first run on an infield RBI single in the top of the third. Gilstrap hit a high bouncing ball in between the Troy third baseman and shortstop, which gave Casey Bigham enough time to touch home to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The RBI was Gilstrap’s 20th of the season.
The Trojans responded in their half of the third, taking advantage of a Clemson throwing error with runners on the corners, but Tiger pitching quieted the Tojans the rest of the afternoon.
Clark also shined defensively for the Tigers, having recorded two assists from centerfield.
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CASEY BIGHAM 🙌She comes up with a clutch doubleplay to get us out of a jam and end the inning!📺 ESPN3 pic.twitter.com/UZwi3WNAup— Clemson Softball 🥎 (@clemsonsoftball) May 22, 2021
CASEY BIGHAM 🙌
She comes up with a clutch doubleplay to get us out of a jam and end the inning!
📺 ESPN3 pic.twitter.com/UZwi3WNAup
— Clemson Softball 🥎 (@clemsonsoftball) May 22, 2021
🤯🤯🤯KYAH KELLER (@KyahRayK) saves a potential run with a diving stop at first‼️📺 ESPN3#SCTop10 #D1Top10 pic.twitter.com/UwSv0UKFfp— Clemson Softball 🥎 (@clemsonsoftball) May 22, 2021
KYAH KELLER (@KyahRayK) saves a potential run with a diving stop at first‼️
📺 ESPN3#SCTop10 #D1Top10 pic.twitter.com/UwSv0UKFfp
MCKENZIE CLARK BREAKS A 1-1 TIE IN THE SEVENTH 🙌📺 ESPN3 pic.twitter.com/oePvzjTytr— Clemson Softball 🥎 (@clemsonsoftball) May 22, 2021
MCKENZIE CLARK BREAKS A 1-1 TIE IN THE SEVENTH 🙌
📺 ESPN3 pic.twitter.com/oePvzjTytr
AND NOW IT'S ANSLEY'S TURN‼️She adds an insurance run in the top of the seventh! We lead, 3-1!📺 ESPN3 pic.twitter.com/jmzHiaPH8z— Clemson Softball 🥎 (@clemsonsoftball) May 22, 2021
AND NOW IT'S ANSLEY'S TURN‼️
She adds an insurance run in the top of the seventh! We lead, 3-1!
📺 ESPN3 pic.twitter.com/jmzHiaPH8z
John Rittman & Ansley Gilstrap