CLEMSON, S.C. – The No. 17/15 Clemson softball team won both games on day two of the Tiger Invitational. The Tigers started the day strong with a 4-0 shutout against Illinois in the program’s 100th game and continued the momentum into the second game to capture a 5-4 extra-inning victory against Liberty. After today’s results, the Tigers improve to 16-6 on the season.
Game vs. Illinois
Box Score | Box Score (PDF)
In Clemson’s 100th game in program history, left-handed pitcher Millie Thompson set a new career record with 11 strikeouts on the day, eight swinging and three looking, to lead the Tigers past Illinois. With only five hits, no walks and 68 strikes on 88 pitches, Thompson went the distance to record the first complete-game shutout of her career.
The Tigers struck first with an RBI-single lined up the middle in the second by Bailey Taylor. Cammy Pereira touched home plate after she reached base on a walk and advanced to scoring position at second with a productive at-bat from Alia Logoleo.
Clemson tacked on the runs after beginning the fourth inning with JoJo Hyatt hitting a lead-off single. McKenzie Clark then reached second on a fielding error in center field that set up Marissa Guimbarda to launch a ball deep out of dead center, extending the Tiger’s lead to 4-0.
Neither team would add any additional runs through the final three innings to give Clemson its 10th shutout this season. With the win, the softball program tied women’s tennis for the most wins through a program’s first 100 games at Clemson with a 78-22 overall record. With that record, head coach John Rittman has also solidified himself as the winningest coach among active head coaches at Clemson surpassing Monte Lee (baseball) and Dabo Swinney (football), who each held a 74-26 record.
Game vs. Liberty
Box Score | Box Score (PDF)
Game two of the day needed extra innings to decide the winner as things remained tied 3-3 after seven. The Tigers started with a bang as graduate transfer Sam Russ ripped a solo homer out of right field in the first. It was her first home run as a Tiger and gave CU a 1-0 lead over the Flames.
Liberty responded in the third scoring an unearned run off a throwing error on an attempt to catch a runner stealing to tie things up. The Flames took the advantage, 3-1, the next inning with a two-run homer.
Clemson answered with a single run in the bottom of the sixth after Taylor recorded her third hit of the day, second of the game, into center field. Taylor brought home Arielle Oda who was pinch running for Guimbarda after Guimbarda led off the inning with a double into right center.
The Tigers went into the bottom of the seventh looking to rally and were able to tie-it-up, 3-3, with a two-out walk from Russ, then a stolen base that was immediately followed up by a hit from Valerie Cagle into right field to bring home speedy Russ.
The Flames put on the pressure in extra innings by manufacturing one run with the international tiebreaker rule. The Tigers headed into their half of the eighth inning down 4-3. Ansley Houston, base running at second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt that was reached on by Periera after the Flames’ infielder bobbled the ball. With two outs, the Tigers brought up pinch-hitter Kyah Keller who battled at the plate and ripped her seventh pitch between shortstop and second base to bring home both runners and give the Tigers an extra-innings walk off win.
Freshman Brooke McCubbin earned her third victory in the circle after pitching the final four innings with five strikeouts. Sophomore Regan Spencer started the game and pitched four innings with one strikeout for the Tigers.
The Tigers return to action tomorrow to conclude the Tiger Invitational with a single game against Liberty at 4 p.m. Tickets for the newly scheduled game versus Liberty are as follows: Season ticket holders have received a mobile ticket in their normal season ticket location for Monday’s game.
Additional single game tickets are available on the berm to purchase here.
Monday is a newly scheduled ticket, no previous tickets are eligible for this game.
Photos courtesy of: Dawson Powers and Alana McCallion, Clemson Athletics