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Kirkpatrick’s Grand Slam Lifts Catamounts to 7-5 Win Over #16 Tigers Wednesday

Kirkpatrick’s Grand Slam Lifts Catamounts to 7-5 Win Over #16 Tigers Wednesday

April 14, 2010

Box Score

Clemson, SC –

Tyler Kirkpatrick’s grand slam in the seventh inning lifted Western Carolina to a 7-5 win over #16 Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday night. The Catamounts improved to 22-9-1, while the Tigers fell to 23-11.

Clemson took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on John Hinson’s two-run homer, then Wilson Boyd broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run single in the fifth inning. But the Catamounts loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh and Kirkpatrick’s go-ahead long ball proved to be the difference in their two-run win.

Andrew Chilcoat (1-0), the fourth of six Catamount pitchers, earned the win by pitching a perfect sixth inning. Daniel Ottone retired all five batters he faced over 2.0 innings pitched to record his seventh save of the year.

Tiger reliever Mike Kent (1-1) suffered the loss, as he yielded four runs on two hits and two walks. Starter Dominic Leone tied his career-high by tossing 6.0 innings. He allowed six hits, three runs (two earned), and one walk with six strikeouts.

The Tigers grabbed the game’s first lead in the first inning. Chris Epps led off with a walk and Will Lamb singled to left-center. After Jeff Schaus’ sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base, Kyle Parker’s groundout plated Epps. Hinson followed with a two-out, two-run homer to right-center on a 2-2 pitch, his fifth long ball of the season. It also extended his hitting streak to 14 games, tied for the longest by a Tiger in 2010.

The Catamounts dented the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Kirkpatrick hit a one-out single on an 0-2 pitch through the left side and went to second on Ollie Goulder’s groundout. After Tyler White was hit-by-pitch, Trevor Collias blooped a single to center to score Kirkpatrick.

In the top of the fifth inning, Austin Schultz led off with a single to right-center and Dylan de Graaf reached on a bunt single. Cameron Dullnig also laid down a bunt that Leone threw away, allowing Schultz to score from second. Matt Johns then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to bring home de Graaf, tying the score 3-3.

Clemson regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks in part to a costly Catamount error. Lamb reached on a one-out fielding error by Johns at second. After Parker walked and Hinson was hit-by-pitch to load the bases, Boyd laced a two-out single through the left side on an 0-2 pitch to plate Lamb and Parker.

The Catamounts mounted a rally in the seventh inning. de Graaf led off with a walk on four pitches and Dullnig followed with a walk. Johns loaded the bases when he reached on a bunt single. Kirkpatrick then belted the next pitch over the fence in left-center for a grand slam, his ninth long ball of the season, to give Western Carolina a 7-5 lead.

Kirkpatrick led Western Carolina’s 11-hit attack by going 3-for-5 with a grand slam and two runs. Johns and Collias added two hits apiece.

Boyd went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs, and a walk to lead Clemson, who totaled four hits.

Clemson was without the services of senior Mike Freeman against Western Carolina, as he was out due to an illness. It broke his streak of 148 consecutive starts overall and 146 straight starts at second base dating to 2008.

Conversely, sophomore Jason Stolz, who had missed double-figure games due to injury, started his first game since March 23. He also made his first career start at second base.

Clemson will travel down I-85 to play a three-game series at #5 Georgia Tech starting Friday at 7:00 PM.