March 9, 2008
Winston-Salem, NC –
Freshman Kyle Parker tied a school record with three home runs, including the game-tying three-run homer in the ninth inning, and went 5-for-5 with five runs scored and seven RBIs in #17 Clemson’s 12-11 comeback win over Wake Forest in the second game of a doubleheader in front of 1,065 fans at Hooks Stadium on Sunday.
The Tigers trailed 11-5 heading into the eighth inning, but they scored three runs in the eighth inning and four runs in the ninth inning for the dramatic come-from-behind victory. After Parker’s three-run homer tied the score in the ninth inning, Stan Widmann hit a two-out single to plate the go-ahead run, scored by J.D. Burgess.
Clemson improved to 7-4 overall and 1-2 in ACC play, while the Demon Deacons, who won the series 2-1, fell to 7-5 overall and 2-1 in the ACC.
Parker totaled 15 total bases, as he had a two-run double and single along with his three home runs, the first two of which were solo shots. He became the 12th Tiger in history to hit three long balls in a game and first since Taylor Harbin accomplished the feat as a freshman at N.C. State in 2005. Parker entered the game with just one home run and two RBIs in his first eight games (seven starts). His 5-for-5 performance also gave him a team-best .382 batting average through the team’s first 11 games.
Freshman Trent Rothlin (1-0) earned the win in relief, as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning with a strikeout. Matt Vaughn also pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his fourth save of the year. Craig Gullickson, Justin Sarratt, Rothlin, and Vaughn combined to allow no hits and no runs in the final four innings as well.
Wake Forest closer Brad Kledzik (0-1), who was vying for his third save of the series, allowed the last three runs on three hits to suffer the loss.
Willy Fox gave Wake Forest a 1-0 lead in the first inning when he hit a solo home run to left field, his first of the season.
Clemson responded with three runs in the top of the second inning. Ben Paulsen led off and reached on a fielding error, and he went to third base on Jeff Schaus’ double down the left-field line. Parker followed with another double down the left-field line to score Paulsen and Schaus. Two batters later, Chris Epps blooped a single to center to move Parker to third. Mike Freeman then bounced a single over the first-baseman’s head to score Parker.
In the bottom of the second inning, Wake Forest went from two runs down to two runs up thanks in part to a costly Tiger error. Leadoff batter Ian Tomkins reached when Widmann dropped a pop up in the infield. Andy Goff and Ben Terry followed with singles, then Steven Brooks walked to bring home Tomkins. Fox then slapped a single through the left side to score Goff and Terry. Allan Dykstra’s pop up to right field that fell for a single loaded the bases, then Brett Linnenkohl’s sacrifice fly to center brought home Brooks.
Parker cut Wake Forest’s lead in half in the fourth inning when he hit a solo homer to right field. Two batters later, Epps singled to right and Freeman followed with a single through the right side. Widmann then hit a deep drive into the wind in left field that was caught at the wall.
The Demon Deacons came right back and upped their lead to 10-4 in the bottom of the fourth inning with five runs. Fox walked with one out and two batters later, Linnenkohl was hit-by-pitch. Dustin Hood followed with a single to right field to score Fox. Tomkins’ single through the left side plated Linnenkohl and Evan Ocheltree followed with a single up the middle to score Hood. Burgess’ throw to third base was wild, allowing Tomkins to score. Goff then doubled down the left-field line to score Ocheltree.
Wake Forest added a run in the fifth inning on Hood’s single through the left side that scored Dykstra, who earlier drew a two-out walk.
Parker led off the sixth inning with a solo homer to left field into a stiff breeze.
In the top of the eighth inning, Schaus led off with a walk and went to second on Parker’s single through the left side. Two batters later, Epps hit a potential inning-ending double play grounder, but Goff booted the ball, allowing Clemson to load the bases. Freeman followed with a single to left-center to score Schaus and Parker. After Widmann was hit-by-pitch to load the bases, Wilson Boyd grounded out to score Epps.
In the top of the ninth inning, Paulsen and Schaus led off with walks. Parker then hit a towering three-run homer to left field, his third of the game and fourth of the season, to tie the score. Burgess followed with a single up the middle. After Epps struck out, Burgess stole second. Two batters later, Widmann laced a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a two-out single to score Burgess, giving Clemson a 12-11 lead.
Along with Parker’s five hits, Freeman added three singles and three RBIs for the Tigers, who outhit the Demon Deacons 15-11. Fox paced the Demon Deacons with two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs.
Clemson will play host to North Carolina-Greensboro in a two-game, midweek series beginning Tuesday at 4:00 PM.
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