CLEMSON, S.C. – Sam Russ set the single season record for stolen bases at Clemson and McKenzie Clark and Valerie Cagle hit home runs as the Tigers defeated Georgia Tech, 4-1, on Friday night to open the last ACC series of the regular season. With the win, Clemson improves to 35-14 (12-10 ACC) as the Yellow Jackets fall to 36-13 (11-11 ACC).
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Georgia Tech began the game with a leadoff double that was immediately followed by a ball ripped up the middle to score the runner from second and give the Yellow Jackets the first lead of the day. The Tigers’ bats responded in the bottom of the first, initiated by Cammy Pereira hitting a double into left field. Clark, who’s bat has been hot for the month of April, snuck a hard hit ball right inside the left field foul pole for a two-run homer on just the fourth pitch in the bottom of the first.
Clemson made a push to add more runs in the first after Russ drew a walk and then stole second on the first pitch of the next at bat. The stolen base was Russ’ 23rd of the season to tie Clemson’s single season record, which Clark set last season. Russ advanced around to third but was left stranded as the Tigers held a 2-1 lead after one.
Georgia Tech made an attempt to even things in the third after loading the bases with only one out, but sophomore pitcher Millie Thompson got out of the jam with a strikeout and a forced ground out. Valerie Cagle extended the Tigers’ lead in the bottom of the third with a solo bomb that soared well out of right field. Marissa Guimbarda, who Carlee Shannon pinch ran for, drew a walk. Russ advanced Shannon into scoring position on a ground out to allow freshman Aby Vieira to hit an RBI single, extending the Tigers’ lead to 4-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Russ singled through the right side to get on base. She then stole her 24th base of the year to become Clemson’s new record holder for single season stolen bases and move her career total to 127, which leads the NCAA.
Thompson went the distance in the circle for the sixth time this year, picking up five strikeouts while only giving up one walk to improve to 11-3.
The Tigers and Yellow Jackets continue the series tomorrow afternoon at McWhorter. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. on RSN.
Photos Courtesy of Alana McCallion, Clemson Athletics