Photos by Abbie Skeen, Clemson Athletics
CLEMSON, S.C. — The No. 18 Clemson Tigers (26-4, 18-4 ACC) secured the four-game series sweep over the North Carolina Tar Heels (10-12, 6-7 ACC) on Saturday behind home runs by Marissa Guimbarda and McKenzie Clark. Nine Tigers earned hits, resulting in the 9-1 six-inning victory.
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Valerie Cagle took a shutout into the sixth inning and earned the complete-game win, advancing to 16-3 on the season. Tar Heel pitcher Katie Grace Olinger suffered the loss and fell to 0-2 in her second start.
The Tigers improved to 21-0 on the season when hitting at least one home run in their 10th multi-home-run game of the season. Both Guimbarda and Clark hit the fourth and fifth home runs of the series, each with a runner on base.
Clemson opened the scoring in the third inning, when Guimbarda launched a two-out, two-run shot to dead centerfield, her eighth homer of the season. Clemson plated two more runs in the two-out rally thanks to timely hits by Abi Stuart and Kyah Keller to open up a 4-0 Tiger lead.
Clemson’s offense struck again in the following inning when JoJo Hyatt reached base with a leadoff single and Clark blasted her fourth home run of the year well over the left field wall.
North Carolina scored their sole run of the game on an RBI-single in the top of the sixth, but the Tigers responded in their half of the frame, when Clark notched a single to left field and knocked in her third RBI of the game, increasing the Clemson lead to 7-1. A pinch hit RBI-double by Morgan Johnson set the stage for Cagle to walk off the game. She did just that with a line drive over the head of the Carolina right fielder to score Clark.
Up next, Clemson travels to Notre Dame (17-9, 9-7 ACC) for a four-game conference series, which begins Friday at 5 p.m.
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