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Tigers Explode in 8th To Pad 18-7 Win Over Furman

Tigers Explode in 8th To Pad 18-7 Win Over Furman

April 23, 2002

Clemson, SC-

Khalil Greene hammered a first-inning three-run homer and drove in five runs on the night, leading #1 ranked Clemson to an 18-7 college baseball victory over Furman on Tuesday night at Clemson’s Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson improved to 35-5 with the victory, while Furman fell to 18-23.

The Tigers travel to South Carolina for a Wednesday evening game. Clemson will be back home this weekend for a three-game series with third-ranked Wake Forest.

The victory was the 29th in a row for Clemson over Furman dating to 1984. The Tigers exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the eighth to break the game open. Jeff Baker, the 50th of his Clemson career and his 16th of the season. He became just the fourth player in Clemson history to hit 50 home runs in a career. Jarrod Schmidt and Russell Triplett each had two hits in the productive eighth inning. It was the first time Clemson had scored 10 runs in the eighth inning since Feb. 27, 1980 when Clemson scored 10 in a win over Georgia at Clemson. It marked the third time this year Clemson has scored double digit runs in one inning.

Steven Jackson got the win for Clemson, improving his record to 5-1. Furman starter Brian Corcoran took the loss and fell to 1-3. Paul Harrelson got the save, his eighth of the season, one of the top 20 totals in the nation.

Clemson had 18 hits on the night. Jarrod Schmidt led the way with three hits, while six other Tigers had two hits apiece. Seven different Clemson players scored a pair of runs.

Furman had hitting stars as well. Ryan Presnell, a senior from Elizabethton, TN, had three hits and four RBIs including a home run. Derek Norman added three hits and scored twice.

Clemson took a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Khalil Greene, then laced a three-run homer to center field. It was the 13th home run of the season for Greene, who entered the game hitting a team best .444. Clemson added another run in the first when Jeff Baker singled, Russell Triplett hit a sacrifice fly.

Clemson made it 5-0 in the second on four straight walks, all of which were issued by Corcoran. Greene got the fourth walk and thus the RBI, giving him four runs batted in for the first two innings of the game.

Patrick Griffin then came in for Furman and settled down the Paladins. The Tigers did not score the rest of the second inning and went down one-two-three in the third. Clemson added a run in the fourth on a single by Kyle Frank, and an error by shortstop Danny Rueckel on a batted ball by Greene. Frank increased his hitting streak to 12 games with that safety.

Jackson was outstanding over his first four innings. He retired the first 11 men he faced and allowed just one run for his first six innings. The Paladins broke through with a run on a double by Presnell and a single by Coogie Freedman in the fifth.

The Tigers had a comfortable 8-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh, but the Paladin bats then came alive. Derek Norman started the uprising with a single to left. One-out later, Dominic Frankey singled to left. Presnell then followed with his third home run of the season, a shot down the left field line. The Paldins added another run on a double by Rueckel and a throwing error by Clemson reserve second baseman Garrick Evans on a play that would have ended the inning.

Furman added two more runs in the top of the eighth to draw within, 8-7. Ryan Childs came on for Jackson, who had pitched the entire seventh inning. Childs gave up consecutive singles to Craig Caudill, Norman and catcher Drew Latora to open the inning. Jeff Hahn came on in relief and struck out Frankey with the bases loaded, but Presnell came through with his third straight hit, a single to left to score Caudill. Freedman then plated Norman on an infield out.

Paul Harrelson and the submariner got Rueckel to ground back to the pitchers mound to end the inning and preserve the 8-7 lead.

Clemson then put the game out of reach with the 10-spot in the bottom of the eighth. Jarrod Schmidt and Russell Triplett. Two outs later, Valiente delivered a two-run single to center to score Johnson and Schmidt, giving Clemson a three-run lead heading to the ninth. Clemson scored eight more in the frame, highlighted by Baker’s homer.