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Tigers Rally to Down Creighton in UNLV/Coors Desert Classic Finale

February 28, 1999

Box Score

LAS VEGAS – After being down 8-2 in the fifth inning, Clemson rallied to score 11 unanswered runs to defeat Creighton 13-10 on Sunday evening in Las Vegas, NV. Clemson improved To 5-3 while Creighton fell to 9-3.

Preseason All-America righthander Ryan Mottl (1-0) pitched 7.1 innings out of the bullpen to earn the win. Mottl allowed just five hits and two earned runs while striking out eight Bluejays. It was also Mottl’s first career relief appearance in his 35th outing over two-plus seasons.

The Tigers got on the board in the first when Brian Ellis led off with a single to left center, advanced to second on a wild pickoff attempt, and scored on Henri Stanley’s single up the middle. Jason Harris then plated Stanley, who had stole second base, with a chopper (single) through the right side.

Creighton responded in the second with seven runs after the first two batters of the inning were retired. Vince Pietro walked with the bases loaded and Ryan Gripp followed with a two-run single to right field. Pietro then scored when second baseman Kurt Bultmann booted a ground ball. After Tiger starter Skip Browning was relieved by Matt Henrie, Rhett Dwyer blooped a single to right center to plate two more runs. Ryan Mottl then hit Chris Hinrichs with the bases loaded.

The Bluejays added a run in the fifth inning. Hinrichs singled to right and was safe at second when Mottl attempted to throw him out on Eric Groen’s bunt. Troy Carley sacrificed the runners up a base and Hinrinchs scored on a wild pitch.

Clemson rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 8-8. The Tigers scored all six runs before an out was recorded. Kyle Frank led off with a single to right and Ellis walked. Stanley then blooped a single to left field to load the bases. Bultmann and Harris followed with two-run doubles each and Khalil Greene tied the game with a long two-run homer to left field. Greene finished the five-game tournament 11-for-24 (.458) with two homers and 12 RBIs.

Stanley gave the Tigers a 10-8 lead in the sixth inning with a home run over the centerfield fence, plating Ellis, who had walked. Both Ellis and Stanley, Clemson’s top two hitters in the batting lineup, reached base in each of their first four plate appearances. The Tigers added another run when Bultmann scored on Justin Singleton’s line-drive single to right field. The hit broke Singleton’s 0-for-9 slump.

Stanley added to his perfect day at the plate with an RBI double off the centerfield fence, plating Frank, who had doubled down the left field line. Stanley, a junior from Columbia, SC, was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs.

Harris added an insurance run in the eighth inning on a towering homer down the right field line. Harris finished the game 3-for-5 with a double, homer, and four RBIs.

Creighton rallied in the top of the ninth. Dan Lawler scored on pinch-hitter Dan Vrbancic’s single. Kenny Sarna, who reached when Singleton dropped his fly ball, scored on a Mottl wild pitch. But Mottl struck out Vince Pietro and got Ryan Gripp to foul out to the catcher to end the game.

Clemson will play host to The Citadel on Wednesday, Mar. 3 at 3:00 PM in its next action.

Creighton          0 7 0    0 1 0    0 0 2 -        10  9  1Clemson            2 0 0    0 6 3    1 1   -        13 15  0

Eisenring, Erickson (5), Eck (8) and Groen, Smith (5). Browning, Henrie (2), Mottl (2) and Ellis. Win – Mottl (1-0). Loss – Erickson (1-1). 2B – Ellis (1), Bultmann (4), Harris (1), Frank (1), Stanley (3). HR – Greene (2), Stanley (2), Harris (1). Time: 3:27. Attendance: 646.