Clemson, SC -
Jay Baum went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and the go-ahead, run-scoring single in the eighth inning as #13 Clemson rallied for a 9-7 win over Eastern Michigan at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers improved to 2-1 on the season, while the Eagles fell to 1-2.
The Tigers trailed 7-6 entering the eighth inning before the Tigers scored three runs without hitting the ball out of the infield. A costly two-out Eastern Michigan error extended the inning and allowed Clemson to score three unearned runs. The Eagles had trailed 4-0 and 6-4 before they took a 7-6 lead with three runs in the seventh inning.
"Our players showed some toughness when we battled back," said Head Coach Jack Leggett, whose team won the series 2-1 in front of 5,064 fans on Sunday. "We showed some resilience today when we lost the lead and came back to reclaim it. I like some of the things I saw out of the team, and hopefully we can continue to get better."
Senior righthander Matt Campbell (1-0) earned the win by pitching the final 2.2 innings. He gave up two hits, one unearned run, and one walk with three strikeouts. Charlie Land (0-1), the fifth of six Eagle pitchers, suffered the loss despite allowing just one hit and no earned runs in 2.1 innings pitched.
"Campbell did a nice job for us in those three innings," said Leggett. "He had to come in and do his thing a little early. We didn't really have much after him, so we were hoping he could get the job done and we could score a few runs and keep from going to extra innings."
The Tigers took advantage of two Eagle errors to score three unearned runs in the first inning. Tyler Slaton and Tyler Krieger both reached on throwing errors to lead off the frame, then Garrett Boulware ripped a single to right to score Slaton. Steven Duggar loaded the bases with a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Two batters later, Chris Okey lined a single to right to score two runs.
Boulware tacked on another run in the second when he reached on a two-out, infield single to score Eli White, who led off with a double for his first career hit.
The Eagles tied the score with four two-out runs in the third inning. John Rubino hit a two-out, run-scoring double, back-to-back singles by Nick Rotola and Sam Ott scored single runs, and Lee Longo belted a double to score the fourth run of the frame.
Clemson regained the lead with a run in the fifth and another in the sixth, but the Eagles answered in the seventh inning when Ott doubled to right-center on a 1-2 pitch to score Rubino, then Longo lined a double to left-center to plate Ott and tie the score 6-6. Later in the inning, Eastern Michigan took the lead when Longo scored on a two-out error.
In the eighth inning, Slaton led off with a walk, moved to second on a groundout, and advanced to third on a wild pitch with one out. Two batters later with two outs, Duggar reached on a throwing error by Rubino at short that allowed the tying run to score. After Duggar stole third, he scored the go-ahead run on an infield single by Baum. Baum later scored on a rundown play to give the Tigers a 9-7 lead.
Adam Sonabend drew a two-out walk in the ninth inning to bring the potential tying run to the plate. On the 14th pitch of Adam Dennison's at-bat, he flied out to right to end the game.
Along with Baum's team-high three hits, including a double and triple, Boulware went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Okey added a game-high three RBIs for the Tigers, who put six of their eight leadoff batters on base.
"We had a good weekend and offensively we did some nice things," stated Leggett. "Baum, Krieger, Slaton, Duggar, and Boulware all did some good things. We have a chance to have a nice lineup from top to bottom. We just have to continue to keep working."
Ott went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs for Eastern Michigan, who outhit the Tigers 13-10.
"I like Eastern Michigan's team," added Leggett. "They are scrappy with two strikes and they made it tough on our pitchers. We learned some lessons this weekend and we have to get better."
Clemson will host Maine in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium starting Friday at 4:00 PM.