Clemson lost two out of three to a lowly ACC team a week ago. They weren’t about to let it happen again. Down 9-4 entering the final frame, the Tigers (34-22, 15-14) rallied for five in the 9th before a Jay Baum double scored Garrett Boulware in the bottom of the 13th inning, completing the improbable comeback.
Once again, the Tigers struggled with their #3 starter, as they seemingly have all year. Clemson starting pitcher Jake Long lasted just 1 inning, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, before giving way to the bullpen. A combination of Tigers’ pitchers struggled thereafter, before Clay Bates threw a perfect 1.1 innings in the 6th and 7th. The real story for the Clemson pitching staff though was Matt Campbell. Campbell (4-0) entered the game in the 8th inning and pitched 5 scoreless frames, allowing just a single hit and striking out 5, on his way to earning the victory.
The Tigers were in catch up mode all afternoon long as Boston College pushed 3 runs across in the 1st, 1 run each in the 4th, 5th, and 6th, and 3 more in the 7th. After a lethargic beginning to the game, Clemson seemed to catch a spark late in the game. Campbell ended the top of the 9th with a strikeout, and Tyler Slaton followed with a lead off home run to start the bottom of the frame. From there, the Tigers pieced together a few hits and walks to load the bases, now down just 9-6. With a 2-2 count and 2 outs in the inning, Senior Jon McGibbon laced a double into the right centerfield gap. The drive cleared the bases and tied the game up at 9. Extra innings ensued, and it was the Matt Campbell show from there.
After 4 more scoreless innings of relief from Campbell, the Tigers’ got a single from Boulware, before Baum came up with a chance to be the hero. On an 0-2 pitch, Baum got a fastball and drilled it into right center. Boulware slid head first safely beyond the tag of BC catcher Stephen Sauter for the game winning run.
After the dust settled from the celebration on Senior Day, Clemson’s focus shifted immediately to the ACC Tournament, where the Tigers will be the 5th seed. Baum said after the game, “How fired up we are now, I think we’re going to do something good in the ACC Tournament…and after that.”
That is exactly the kind of talk you want to hear from your team as they enter postseason play, and this was exactly the kind of win Clemson needed before heading to Greensboro.
Manager Jack Leggett was extremely proud of his players, adding, “It shows the character of this team and that they are never going to give up. Our guys battled. We scored five runs and four with two outs in the ninth inning. Jon McGibbon came up with a huge hit to clear the bases and tie the score.”
Clemson’s next test will come Wednesday against Duke, as the Tigers look to carry the momentum from this spectacular come from behind win, and make some noise in the ACC Tournament and beyond.
- This was Clemson’s first walk off win of the 2014 season.
- Tyler Krieger went 2-5 Saturday, raising his season average to .340, tops for the Tigers.
- Tyler Slaton’s homerun was his third of the season.
- Matt Campbell was his usual stellar self, moving his record to 4-0 while lowering his season ERA to 0.60. Opposing batters are hitting just .136 against Campbell this year.