Clemson has been looking for a third starter to step up all year, and on Friday, Clate Schmidt did just that. Schmidt (5-7) scattered eight hits over a career high 8.1 innings, allowing two runs while striking out 6. Unfortunately for Schmidt and the Tigers, Dusty Isaacs (7-5) and Sam Clay were on point all afternoon long for the Yellow Jackets, holding Clemson to just four hits.
With a win, Clemson (36-23) would have advanced to the ACC Championship game. Instead, they head home and await their fate when the NCAA Tournament field is announced Monday.
“I would hope so,” Jacket Leggett said, speaking about the Tigers’ chances of making the tournament field. “We played tough in this tournament. It’s a tough conference and we finished second in our division and fifth in the conference, won two games here, beat Duke, beat Miami and played tough today. We’ve got a good baseball team. I’d be shocked and disappointed if anything else happened.”
“We didn’t hit well today, but we’re a good hitting team,” junior Garrett Boulware stated. “So if we can get all those things clicking together, I think we’ll do some damage in the postseason.”
Isaacs, making his first start of the season for Georgia Tech, went 5 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out seven before giving way to Clay, who continued the pitching dominance for the Yellow Jackets with four shutout innings of his own, striking out six on three hits.
While the Tigers were unable to muster any offense on the afternoon, Schmidt did everything he could to keep Clemson in the game, and his performance may lead to an added role come NCAA Tournament time.
“He did a great job for us, that’s all there is to it,” Leggett said. “I had a really good feeling about him going into the game and he proved to be the right guy against them and pitched out of some jams early.”
“The best thing we found out today is we’ve got a good third starter,” said Boulware. “I’m glad we found that.”
Matt Campbell, Clemson’s most reliable reliever of the season came on in the ninth to finish for Schmidt, but Mott Hyde drilled a two run home run to left field to push the Yellow Jacket lead to 3-0.
In the bottom of the frame, Clemson sent the tying run to the plate twice, but Shane Kennedy and Chris Okey both struck out to end the game, and seal Clemson’s fate in the 2014 ACC Tournament.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech (35-25) awaits its fate, as they advance to the championship game with a Miami win over Duke Saturday afternoon. A Duke win means the Blue Devils will advance to Sunday’s finale.