Clemson Knocks Out UNC, 4-3
May 23, 2009
Courtesy of Clemson Athletics
DURHAM, North Carolina - With two outs in the 11th inning, Wilson Boyd's single off the wall in left field drove home Mike Freeman to give #13 Clemson a 4-3 victory over #4 North Carolina in front of 6,956 fans at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in the ACC Tournament on Saturday. The Tigers, who completed the tourney with a 1-2 record, improved to 40-19. The Tar Heels, who also went 1-2 in the tournament, fell to 42-16.
After both teams missed out on opportunities to score the go-ahead run in previous frames, Freeman hit a one-out, infield single and went all the way to third base on the play when pitcher Patrick Johnson's off-balance throw to first was errant. After two intentional walks to load the bases and a strikeout, Boyd fouled off several 3-2 pitches before he belted an opposite-field single off the wall in left to send the Tigers to victory.
It was Clemson's third walkoff hit and second by Boyd in 2009, as he also had a two-out, bases-loaded single to give the Tigers a 6-5 win over Charlotte on February 22.
Tiger reliever Graham Stoneburner (6-3) earned the win, as he pitched 1.0 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Matt Vaughn also pitched 1.1 scoreless innings in relief with the score tied 3-3. Johnson (2-2) suffered the loss, as he allowed two hits and the winning run in the 11th inning.
Clemson received a stellar outing from sophomore lefthander Casey Harman. He set career-highs for innings pitched (7.1) and strikeouts (10) while throwing 107 pitches, including 74 for strikes. He also allowed just seven hits, two runs, and one walk.
For the 14th game in a row, Clemson took the game's first lead. In the second inning, Matt Sanders laced a one-out single to right-center and scored on Brad Miller's double to center.
The Tar Heels evened the score in the top of the third inning. Mike Cavasinni reached to lead off the frame when he struck out but was safe at first on a wild pitch. Ben Bunting's sacrifice bunt moved Cavasinni to second. Two batters later, Kyle Seager ripped a two-out single up the middle to score Cavasinni.
Clemson came right back and regained the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Ben Paulsen lined a one-out single to center and advanced to second on Seager's error at third on a sharply-hit ball by Kyle Parker. Boyd then bounced a single through the right side to score Paulsen. The hit also extended Boyd's hitting streak to 10 games, tied for the longest by a Tiger in 2009.
Freeman doubled the Tigers' lead in the fourth inning when he hit a two-out, solo home run to right field, his third long ball of the season.
Dustin Ackley cut Clemson's lead in half in the fifth inning when he lined an opposite-field, solo home run to left field, his 20th homer of the year.
In the eighth inning, the Tar Heels threatened to tie the score. Garrett Gore reached with one out on a throwing error by Sanders. Graepel then drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. After Tomas Cruz entered the game in relief of Harman, Mark Fleury grounded Cruz's first pitch to second for a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
In the top of the ninth inning, pinch-hitter Tarron Robinson led off with a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Pinch-runner Ryan Norton advanced to second on Cavasinni's sacrifice bunt, then Bunting bounced a single off Freeman's glove to score Norton. After Ackley walked and the Tigers called on Ryan Hinson to enter the game on the mound, he struck out Seager for out #2. Then Vaughn came in the game on the mound and Levi Michael flied out to deep left-center to end in the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Freeman led off with a line-drive single to left and went to second on Jeff Schaus' sacrifice bunt. After Paulsen popped up for out #2 and Parker was intentionally walked, Boyd flied out to right field.
The Tar Heels mounted a two-out rally in the 10th inning. Fleury hit a two-out single through the right side on a 1-2 pitch and pinch-hitter Brett Thomas followed with a walk. Cavasinni then singled through the left side, but Schaus threw out Fleury on a close play at the plate to end the inning and keep the score tied 3-3.
In the top of the 11th inning, Bunting led off with a single to left field but was erased on Ackley's fielder's choice. After Ackley stole second, Stoneburner struck out Seager and Michael to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, Freeman reached on a one-out, infield single and advanced all the way to third base on the play when Johnson's throw went down the right-field line. The Tar Heels elected to intentionally walk Schaus and Paulsen to load the bases with one out. Parker then Parker struck out looking on a 3-2 breaking pitch for out #2, but Boyd laced a 3-2 pitch off the wall in left field to score Freeman for the winning run.
Freeman had a game-high four hits, two runs, and a homer, while Paulsen and Boyd added two hits apiece for Clemson, who had 13 hits in the game. Bunting and Graepel paced North Carolina's 11-hit attack with three hits apiece.
The Tigers improved to 4-1 in extra-inning games in 2009, as it was Clemson's first extra-inning game since March 21 at Florida State.
The crowd (6,956) was the largest ever to watch a college baseball game in the state of North Carolina.
Clemson will await word from the NCAA Baseball committee on the 16 NCAA Regional host sites on Sunday at approximately 3:30 PM on the BottomLine of the ESPN networks and online at NCAA.com. Then on Monday at 12:30 PM, the 64-team field will be announced on ESPN.