CLEMSON, S.C. --- The Clemson Tigers scored all of their runs in the first three innings and cruised to an 11-1 victory against Sacred Heart in the first meeting between the two schools in the Clemson regional on Friday night. The Tigers, who moved into the winners' bracket, improved to 42-18 on the season. The Pioneers, who fell into the losers' bracket, dropped to 34-22 in 2011.

Clemson scored four runs in the first inning, one in the second inning and six in the third inning to break the game open. Sacred Heart's lone run in the sixth inning was the only scoring during the final six innings.

Scott Firth (5-1), the first of three Tiger pitchers, earned the win. In six innings, Firth allowed one run on six hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Kevin Pohle pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and Jon Surber struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning to close out the game.

The Tigers wasted little time taking the lead in the first inning. John Hinson led off with a four-pitch walk and went to third base on Phil Pohl's double down the left-field line. Brad Miller reached on a fielder's choice to short as Hinson scored and Pohl was retired at third base. After Will Lamb was hit-by-pitch and Richie Shaffer struck out, Jeff Schaus grounded a single up the middle to score Miller as Lamb advanced to third and Schaus moved up to second on the throw to third base. Chris Epps then lined a single to right center to score Lamb and Schaus, while also extending his hitting streak to 10 games.

In the second inning, Hinson hit a one-out double down the right-field line, stole third, and scored on Pohl's groundout to second.

The Tigers scored six runs to take a double-digit lead, essentially putting the game out of reach. Lamb led off with a walk and advanced to second base when right fielder Dave Boisture robbed Shaffer of a home run in right-center. After Schaus walked, Epps ripped a single to left center to plate Lamb. Jason Stolz followed with a single through the left side to score Schaus, then Spencer Kieboom grounded a single through the left side to score Epps. After the Pioneers brought in Matt Fitton to pitch, Hinson blasted his first pitch deep over the fence down the right-field line for a three-run homer, his eighth long ball of the season.


Sacred Heart starter Troy Scribner (9-3) suffered the loss, yielding seven hits, 10 runs, and three walks with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings pitched. Fitton allowed five hits and one run in the final 5.2 innings pitched.

The Pioneers were finally able to get on the scoreboard in the sixth. Rob Griffith led off with a double to center and went to third base when John Murphy's flyball was lost in the evening sky by Lamb in center. Two batters later, Dan Perez reached on a fielder's choice to first as Murphy was retired at second and Griffith scored.

Hinson led the Tigers' 12-hit attack by going 3-for-3 with a homer, double, three RBIs, three runs, a walk, and steal. Pohl went 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI, while Epps was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a walk.

Derick Horn had a team-high two hits for the Pioneers, who totaled seven hits in the contest.

Clemson will face Coastal Carolina in the winners' bracket on Saturday at 7:00 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.