Clemson rallies from three-run deficit, outlasts No. 1 North Carolina in extras
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Garrett Boulware's groundout scored Jay Baum in the 11th inning lifted Clemson to a 5-4 win against top-ranked North Carolina at Boshamer Stadium on Monday. The Tigers, who won their 16th all-time game versus a No. 1 team, improved to 17-11 overall and 6-6 in the ACC. The Tar Heels, who won the series 2-1, fell to 25-2 overall and 9-2 in ACC play.
The Clemson victory snapped the Tar Heels' nine-game win streak dating back to a 4-1 loss against Miami (Fla.) on March 15.
The Tar Heels jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 3-1 before Clemson clawed back with three runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead. North Carolina tied the score in the seventh inning on a run-scoring groundout, then both teams were unable to score a go-ahead run in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings. Clemson loaded the bases with no outs in the 11th inning and plated the go-ahead run with one out on Boulware's groundout.
Scott Firth (3-4) pitched 4.2 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win. He battled through adversity in three different innings, as North Carolina stranded runners at second and third in the eighth, 10th and 11th innings without scoring. Firth allowed three hits and two walks with one strikeout.
Chris O'Brien (0-1), the seventh of eight Tar Heel pitchers, suffered the loss. He gave up two hits, one run and one walk in one inning on the mound.
North Carolina took the game's first lead in the third inning. Landon Lassiter lined a two-out triple to right-center field, then Colin Moran belted an opposite-field, two-run homer to left-center field, his sixth long ball of the season.
In the fourth inning, Boulware laced a one-out double to left field. Two batters later, Tyler Krieger lined a two-out single to left field to score Boulware.
In the fifth inning, Lassiter hit a two-out single to left-center field, Moran walked and Skye Bolt was hit by a pitch. Cody Stubbs then grounded an 0-2 pitch through the left side for a single to score Lassiter.
The Tigers rallied for three runs in the sixth inning to take the lead. Jon McGibbon reached on an infield single with one out in the sixth inning, followed by a Shane Kennedy walk. Krieger's single to left field loaded the bases, then Thomas Brittle blooped a single down the right field line to score McGibbon and Kennedy. Two batters later, on an 0-2 pitch to Baum, Krieger scored on a wild pitch to give Clemson a 4-3 lead.
In the seventh inning, Chaz Frank led off with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on Lassiter's groundout to second. Frank then scored on Moran's groundout to tie the score at four.
Stubbs led off the eighth inning with an infield single and advanced to second on Michael Russell's sacrifice bunt. After Brian Holberton walked on four pitches, Mike Zolk grounded out to short to move the runners up a base. Pinch-hitter Parks Jordan flied out to left field to end the inning.
Kevin Bradley led off the top of the 11th inning with a six-pitch walk. Baum reached on a bunt single, then Tyler Slaton reached on another bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Steven Duggar reached on a fielder's choice as pinch-runner Steve Wilkerson was retired at home for the first out. Boulware grounded out to short to allow Baum to score the go-ahead run. The middle infielders were playing back in hopes of turning an inning-ending double play, but the ball was hit too slow and the only play was at first base.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, leadoff batter Alex Raburn was hit by a pitch, then Frank reached on a bunt single in a close play at first base. Lassiter popped up a bunt in foul territory for the first out of the frame. Moran flied out to deep center to advance both runners up a base. Bolt then hit a slow grounder to Baum at second, who charged the ball and threw to McGibbon at first for the game-ending out.
Kennedy went 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and three walks to lead Clemson. Brittle added a team-high two RBIs.
Stubbs went 4-for-5 with an RBI to pace the Tar Heels. Frank went 3-for-6 with a double and run as well.