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Clemson Takes Series from FSU

We lost the Atlantic but with the series win we are in excellent position to host a regional in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament should we do well in the ACC Tournament starting this week. Clemson won the weekend series 2-1, and won its seventh straight weekend series since being swept by UNC at home. UNC will end up with a National Seed in the NCAAT. In early April, Jack Leggett declared a 30-game season. Since then, the Tigers are 25-5 and continuing to peak into the Tournament.

Clemson finished the regular season at 39-17, 17-13 in ACC play; Florida State fell to 40-15, 19-11.

The ACC Tourney begins Wednesday in Durham in a round-robin format that is quite stupid, but what do you expect with Swoffy still running things? Clemson is in the same pool with FSU, NC State, and Georgia Tech. Clemson will play at least 3 games in the Tournament and the formal schedule comes out tomorrow.

In game 1 we faced the toughest test from FSU with Sean Gilmartin, the only pitcher that I felt would be able to handle our hitters well. He did well enough and could be the winner of the ACC Pitcher of the Year award. Gilmartin (W 10-1) allowed seven hits, four runs (two earned), and one walk with six strikeouts in 7.0 innings pitched. Daniel Bennett allowed the first three batters he faced in the eighth inning to reach base, but he retired the last four batters to record his 12th save of the year.

Dominic Leone struggled almost from the outset, and this was his worst performance in a month by far. His defense didn't help either. He had won his last 5 starts. He was not fooling anyone in this one, and couldnt find the plate. He walked 3 and gave up 6 hits in 3 1/3 IP.

Brad Miller hit a solo HR in the first, his 4th, but Rafael Lopez tied it up with another in the bottom of the inning. The Noles loaded the bases in the 2nd but didn't score, and then plated 3 in the 3rd inning, one on an error from Stolz. Leone allowed two leadoff walks in the 4th and a sac bunt moved the runners up before he was pulled for Haselden, who let them score on a ground ball and a bunt single to make it 6-1. The Seminoles scored two more runs off Haselden and Matt Campbell before the pen stopped the bleeding, one on an error from Shaffer.

In the top of the sixth inning, Shaffer made up for his miscue with an opposite-field, solo homer to right field on a 1-2 pitch, his ninth long ball of the season. The Tigers mounted a comeback in the 8th but fell short when Brad Miller was unable to move the bat off his shoulders on a 3-2 pitch for a called strike 3 with the bases loaded. Clemson lost 8-6.

Why we continue to be unable to fight off anything close in such situations, or have the knowledge to never take anything close with the bases loaded and 2 strikes down 2 runs, is beyond me.

In game 2 we sent out Justin Sarratt and he held them down while we scored plenty early to seal this one. Chris Epps set the tone with a solo homer to right in the second, and we piled on 4 more in the 3rd. Stolz got on and Hinson tripled, and a string of singles culminated with a Schaus double to make it 5-0. In the 5th, a Lamb homer made it 7-0 and then we held on to win 7-4.

Sarratt wasn't as electric as he has been lately, but he was good enough in 5.1 IP. Clemson is 11-0 when Sarratt starts this year. Sarratt (W, 7-1) left the bases loaded with one out for Kevin Brady in the sixth, and although Brady balked in a run, he struck out both batters he faced, preserving a 7-2 lead. In 1 2/3 innings, Brady allowed no hits and struck out four of the five batters he faced.

Miller went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs, and a stolen base to lead Clemson, who totaled 13 hits in the contest. Lamb went 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs, two runs, and a steal, while Schaus was 3-for-5 with a double and RBI. Stolz was 1-for-2 with a run and three walks as well.

Game 3 today pitted Jon Meyer vs. Mike McGee, and they both fell apart. Meyer is a control guy and for the first 3 innings he was untouchable. When McGee couldn't find the plate in the 4th, Meyer must've lost something on the bench because he couldnt get near the plate after that.

Shaffer belted the first pitch of the top of the fourth inning over the fence in left field for a solo homer, his 10th long ball of the season. Schaus and Epps followed with walks, then both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch. Kieboom flared a single to center to score Schaus and Epps scored when Taiwan Easterling booted the ball. After Stolz's groundout to second moved Kieboom to third base, Kieboom scored on Hinson's sacrifice fly to center to give Clemson a 5-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Rafael Lopez led off with a single high off the fence in right field and McGee walked. Ramsey then laced a three-run homer to right-center, his ninth home run of the year. Meyer went to 3-ball counts on each of these batters.

In the bottom of the 8th, Brady really struggled. Jayce Boyd hit a HR and Johnson doubled to start the inning. Brady got the next two out before a single scored Johnson to make it 6-5. The Tigers got Daniel Bennett back in the 9th to make it 8-5 and Weismann took care of the Noles to close it.