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Clemson Drops Two to Fourth Ranked Louisville

The Clemson Tigers faced the fourth-ranked Louisville Cardinals Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in an ACC showdown.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Crownover gave the Clemson baseball program the perfect start to summer break as he dealt the number-four ranked Louisville Cardinals just their third conference loss of the season. The Tigers, just a day removed from final exams, took game one of the three game series on Saturday by a score of 9-1. Crownover pitched seven solid innings of work, striking out four batters and only allowing five hits. He continues to be a bright spot for Clemson’s baseball team this season as he picked up his eighth win of the season, with only one loss on the year.

Crownover was also helped immensely by the Tiger offense, led by third baseman Weston Wilson and left fielder Reed Rohlman. Wilson went 3-for-4 at the plate and had three RBI, while Rohlman went 2-for-4 with two RBI. These two combined for five of the Tigers’ 10 total hits and five of the Tigers’ eight RBI.

In game two, Louisville’s Brendan McKay pitched 5.2 innings of one-hit baseball and gave up only one run to even the series at one apiece. The Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning, which proved to be the deciding factor in the game. Those runs were a credit to a two-run homer by Corey Ray and a solo-shot by Zach Lucas.

The Tigers desperately tried to get a rally started, down 5-1 in the bottom of the ninth, and cut the lead to two after a two-out Reed Rohlman single, which scored Duggar from second and Slaton from first. On the ensuing at-bat, however, Chris Okey grounded out and the game ended with a final of 5-3. The Clemson pitching staff gave up a total of 14 hits, 11 of which were given up by starter Zach Erwin, who went 6.2 innings and gave up four earned runs.

In the rubber-game of the series, Louisville took an early lead off of a two-run home run from first baseman Brendan McKay, who pitched Sunday night’s game. Clemson pitcher Jake Long would bounce back and retire the next six batters through the second and third innings. In the bottom of the third, Reed Rohlman cut the game in half with an RBI single that scored Eli White from third. The Cardinals plated two more in the top of the fifth to extend the lead to 4-1.

Clemson answered right back in the bottom half of the inning when the Tigers notched four singles in a row to score two runs, including an RBI single from Tyler Krieger and another RBI single from Reed Rohlman. With bases loaded and only one out, Weston Wilson delivered an infield knock that was scored an RBI fielder’s choice and tied the game at 4 apiece. In the bottom of the sixth, Clemson had the bases loaded with only one out, but an infield fly out and a fly out in foul territory left all three men stranded and the game remained tied.

In the bottom of the seventh, Eli White delivered an RBI single that scored Weston Wilson from third and gave Clemson its first lead of the night at 5-4. Just as soon as the Tigers gained the lead, it was taken away after Nick Solak and Corey Ray hit back-to-back homers in the top of the eighth. The Cardinals went on to score two more runs in the inning, taking an 8-5 lead. Clemson could never recover from that four run inning and dropped the third game to the Cardinals by a final score of 9-5, which gave Louisville their eighth straight series win.

With the series loss, Clemson drops to 24-23 overall and 13-13 in the ACC on the season. This puts Clemson in sixth place, with Florida State being the only conference opponent left on the schedule. The Tigers will look to rebound, however, as they travel to Wofford Tuesday, play College of Charleston on Wednesday, and then begin a three-game series with Georgia Southern this upcoming weekend.