All season, Clemson baseball has seen success with late game comebacks, “eating pressure like candy” as head coach Monte Lee once said. Unfortunately, this weekend saw Clemson on the wrong side of three comebacks by the #4 UNC Tar Heels. Friday’s game started out as a pitchers’ duel between Charlie Barnes and UNC’s J.B. Bukauskas. The game was deadlocked in a 0-0 tie before Chris Williams broke the tie with a one run homer in the top of the sixth to give Clemson the 1-0 lead. Barnes was dealing in the bottom of the seventh, striking out the first two batters, but then the wheels came off for Clemson. Barnes would allow UNC to score off a wild pitch. He was replaced by Patrick Andrews, leaving the bases loaded. Pinch hitter Michael Busch came in to knock a double to right center and score three Tar Heels. Alex Schnell came on to pitch for Andrews. UNC CF Brad Miller hit a single to score Busch. Schnell was able to short stop Logan Warmoth to stop the bleeding, but the damage was done as UNC held a 5-1 lead. Clemson was unable to score in the remaining two innings and dropped game one 5-1.
Things got off to a better start offensively Saturday for the Tigers. In the second, Robert Jolly doubled to left field to score Logan Davidson. Andrew Cox later scored on a passed ball and Jolly moved up to third, allowing him to score off of a Jordan Greene sacrifice fly. UNC would get a run back in the bottom of the inning, but Clemson held tough until the eighth inning. Rohlman scored in the top of the inning off of a Seth Beer sacrifice fly. After giving up back to back singles in the bottom of the eighth, Alex Eubanks was relieved by Riley Gilliam. Gilliam allowed Logan Warmoth to advance to third on a wild pitch. Third baseman Kyle Datres singled to score Warmoth. Gilliam gave up another RBI single before Jacob Hennessy was then brought in to pitch. Hennessy gave up another RBI single to tie the game. After walking the bases loaded, Hennessy was pulled for Jeremy Beasley. UNC scored one more run as Zack Gahagan hit a sacrifice fly to score Brandon Riley. Beasley then struck out Michael Busch to end the inning. Clemson went three up three down in the top of the ninth to end the game and give UNC the 5-4 win and the series.
Clemson once again jumped out to an early lead when Chris Williams crushed a two run homer in the first to give Clemson a 2-0 lead. UNC was able to score once in the fourth and once in the sixth to tie the game up. Starter Pat Krall went 8.0 innings, holding UNC to five hits and striking out four Tar Heels before Jeremy Beasley came in to relieve him in the ninth. With the help of a great snag by Logan Davidson, Beasley was able to get out of the inning, stranding runners on first and second, bringing the game to extra innings. Chase Pinder was hit by a pitch and made a great play to steal second before advancing on to third off of a throwing error, but Josh Hiatt was able to force Chris Williams to pop out to second, leaving Pinder at third. UNC got started off in the bottom of the 10th with a single, and then advanced the runner with a sacrifice bunt. Jeremy Beasley intentionally walked Brandon Riley before being replaced by Tyler Jackson. Cody Roberts reached on a fielders choice and advanced Ashton McGee to third. Schnell came in to pitch for Jackson. Tyler Lynn hit a grounder to Jordan Greene, who had to try to make the tough play and threw a high ball to first as Lynn arrived safely and McGee scored the game winning run. Despite the throw, Lynn was awarded a single and possibly would have reached on a close play even with an on-target throw. UNC got the 3-2 win and earned the sweep over Clemson.
Clemson falls to 34-11 (16-8 ACC) on the year. UNC moves to 36-9 (19-5 ACC). Clemson has the week off due to final exams before beginning a three game home non conference series with the Nevada Wolfpack on Saturday. First pitch for game one is set for 6:30 PM and can be seen on ACC Network Extra. UNC hosts the Richmond Spiders on Tuesday at 6:00 PM.