That did not go quite as planned. I am sure most, like myself, expected at the very least the Tigers would win this series, possibly even sweep. It was not to be.
Game 1- Miami 12 Clemson 11 (12 innings)
What can you really say about this one? After watching the Canes jump out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, this game was all Clemson. Until the bottom of the ninth, that is. It was then, that disaster struck.
The Tigers erased the early 2-run deficit when Chris Williams hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first, giving Clemson a 4-2 lead. Miami would cut it to 4-3 in the 2nd, but Patrick Cromwell´s 2-run shot to right extended the Tiger lead to 6-3 in the bottom half of the inning. The score would remain that way until the 8th when Clemson would tack on 5 more runs, highlighted by Cromwell´s second 2-run HR of the game, giving themselves an 11-3 cushion headed to the 9th, seemingly putting the game away. Then.... disaster
After relieving Jacob Hennessey to start the 6th, and pitching a scoreless 6th, 7th, and 8th, Ryan Miller came back out for the 9th to try and finish off the Canes. He did not have quite enough left in the tank however, and would exit after having only recorded one out and Miami having cut the lead to 11-5. Enter true freshman Bo Gobin, making only his 4th appearance of the season. He would not record an out. He faced 4 hitters, giving up 3 hits and a walk, and would finally exit with the Tigers clinging to an 11-8 lead, and the bases full of Canes. In a game where Clemson took an 8 run lead into the 9th, they were now having to bring in closer Riley Gilliam.
He got the first guy on a sac fly, but it was now 11-9 with 2 on and 2 out. The next guy would fly deep to center. Kier Meredith had it tracked down, but crashed into the wall while attempting to make the catch, and the ball popped out, allowing both runs to score to tie it at 11. An 8 run ninth inning lead gone, just like that, and Miami would go on to win it in the 12.
That one is on Monte, which he took full responsibility for in the post game-presser. I get using Gobin there to try and finish it off, but he left him out there to long. In an attempt to save everyone else for the doubleheader on Saturday, Monte gambled and lost. Lost big time, and still ended up burning both Gilliam and Spiers. Although, you know what they say about hindsight.
Game 2 (Sat 1pm) Miami 6 Clemson 1
Evan McKendry pitched a complete game to get the win for the Canes in the first game of the doubleheader. The Tigers mustered only 6 hits and committed 2 errors. Brooks Crawford only went 3 innings, allowing 4 earned runs, 3 hits, and a walk, and took the loss.
Game 3(Sat 5pm) Clemson 8 Miami 3
Miami jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, after touching up Jake Higginbotham for 2 runs on 4 hits in the 2nd. Higgy would settle in after the shaky inning though. He dominated the Miami hitters after that, not allowing another hit. It was a performance that did not go unrecognized by the fans in attendance, as he received a standing ovation during his walk back to the dugout after being relieved in the 8th. The lefty went 7.1 IP, allowed 4 hits and the 2 ER, while striking out 7. He did walk 5 guys as he struggled with his control and went over 100 pitches to get through 7.1 IP. Travis Marr came on to pitch the final 1.2 innings, giving up a run on 4 hits.
Clemson plated 7 runs in the 5th inning, highlighted by a Chris Williams grand slam, his second grand slam in the series. Logan Davidson had a 2-run double in the inning as well.
It was a nice bounce back win for the Tigers, who are now 26-10 (11-7). Losses like we saw Friday night have the potential to snowball, turning into extended losing steaks or derailing entire seasons. Nice to see them stop the bleeding in the series finale, ending a 3-game skid in the process.
Next up are the Dawgs, as Clemson travels to Athens Tuesday for the second of 2 games with Georgia this season. The Tigers will be looking to avenge a mid-week loss to the Dawgs last Tuesday night in Augusta. Hopefully they have Kier Meredith back for that one, as he sat out the double header Saturday after getting a tad banged up in his collision with the wall Friday night.