In a game that Clemson needed desperately, Mat Clark gave us his finest performance. Clark had baseball fans on pins and needles as he took a perfect game to the eighth inning, and a no hitter to the ninth before finally surrendering a hit. Clark pitched phenomenally, but he also had some help from his friends defensively, as the Tiger infield flashed the leather multiple times to keep Mat unscathed. Logan Davidson and Grayson Byrd made many outstanding plays with hard hit balls their way, and Jordan Greene showed heroic effort in one of the top plays of the year.
Following Clark’s eighth inning walk to break up the perfect game, Trey Leonard blooped one toward shallow right, seemingly into no man’s land. Greene went on a full gallop in persuit, making a snow cone catch to preserve the no-hitter.
After a quick top of the ninth by the Tiger offense, Clark was three outs from the no-hitter. However, Zach Britton took Clark’s first pitch deep to right field for a homer, ending the no hit bid and the shutout. Following the homerun, Clark committed the teams’ first error when he took a line shot off his leg and his throw to first was just a bit high, forcing Grayson Byrd to jump off the bag to catch it, just barely allowing the Louisville batter to reach. After giving up a walk, Clark’s day was done. He left to a standing ovation from the fans in attendance, a mix of many ACC schools’ fans in the park. Jacob Hennessy came in, and the Tigers were able to get out of the jam giving up no more hits. The 7-1 win was just the third one hitter game in ACC Tournament history.
But it wasn’t just Mat Clark who had an exemplary day. Clemson hitters shelled ACC Pitcher of the Year Reid Detmers. Detmers went four innings, giving up five runs on six hits, and worked two walks.
Kyle Wilkie got things going offensively for the Tigers with a third inning double off the Blue Monster wall in left to score Michael Green and Bryce Teodosio. Logan Davidson tried to score, but was just barely thrown out at home. The out was reviewed, but stood to end the inning. Justin Hawkins crushed a three run homer over the Blue Monster to put Clemson up 5-0 in the fourth. Kyle Wilkie would also go deep over that wall in the seventh.
For the Tigers, this is their third win over the #8 Cardinals this year, and their second win vs Detmers. While Clemson won’t be advancing in the ACC Tournament, this game may have pushed the Tigers into the NCAA Tournament. Clemson will learn it’s postseason fate on Sunday.
As for Louisville, this is a tournament to forget for the #8 Cards. The ACC Atlantic champs and top seed went 0-2, dropping their game on Wednesday against Boston College 5-1. Louisville looks to still be a regional host, but may have played their way out of being one of the top 8 national seeds.