|by David Hood|
Needing a win to advance to Sunday’s ACC title game, Clemson mustered a measly four hits against two Georgia Tech pitchers in a frustrating 3-0 loss at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, and now must await Monday’s NCAA Tournament selection to find out of the powers that be consider them post-season material.
The “bat dog” that retrieves the bats at the park had little trouble with Clemson’s silent bats, and Tech pitchers followed that cue in rendering the Tigers helpless at the plate. The lack of offense overshadowed a gutsy effort by starter Clemson starter Clate Schmidt, who went a career-high 8 1/3 innings, giving up two runs while striking out six and walking one.
Dusty Isaacs and Sam Clay combined for the win as the Yellow Jackets (35-25) improved to 3-1 in the ACC Tourney, while the Tigers (36-23) fell to 2-1 in the tournament.
In his first start of the season, Isaacs (7-5) allowed just one hit, no runs and four walks with seven strikeouts in 5.0 innings pitched to earn the victory. Clay pitched the final 4.0 innings to record his eighth save of the year.
Schmidt pitched in and out of trouble through the first five innings – his defense wasn’t a lot of help – but ran into trouble in the fifth. The Yellow Jackets opened the inning with four straight hits and a run, but Schmidt pitched out of the jam trailing just 1-0.
Tiger bats, meanwhile, continued to be silent. Jon McGibbon opened the bottom of the fifth with a walk on four straight pitches, but instead of working the count Chris Okey bunted into an out on the first pitch. Three pitches later, Tech was out of the inning with the lead still intact.
Schmidt finally tired in the ninth, allowing a Tech baserunner with one out, and he was relieved by Matt Campbell. Campbell promptly surrendered a two-run homer to left that accounted for the final runs.
The Tigers attempted a rally in the ninth – Garrett Boulware singled with one out, and Jay Baum hit a soft liner that fell in front of the center fielder to put runners at first and second with one. Shane Kennedy pinch hit for Jon McGibbon, and a passed ball moved both runners up a base. Kennedy struck out looking, however, and Chris Okey struck out swinging to end the game.
Despite the 2-1 record in the tournament, Clemson’s offense managed to score just eight runs in 27 innings, scoring in just four of those. Overall, the Tigers hit just .245 (24-for-98) in the tournament.
The Tigers were attempting to make their first championship game appearance since 2006, and a win over Tech would have likely solidified an NCAA bid. The NCAA Selection Show is Monday at noon on ESPNU. The Tigers' RPI fell to 50 with the loss.
* Dusty Isaacs and Sam Clay combined on a four-hit shutout and second baseman Mott
Hyde hit a two-run ninth-inning home run as fifth-seeded Georgia Tech kept their title
hopes alive with a 3-0 win over second-seeded Clemson ... with the loss, the Tigers are
eliminated from title game contention.
* With the win, Georgia Tech improved to 76-55 in ACC Tournament play while Clemson
dropped to 105-66.
* Wednesday’s game marked the 214th meeting between the two long time rivals ... the
Tigers still lead the series 108-103-3, including a 16-11 mark in ACC Tournament play.
The lower-seeded team has won seven of the first 10 ACC Tournament games.
* Georgia Tech’s Danny Hall (1,097) and Clemson’s Jack Leggett (1,300) have combined for
2,397 career wins.
* In its first four ACC Tournament games, Georgia Tech has yet to make an error and has
turned six double plays.
* Georgia Tech second baseman Mott Hyde, who leads all active NCAA players in career
games played (248), went 3-for-4 with his 21st career home run ... Hyde has hit safely in 15
of his last 19 games, including six games with two or more hits.
* With two hits in four at bats, Georgia Tech center fielder Daniel Spingola notched his
league-leading 23rd multi-hit game.
* Dusty Isaacs’ five scoreless innings lowered his season ERA to 1.92.
* Sam Clay picked up his eighth save of the season with four scoreless innings of relief.
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org