Clemson-Duke Game Stopped In 11th Inning


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DURHAM, N.C. - Clemson, who scored four runs with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the
score, took an 8-6 lead in the 11th inning on Kyle Parker's two-run homer,
but a sequence of events made it so Parker's long ball never officially
happened.

Literally a few seconds after Parker touched home plate to put Clemson
ahead 8-6, a Duke official emerged and called for a delay due to
lightning. According to the Duke official, he received a text message that
said there was lightning "to the west of Chapel Hill." Unlike Clemson,
which has a siren sound when lightning is in the area, the only form of
warning of lightning used at Duke on Sunday was a text message to a Blue
Devil official. The official told the umpires of this "text message
warning," and so the umpires were forced to halt play.

Duke coaches and players chose not to tarp the field during the "lightning"
delay (even though there were no lightning strikes visible in the area
during the delay) with rain oncoming. Over 30 minutes later (an ample
amount of time to finish the 11th inning), light rain began to fall.

As the light rain came down and Clemson players standing near home plate,
Duke players and coaches sat motionless in their dugout, unwilling to put
the tarp on the field against the urging of the Tigers. Evidently, players
were not obligated to cover the infield with the tarp since the game was
under a "lightning delay," even though there were still no visible
lightning strikes in the area. However, a grounds crew is allowed to put
the tarp on the field during a "lightning delay." But Duke's ground crew
consists of less than three members and all of them left the facility
during the middle of the game and were nowhere to be found. Several
minutes passed and the rain came down harder, still with no movement from
Duke's dugout.

Approximately 100 minutes later with the infield covered in water due to
the fact that the tarp was not put on the field, and with the weather
clearing, the umpires still decided to call the game because of unplayable
infield conditions. Even with over a four-hour bus-ride ahead of them, the
Tigers were willing to wait as long as possible on Sunday to finish the
game. But Duke's head coach told the umpires that the field could not be
made playable.

Therefore, the Tigers, who had just taken an 8-6 lead literally seconds
before play was stopped, was forced to settle for a 6-6 tie, remaining only
0.5 games ahead of Duke in the standings instead of the 1.5 games ahead in
the standings that would have resulted with a Tiger win.

With the tie in front of 854 fans at Jack Coombs Field on Sunday afternoon,
Clemson's record went to 19-20-1 overall and 7-13-1 in the ACC. Duke's
record went to 27-13-1 overall and 6-13-1 in ACC play. The series was tied
1-1-1 as well.

In the fourth inning, Wilson Boyd led off with a double to
left-center. After Doug Hogan flied out to the warning track in left
field, Ben Paulsen reached on a fielding error by shortstop Jake
Lemmerman. Chris Epps walked to load the bases and Matt Sanders drew
another walk after being down in the count 0-2 to score Boyd. Stan Widmann
followed with a hard line-drive up the middle, but Jonathan Foreman got a
glove on the ball, picked it up behind the mound, and threw to home for the
force out. Mike Freeman then grounded out to Foreman to end the inning.

The Tigers had many other opportunities to put runs on the scoreboard
through their first six innings, but they left eight runners on base,
including six in scoring position due to going 0-for-9 with runners in
scoring position.

Meanwhile, Ryan Hinson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, allowing
just one baserunner (on a walk) through five innings. But Duke advanced
its first runner past first base in the sixth inning after Lemmerman led
off with a hit-by-pitch, went to second on Ryan McCurdy's sacrifice bunt,
and advanced to third on Alex Hassan's groundout to shortstop. Then with
two outs, Matt Williams hit an infield single to score Lemmerman on just
Duke's second at-bat with runners in scoring position. After Nate Freiman
singled through the left side, the Blue Devils got their third straight
two-out hit, as Jeremy Gould laced a single to center to score Williams.

The Blue Devils added to their lead in the seventh inning with two
runs. Gabriel Saade led off with a double over the third-base bag on a 1-2
pitch. Jonathan Nicolla hit the next pitch up the middle for a single to
score Saade. After Kyle Kreick's sacrifice bunt moved pinch-runner Tom
Luciano into scoring position, Lemmerman hit a grounder to Widmann at
shortstop, who booted the ball. After the ball went into left field,
Luciano raced for home and just beat the throw from left field and Hogan's
tag at the plate to give Duke a 4-1 lead.

The Tigers responded with a rally of their own in the top of the eighth
inning. Hogan and Paulsen led off the frame with singles. But Epps
grounded into a controversial 6-4-3 double play. Epps was called out in a
close play at first base. Head Coach Jack Leggett was ejected for arguing
with first-base umpire Robert Perez. However, Sanders came through with a
single through the left side to score Hogan. It broke Clemson's streak of
20 straight hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position in the series.

But Duke added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth
inning. Hassan led off with a single through the left side and went to
third base on Williams' flyball to right field that fell near the line for
a double. Freiman then laced a single up the middle to score Hassan and
Williams.

However, the Tigers would not go quietly in the ninth inning. Schaus hit a
one-out single and went to second on Parker's walk. Two batters later,
Hogan blooped a two-out single to left to score Schaus. Paulsen then lined
the next pitch over the fence in center for a three-run homer to tie the
score. It was his 11th long ball of the season. It also broke Clemson's
20-game streak of not having an inning scoring more than three runs.

In the 11th inning, Schaus led off with a line-drive single to right and
Parker followed with an opposite-field, two-run homer to right field, but
it did not count in the final boxscore. The final score is listed as 6-6
in 10 innings.

The Tigers, who outhit Duke 12-9 (14-9 including the 11th inning), were led
by Schaus, who had three hits (four hits including the 11th
inning). Freiman had two hits and two RBIs for Duke, who was 4-for-6 with
runners in scoring position in the game.

The game was Clemson's first extra-inning contest of the season.

Clemson will travel to Cullowhee, NC to face Western Carolina on Tuesday at
7:00 PM.

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