Colvin's Grand Slam Has Tigers On Brink of Omaha


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - If Tyler Colvin keeps this up, the Chicago Cubs better figure on coughing up a serious signing bonus.

Colvin, the 13th-overall pick by Chicago earlier this week in the annual Major League Baseball draft, hit a dramatic game-winning grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday, lifting Clemson to an improbable 11-8 Super Regional victory over Oral Roberts at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The victory puts Clemson (51-14) on the doorstep of the College World Series for the second straight season. The Tigers need but one victory over the Golden Eagles in the next two days to advance to Omaha.

Oral Roberts (46-15) must win two straight to move on.

For a short time, however, it looked as if the roles would be reversed.

The Golden Eagles rallied for three runs off Clemson closer Daniel Moskos in the top of the ninth inning, turning a 7-5 deficit into an 8-7 lead. All three of the runs scored with two outs.

But the Tigers would rally off ORU closer Sean Jarrett (7-2) in a major way.

Ben Hall led off the ninth inning with a fly ball to right field, but Herman Demmink followed with a sharply hit ground ball base hit to center. Brad Chalk then beat out a bunt single, and Marquez Smith loaded the bases with an infield hit to shortstop.

That brought Colvin to the plate. He took the first pitch for a strike, then the next offering from Jarrett well out of the park to right-center field. As his teammates waited on him at home plate, Colvin circled the bases to a raucous standing ovation from the capacity-plus crowd.

“He (Sean Jarrett) threw a slider and he left it up," Colvin said. "I was just going up there to try and hit the ball hard and hopefully find a hole. Luckily, I just hit it over the fence. It was pretty exciting. That was my first walk-off hit.”

The blast bailed out Clemson closer Daniel Moskos (5-5), who pitched a perfect eighth inning before getting rocked in the ninth.

It also capped off a day in which the Tigers looked anything but championship caliber in the first two innings or so. But like all good teams, it didn't take them long to find their stride.

“It was an epic battle, there’s no question about that," said Clemson coach Jack Leggett. "They came out strong and did some good things early. We didn’t quite get into the flow of the game until about the third inning or so. We didn’t play great defense and weren’t on the mark pitching-wise early."

Indeed, starter Jason Berken struggled with his command in the early going, and was also victimized by a pair of early errors from his defense.

He also was involved in a major collision at first base on a ball hit by ORU centerfielder Kelly Minissale that Tiger first baseman Andy D'Alessio couldn't handle cleanly. When D'Alessio recovered, his throw, Berken and Minissale all arrived at the bag at the same time and Berken's face appeared to take the brunt of the blow as the players hit the ground.

The game was delayed for more than five minutes while Berken was attended to, and ultimately he remained in the game. But it wouldn't be for long. Three batters later Travis DeBondt hit an opposite-field three-run home run to left to give ORU a 4-1 lead.

Berken was removed from the game at that point and replaced by P.J. Zocchi.

Zocchi restored order, allowing just one run over the next five innings and was in line for the victory until Moskos' struggles in the ninth.

"I thought some good things happened when P.J. Zocchi came in; he calmed things down for a while...," said Leggett. "Moskos did great in the first inning, but they got to him a little bit. We just battled back. Every time they scored, we answered. We showed some great toughness today.

"They did too; they're a very good team."

D.J. Mitchell had three hits and three RBI for the Tigers. Demmink and Taylor Harbin added solo home runs.

Chad Rothford had a home run for Oral Roberts.

Game Two is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. Clemson will send junior righty Stephen Faris to the mound to try and secure the school's first College World Series appearance in four years.


Oral Roberts 8 (41-15)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Brendan Duffy rf.........  3  1  0  0   1  1  1  1   0
Tim Torres ss............  4  0  1  1   0  1  3  3   0
Jake Kahaulelio 2b.......  4  1  2  1   1  0  1  4   0
Andy Bouchie c...........  5  0  2  0   0  0  7  1   1
Chad Rothford 1b.........  5  1  2  2   0  1 10  0   1
Kelly Minissale cf.......  5  1  1  0   0  2  1  1   2
Brian Aguailar dh........  3  1  0  0   1  1  0  0   2
Carter McQuigg 3b........  3  1  2  0   0  1  2  1   0
Travis DeBondt lf........  3  1  1  3   0  0  0  0   1
 Pat Warfle ph/lf........  1  1  1  0   0  0  0  0   0
Nick Jones p.............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
 Erik Crichton p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  3   0
 Sean Jarrett p..........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 36  8 12  7   3  7 25 15   7

Clemson 11 (51-14)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Herman Demmink dh........  4  2  2  1   1  0  0  0   2
Brad Chalk cf............  3  1  1  0   1  0  3  0   0
Marquez Smith 3b.........  5  1  1  1   0  2  1  2   0
Tyler Colvin lf..........  5  1  2  4   0  1  1  0   1
Taylor Harbin 2b.........  2  3  1  1   0  0  2  4   0
Andy D'Alessio 1b........  3  1  0  0   1  2  9  0   0
Stan Widmann ss..........  4  0  1  0   0  1  1  1   0
D.J. Mitchell rf.........  4  1  3  3   0  0  3  1   0
Adrian Casanova c........  2  1  1  1   1  0  7  0   0
 Ben Hall ph.............  1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Jason Berken p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 P.J. Zocchi p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
 David Kopp p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
 Daniel Moskos p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 33 11 12 11   4  6 27 10   4

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Oral Roberts........ 130 001 003 -  8 12  1
Clemson............. 111 102 014 - 11 12  2
-------------------------------------------

Note: 1 out, 0 runners LOB when the game ended.

E - DeBONDT(2); D'ALESSIO(2); MITCHELL(2). DP - Clemson 2. 
LOB - Oral Roberts 7; Clemson 4. HR - ROTHFORD(13); 
DeBONDT(3); DEMMINK(5); COLVIN(13); HARBIN(8). 
HBP - HARBIN. SH - DUFFY(4); McQUIGG(8); CHALK(21); 
HARBIN(3). SF - TORRES(2). SB - HARBIN(13); MITCHELL(7).

Oral Roberts           IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Nick Jones..........  2.0  2  3  3  3  2  7 10
Erik Crichton.......  5.0  4  3  1  0  4 18 20
Sean Jarrett........  1.1  6  5  5  1  0  8 10

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Jason Berken........  1.1  1  4  2  2  1  6  9
P.J. Zocchi.........  5.0  6  1  1  1  3 20 21
David Kopp..........  0.2  0  0  0  0  0  1  1
Daniel Moskos.......  2.0  5  3  3  0  3  9 11

Win - MOSKOS (5-5).  Loss - JARRETT (7-2).  Save - None.
WP - BERKEN(8); ZOCCHI(9). HBP - by CRICHTON (HARBIN).
Umpires - HP: Mark Chapman  1B: John Kleis  
2B: Jim Garman  3B: Darrin Sealey
Start: 3:06   Time: 3:20   Attendance: 5617
Game notes:
Game 1 of Clemson (SC) Super Regional.
JONES faced 2 batters in the 3rd.

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