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Flames cool Tiger bats in season-ending loss

  by Nikki Steele - Staff Writer - Sunday, June 2, 2013 4:57 PM

COLUMBIA- Post-season depression will set in a little earlier than the Clemson Tigers would have liked after they were knocked out of the Columbia Regional in a 3-1 elimination game loss to Liberty Sunday afternoon.

Situational hitting has doomed the Tigers all season, and Sunday afternoon was no different as Clemson’s 2013 season came to a close at Carolina Baseball Stadium. Clemson finishes the year with a 40-22 record, while Liberty improved to 36-28.

The Tigers got the leadoff runner on base in five different innings, but only managed one run, stranding eight runners and hitting a paltry 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

The Tigers ended the season by losing seven of their last eight games.

“Obviously this is a tough loss. Whether you end your season here or in Omaha, it’s like a runaway train that comes to a stop and it hurts,” Clemson head coach Jack LeggettJack Leggett
Baseball Head Coach
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said. “I am proud of our team and I think we have a great future and a lot of things to look forward to. A lot of positive things happened this year and we battled all season long. Today we had leadoff men on base and couldn’t come up with men on base. That was our Achilles Heel all year long. We would have weird things happen and I hope it evens out at some point.”

Clemson had chances late - getting two runners on base in both the eighth and ninth- but couldn’t manage to push across any runs. Shane KennedyShane Kennedy
Jr. Infielder
#11 6-2, 190
Orlando, FL

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took a called third strike to end the eighth, and Thomas BrittleThomas Brittle
RS Sr. Outfielder
#4 5-8, 180
Cross, SC

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hit a lazy fly ball to end the game and the season.

“This is a tough time of the year, especially when you lose your last game,” Leggett said. “Only one team doesn’t do that. I am very proud of our team and what we have ahead of us. We had 40 wins against the fifth-toughest schedule, and 16 wins out of our freshman pitchers. We have beaten five of the teams that hosted regionals. It’s been a grind but it’s also been a learning experience.”

Steven DuggarSteven Duggar
Fr. Outfielder
#9 6-1, 185
Moore, SC

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led off the fourth with a double- the fourth time the Tigers got the leadoff man aboard- and Garrett BoulwareGarrett Boulware
So. Catcher
#30 6-1, 210
Anderson, SC

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lined a ball up the middle to plate the first Clemson run of the day. The Flames answered in the bottom of the inning loading the bases twice and scoring two runs, but a magnificent throw home on a fly ball by Tyler SlatonTyler Slaton
So. Outfielder
#18 5-7, 200
Cumming, GA

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limited the damage to a 2-1 Liberty lead.

Lefty Matthew CrownoverMatthew Crownover
Fr. LH Pitcher
#44 5-11, 205
Ringgold, GA

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started for the Tigers and pitched well before the fourth inning surge giving up two runs on five hits and one walk, while striking out three.

Liberty extended its lead to 3-1 in the fifth by plating a run on a sacrifice fly by Trey Wimmer after the Flames put runners in scoring position with a double steal.

After the fifth inning, Patrick AndrewsPatrick Andrews
So. RH Pitcher
#43 6-3, 225
Hilton Head Island, SC

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shut down the flames, pitching three scoreless innings, giving up no hits and striking out four.

Boulware had three hits for the Tigers, while Duggar had two and scored a run.

Duggar said a lack of clutch hitting cost the Tigers down the stretch.

“The problem was not getting big hits at the right time,” Duggar said. “Going all the way back to the FSU series, we outhit them but couldn’t come through with guys on base. Getting guys on base was not the problem, but we just couldn’t get them in. I don’t feel like it snowballed, but we just couldn’t get it done when we needed to.”

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