Hall's big night goes to waste as Tigers lose fifth in a row

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by - Senior Writer -
Hall homers in the first inning (Photo by David Grooms)
Hall homers in the first inning (Photo by David Grooms)

CLEMSON – Sam Hall’s big night goes to waste.

Hall homered twice, drove in three runs, scored three runs and scored the tying run in the seventh by stealing home, but five walks and two errors by the Tigers allowed Duke to claim a 9-8 victory over No. 16 Clemson Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Duke improves to 22-16 overall and 9-10 in the ACC. Clemson has a five-game losing streak and falls to 25-13 overall and 11-8 in the ACC.

Hall hit the third pitch he saw over the wall in left for a 1-0 Clemson lead in the bottom of the first. The homer was Hall’s fifth of the season.

The Tigers added two more runs in the third. James Parker hit the first pitch of the inning down the left field line for a leadoff double. Hall flew out to center for the first out, but Parker moved up to third on the play. Logan Davidson walked on four pitches to put runners at the corners with one out and then moved to second on a wild pitch. That brought up Grayson Byrd, who hit a grounder to second for the second out, scoring Parker for a 2-0 lead with Davidson moving to third on the play. Kyle Wilkie then roped a single to left field that scored Davidson for a 3-0 lead.

“That was one of our better innings we’ve had lately,” head coach Monte Lee said. “Parker led off with the double, and then Hall didn’t try to do too much, just got it deep enough to move the runner over. And then Byrd didn’t try to do too much and got the runner in. Wilkie then does what he does with two outs and runners on base. Overall, that was a good offensive inning for us.”

The Blue Devils roared back to the take the lead in the 4th. Five of the first six batters in the inning singled and Duke took advantage of a passed ball to take a 4-3 lead.

Hall and the Tigers responded in the bottom of the frame. Bo Majkowski and Jordan Greene walked to lead off the inning, and a sacrifice bunt by Justin Hawkins moved the runners up one base. Parker grounded out to shortstop with Majkowski scoring on the play and Greene moving to third. That brought up Hall, who hit his second homer of the night, a 2-run shot to left that gave the Tigers a 6-4 lead.

Sharpe was chased in the top of sixth after giving up a two-out walk. Sharpe was replaced by Sam Weatherly, who got a strikeout to end the threat. Sharpe pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (all earned) while walking two and striking out three. He threw 97 pitches.

Weatherly surrendered the lead in the seventh. Weatherly walked the first two batters, and two singles and a fielder’s choice later the Blue Devils held a 7-6 lead. Weatherly pitched just one inning and gave up two hits, three runs (all earned) while walking two and striking out two.

Duke starter Ben Gross’ night was done after six innings. He gave up his first two homers of the season, giving up four hits, six runs (all earned) while walking four and striking out three.

Once again, the Tigers found a way to get back in the game. Hall started the bottom of the seventh with a single to center and quickly moved to second on a balk. Davidson reached on an infield single that moved Hall to third, and Davidson promptly stole second to put runners in scoring position with no out.

Hall then surprised everybody in the ballpark by stealing home. The play underwent a lengthy review, but the call stood, and the score was tied 7-7 with nobody out and Davidson still at second base. Byrd fouled out for the first out, but Davidson stole third and scored on a grounder by Wilkie that put Clemson back on top 8-7.

Own Griffith held the Blue Devils in check until the 9th, when a walk and a single allowed the Blue Devils to score the tying run. Griffith was replaced by Carson Spiers, who allowed a run-scoring double that gave the Blue Devils a 9-8 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.

The top of Clemson’s lineup went meekly in the ninth, with Hall striking out, Davidson grounding out to third, and Byrd grounding out to second to end the game.

Game two of the series is Military Appreciation Day, and the first pitch is set for Saturday at 3 pm. The series finale is Sunday at 1 pm.


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