Baylor Forces Deciding Game Three with Tigers


by - Correspondent -
    |

WACO, Texas - Very little has come easy for this Clemson baseball team. Why should a trip to the College World Series be any different?


Needing only a win Sunday to advance to Omaha for the first time since 2002, the Tigers instead find themselves in a winner-take-all, Texas-style showdown for the automatic berth. Monday's Super Regional series finale came about after host Baylor rocked Clemson starter Josh Cribb en route to a 7-1 victory here in Waco.


The game was played before an announced crowd of 4,424, setting a new single-game season mark at Baylor Ballpark for the second time in as many days.


"They hit the ball pretty good and they found the holes and they took advantage of the opportunities that they had," said Clemson head coach Jack Leggett. "We just couldn't really get anything going offensively and when we got behind he got some confidence and just kept rolling... This one is gone and we just have to be ready for (Monday)."




Cribb (8-5), who had been so dominating in his last five appearances (four starts and a relief outing), never found his rhythm Sunday afternoon.


The No. 4 nationally seeded Bears (43-22) pounded Cribb for 12 hits and seven runs (six earned) in just six innings.


The bottom of the Baylor batting order provided the early damage, seventh hitter Seth Fortenberry doubling in one run and Jeff Mandel knocking in two more - one with a single and another with a solo home run, his second of the season.


"(Saturday), we let a lot of big situations go by with no outs and runners in scoring position," said Fortenberry. "Coming through in clutch is a big thing, and Jeff (Mandel) has been doing it a lot lately. It's good to just see us all just get over (Saturday) and start a new day."


Reid Brees tripled in another run in the fifth inning, and later scored on an error by Clemson shortstop Stan Widmann. Baylor's final two runs off Cribb came in the sixth on RBI base hits from Chase Gerdes and Josh Ford.


Baylor's first five runs scored with two outs in the inning.


"That's something you just have to bear down on. You got to tip your hats to the offense from Baylor, those guys came out ready to hit today," said Cribb. "I was throwing a fastball outside and they were taking the ball the other way. So, you got to give those guys credit. The pitches I left up in the zone they were hitting."


Freshman lefty Chris Fydrich and sophomore righthander Stephen Clyne combined to shut out the Bears over the final three innings.


Meanwhile, Clemson's offense mustered next to nothing against hard-throwing Baylor righty Mark McCormick.


McCormick, a first-round draft choice of the St. Louis Cardinals, checked the Tigers (43-22) on just five hits in his 8 1/3 inning, 137-pitch performance. Prone to occasional bouts of wildness, McCormick walked six batters on the afternoon. But his defense helped bail him out by turning three double plays.


McCormick struck out 10 on his way to improving his record to 8-3. The only run he allowed scored in the third on an infield single by Clemson Taylor Harbin.


"They were a good type of team for him to throw against because they don't like to take pitches," Baylor head coach Steve Smith said of Clemson. "I have about seven or eight weeks of tape that are just like what he did today. He had a bad outing against Texas A&M. Other than that, the guy has been really good."


Ryan LaMotta got the final two outs of the game, surrendering only a double to pinch-hitter Ben Hall.


Clemson and Baylor will play the final game of the Super Regional best-of-three series Monday in Waco. According to sources from ESPN, which will televise the game, first pitch will be 1 p.m.


BAYLOR 7 (43-22)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB  Avg.
------------------------------------------------------------
Griffin, Michael 2b......  5  1  2  0   0  0  3  4   1  .297
Gerdes, Chase cf.........  5  0  1  1   0  1  2  0   0  .256
Ford, Josh c.............  5  1  2  1   0  0 11  0   0  .326
Dillon, Zach dh..........  4  0  0  0   1  1  0  0   0  .311
Brees, Reid lf...........  4  1  1  1   0  1  0  0   2  .276
 Sevigny, Kevin lf.......  1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0  .225
Russo, Kevin 3b..........  5  1  1  0   0  1  1  0   2  .283
Fortenberry, Seth rf.....  3  1  1  1   1  1  1  0   0  .175
Mandel, Jeff 1b..........  4  1  2  2   0  2  4  2   2  .211
Witt, Paul ss............  4  1  2  0   0  1  4  3   1  .260
McCormick, Mark p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  1  0   0     -
 LaMotta, Ryan p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0     -
Totals................... 40  7 12  6   2  8 27  9   8

Clemson 1 (43-22)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB  Avg.
------------------------------------------------------------
Herman Demmink 3b........  5  0  1  0   0  3  0  0   2  .344
Brad Chalk cf............  2  0  1  0   2  0  3  1   1  .355
Taylor Harbin 2b.........  4  0  1  1   0  0  2  1   0  .348
Tyler Colvin lf/1b.......  4  0  0  0   0  2  3  0   3  .287
Kris Harvey dh...........  4  0  1  0   0  1  0  0   1  .339
Travis Storrer rf........  4  0  1  0   0  2  4  0   0  .339
Andy D'Alessio 1b........  2  0  0  0   0  2  5  0   0  .280
 Jesse Ferguson ph/lf....  1  0  0  0   1  1  1  0   2  .157
Stan Widmann ss..........  2  0  0  0   2  0  0  2   0  .284
Adrian Casanova c........  2  1  0  0   1  0  8  1   0  .241
 Gene Pierce c...........  1  0  1  0   0  0  1  0   0  .400
Josh Cribb p.............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0     -
 Chris Fidrych p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0     -
 Stephen Clyne p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0     -
Totals................... 31  1  6  1   6 11 27  5   9

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
BAYLOR.............. 020 122 000 -  7 12  1
Clemson............. 001 000 000 -  1  6  3
-------------------------------------------

E - Witt(23); WIDMANN(25); CASANOVA(8); FIDRYCH(1). 
DP - BEARS 2; TIGERS 1. LOB - BEARS 8; TIGERS 9. 
2B - Fortenberry(4); Witt(11); DEMMINK(17);
PIERCE(1). 3B - Brees(2). HR - Mandel(2). SB - Mandel(2).

BAYLOR                 IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF  NP   ERA
--------------------------------------------------------
McCormick, Mark.....  8.1  5  1  1  6 10 28 34 137  2.95
LaMotta, Ryan.......  0.2  1  0  0  0  1  3  3   7  2.20

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF  NP   ERA
--------------------------------------------------------
Josh Cribb..........  6.0 12  7  6  2  5 31 33 102  3.54
Chris Fidrych.......  1.1  0  0  0  0  3  5  5  26  4.50
Stephen Clyne.......  1.2  0  0  0  0  0  4  4  11  3.45

Win - McCormick (8-3).  Loss - CRIBB (8-5).  Save - None.
Pitches/strikes: McCormick 137/88; LaMotta 7/5; 
CRIBB 102/62; FIDRYCH 26/17; CLYNE 11/9.
Umpires - HP: Mark Ditsworth  1B: Joe Burleson  
2B: Al Davis  3B: Mike Colvin
Start: 3:07 pm   Time: 2:48   Attendance: 4424

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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