Berken, Tigers Make It Two Straight Over Wolfpack


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - With approximately 20 members of his family in town from De Pere, Wisconsin to watch him pitch this weekend, Jason Berken turned in perhaps his best performance of the season.

Berken allowed just one earned run over seven-plus innings Saturday night, leading Clemson to a 4-2 victory over visiting N.C. State. The game was played before an announced crowd of 3,914 on another cold, windy night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The victory improves the Tigers' record to 15-6, 2-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Clemson goes for the sweep of State (21-7, 5-3) at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Berken (3-2), in his fifth start of the season, had the best command of his pitches this year.

He struck out five, walked three, and given better defensive support in the top of the eighth inning, might have finished the game.

"That's the best I've felt in a long time," Berken said. "The defense made plays behind me, and I made big pitches when I had to...Our goal this weekend was to win three games. So now we have to win (Sunday)."

For his part, Jack Leggett was ecstatic at the performance of his junior righthander.

"That was big for us, probably his best outing of the season," said Leggett. "He had good command, made quality pitches and was able to pitch out of some tough jams there a couple of times."

The game's biggest jam came in the top of the ninth inning, however, with Berken playing the role of spectator.

With sophomore Daniel Moskos pitching for Clemson and the Tigers leading 4-2, State's Matt Mangini led off with a routine ground ball to third that Herman Demmink booted - his second error of the game. Moskos retired the next two hitters - Caleb Mangum on a fly ball to right and Jonathan Diaz on a bunt to the first baseman - before walking leadoff hitter Matt Camp.

Pinch hitter Jon Still then singled to center, a hit that seemed destined to score Mangini easily from second base. But centerfielder Brad Chalk, catching Camp taking a wide turn around second, threw behind the runner to Taylor Harbin. Harbin easily tagged out Camp for the third out.

And since the out occurred before Mangini touched home plate, his run did not count. The game was over, and the Tigers had taken two straight from the Wolfpack.

"We played tough out there tonight," Leggett said. "We didn't let the errors we made snowball and cost us the game like we have a couple of times this season. Chalk is a heads up player, Harbin is a heads up player, and they made a big play to end the game for us."

Clemson's offense came in one big burst in the fourth inning.

Chalk opened the inning with a triple, then scored on Harbin's double. Tyler Colvin doubled in Harbin to make it 2-0, and after Andy D'Alessio struck out, Ben Hall singled to score Colvin with the inning's third run.

Hall would later score on a bloop single to left by D.J. Mitchell for a 4-0 lead.

"We had to change our approach on (losing pitcher Eric Surkamp)," Leggett said. "He had struck out five of our first 10 batters. So we got together, talked about being more aggressive and looking for a good pitch. We were able to string those hits together there for the four runs, and it turned out we needed every one of them."

State cut the lead in half in the eighth inning, scoring two runs without benefit of a hit.

Two walks and an error loaded the bases with nobody out. Berken was replaced by lefty Daniel Moskos, who walked pinch-hitter Ryan Pond on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run. Ramon Corona's sacrifice fly to center cut the lead to 4-2.

But Moskos escaped further trouble by getting Brian Aragon to ground into a double play.

The Wolfpack had back-to-back major scoring threats in the fifth and sixth innings vs. Berken.

In both innings State had runners on second and third with one out. In both innings the next batter - Jonathan Diaz in the fifth and Corona in the sixth - popped out to second base for the second out.

Berken ended the fifth inning by retiring Matt Camp on a ground ball to third. He escaped trouble in the sixth by inducing Aragon to flyout to centerfield.

Clemson and N.C. State wind up the three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Righthander Stephen Faris (1-0, 2.59) starts for the Tigers. State's is expected to counter with righty Andrew Brackman.

N.C. State 2 (21-7,5-3 ACC)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Matt Camp cf.............  3  1  0  0   2  0  2  0   2
Bobby Hubbard lf.........  3  1  0  0   1  1  1  0   0
 Jon Still ph............  1  0  1  0   0  0  0  0   0
Aaron Bates 1b...........  3  0  1  0   1  1  5  3   0
Aaron Cone dh............  2  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   1
 Ryan Pond ph............  0  0  0  1   1  0  0  0   0
 Marcus Jones pr/dh......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Ramon Corona 2b..........  3  0  1  1   0  0  1  2   0
Brian Aragon rf..........  4  0  1  0   0  1  1  0   3
Matt Mangini 3b..........  4  0  2  0   0  0  1  0   0
Caleb Mangum c...........  3  0  0  0   0  1  8  1   1
Jonathan Diaz ss.........  4  0  0  0   0  0  4  1   0
Eric Surkamp p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  1  2   0
 Joel Brookens p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
 Chris Engle p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Adam McLaurin p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 30  2  6  2   5  5 24 10   9

Clemson 4 (15-6,2-3 ACC)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Herman Demmink 3b........  4  0  1  0   0  2  0  2   0
Brad Chalk cf............  4  1  1  0   0  1  2  1   0
Taylor Harbin 2b.........  3  1  1  1   0  1  7  5   1
Tyler Colvin lf..........  4  1  1  1   0  0  0  1   1
Andy D'Alessio 1b........  4  0  1  0   0  2 12  0   0
Ben Hall dh..............  1  1  1  1   2  0  0  0   0
 Travis Storrer ph/dh....  1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   1
Stan Widmann ss..........  2  0  0  0   1  1  1  2   0
D.J. Mitchell rf.........  3  0  1  1   0  1  1  0   2
Adrian Casanova c........  3  0  0  0   0  1  4  1   0
Jason Berken p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  2   0
 Daniel Moskos p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 29  4  7  4   3  9 27 14   5

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
N.C. State.......... 000 000 020 -  2  6  0
Clemson............. 000 400 00X -  4  7  3
-------------------------------------------

E - DEMMINK 2(6); WIDMANN(6). DP - Clemson 2. 
LOB - N.C. State 9; Clemson 5. 2B - HARBIN(6). 
3B - CHALK(2); COLVIN(1). HBP - CONE; HARBIN. SH -
MANGUM(6). SF - CORONA(5). SB - CORONA(3); CHALK(3). 
CS - HALL(2).

N.C. State             IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Eric Surkamp........  5.2  6  4  4  3  7 21 25
Joel Brookens.......  2.0  0  0  0  0  2  6  6
Chris Engle.........  0.0  1  0  0  0  0  1  1
Adam McLaurin.......  0.1  0  0  0  0  0  1  1

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Jason Berken........  7.0  5  2  1  3  5 25 30
Daniel Moskos.......  2.0  1  0  0  2  0  5  8

Win - BERKEN (3-2).  Loss - SURKAMP (2-1).  Save - MOSKOS (2).
WP - SURKAMP(4). HBP - by SURKAMP (HARBIN); by BERKEN (CONE).
Umpires - HP: Scott Graham  1B: Bruce Ravan  3B: Jack Cox
Start: 7:03   Time: 2:32   Attendance: 3914
BERKEN faced 3 batters in the 8th.
ENGLE faced 1 batter in the 8th.

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