Clemson, SC-- Jeff Baker and Ryan Riley each had two hits in an 11-run seventh inning, leading sixth-ranked Clemson to a 17-5 college baseball victory over Elon College Tuesday night at Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson improved to 32-9 with the victory, while Elon fell to 26-19.
The Fightin' Christians are the last team to beat #1 ranked South Carolina, but they have now lost 10 of their last 13 since gaining that victory.
Clemson will meet South Carolina Wednesday evening in Columbia. It will be the second and final meeting of the regular season between the two top 10 teams. The game in Columbia, SC is sold out, but will be televised by some cable networks within the state.
Clemson's run total was a season high and it was the most runs allowed by Elon this year. Clemson had 17 hits on the night and the Tigers are now 20-0 this year when they get at least 10 hits.
Clemson blew the game open with 11 runs in the seventh inning. Elon had closed the gap to 6-5 heading into the frame, which took 52 minutes to play. The Tigers had seven hits and five walks off four Elon pitchers in the inning.
Jeff Baker started the inning with a single to left. Clemson's freshman shortstop who is the top hitter on the team, later singled and drove in a run in the same inning. Baker, Mike Calitri and Ryan Riley all scored two runs apiece for Clemson in that seventh frame. Calitri had a three-run triple and is now 5-5 this season with the bases loaded.
Riley was the top hitter of the inning with a double and a triple and he scored a pair of runs. For the night the Clemson second baseman had a single, double and triple and scored twoice. Brian Holstad, who came on as a pinch runner for Steve Pyzik early in the seventh inning, actually came to the plate later and got a hit to drive in Clemson's final run of the frame.
The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Clemson's first three batters scored. Casey Stone, who had three hits and a walk and scored four runs on the night, singled off Elon starter and loser Nathan Holcomb to open the game. Brian Ellis walked and was followed by a home run to left by Khalil Greene. Greene also had a double and knocked in a team best four runs on the night.
Clemson added two runs in the second. Stone and Ellis were the instigators again. Stone singled and scored on an Ellis double. Michael Johnson later singled home Ellis.
Clemson held a 6-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh. Clemson starter and winner Ryan Childs (3-1) went the first six innings and allowed just three hits and one unearned run. But Elon scored four runs in the seventh on three hits off B.J. LaMura to close to within 6-5. The big hit of the top of the seventh was a triple by Shaun Kopzynski that scored two runs.
But, Mike Proto came on in relief. The junior from Peabody, MA made a diving stab of a bunt attempt by Jim Swenson, then threw to first to double up Whit Bryant, keeping Clemson in the lead. Clemson then got the momentum back with the 11-run seventh.