Cowboys lasso Tigers to advance to Super Regional
Pat Krall was tagged for five runs in five innings of work (Photo by David Grooms)

Cowboys lasso Tigers to advance to Super Regional

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson’s road to Omaha has closed.

Clemson’s bats went silent for the second straight night and Oklahoma St. got a grand slam from Corey Hassel as the Cowboys defeated Clemson 9-2 Sunday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, winning the game and the Clemson Regional.

The Tigers brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh, but a strikeout ended the threat and any chance Clemson had of advancing.

"It was a tough one today. We couldn't find a way to get anything going early in the game," Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. "We had some chances late in the game and then Oklahoma State did what really good teams do they threw up a big inning in the seventh when we were within striking distance to extend their lead."

The Cowboys will advance to play the winner of Monday night’s Columbia Regional game between South Carolina and UNC Wilmington. Clemson finishes Monte Lee’s first season with a 44-20 record, while Oklahoma St. improves to 39-20.

"Josh Holliday and his coaching staff do an outstanding job They deserve a lot of credit. I'm an Oklahoma State fan now. I hope they make it all the way to Omaha," Lee said. "They were the better team and you have to give them a lot of credit. They are one of the best teams I have seen this year for sure."

The regional exit is the sixth in a row for the Tigers, who haven’t advanced to a Super Regional since going to Omaha in 2010.

"I can't even put in words what it feels like that right now - to see all those guys on our team at the end of the game in the outfield and how upset they were that their season has come to an end," Lee said. "I can coach for the rest of my life and may never have a more competitive group of players. Just an unbelievable group of kids that fought, scratched and did everything they could possibly do to put us in this position. This is a group of overachievers. I am very, very proud of them."

Krall ran into trouble in the first inning. He picked off Corey Hassel trying to steal third for the second out of the inning, but he walked Donnie Walton and Conor Costello drove a shot into the right center field gap for a 1-0 Cowboy lead.

The Tigers had chances to get in the scoring column against freshman starter Jensen Elliott, but stranded runners in each of the third and fourth innings. It unraveled for the Tigers in the fifth, and it was the poor defense that has plagued the Tigers all season that led to their demise.

Jon Littell singled sharply to left field to begin the bottom of the fifth, and the Cowboys went for the sacrifice to move the runner into scoring position. Collin Theroux bounced a bunt at Krall, who failed to pick up the ball and was charged for an error. J.R. Davis also laid down a bunt, and Krall’s throw to third was late and the bases were loaded for Corey Hassel. Hassel drove a 1-0 pitch from Krall into the Chapman Grandstands for a grand slam and 5-0 Oklahoma St. lead.

The Tigers managed just one hit against Elliott through five innings, but finally broke through in the sixth. Eli White singled with two out, and Seth Beer followed with a laser to right to put runners at first and second. That brought up Chris Okey, who lined a single to center to score White to make it 5-1. Reed Rohlman battled Elliott into a full count, but struck out on a changeup to end Clemson’s best threat.

Krall was replaced by Alex Bostic in the bottom of the sixth. Krall pitched five innings, gave up eight hits, five runs (four earned), struck out two and walked five. Krall took the loss, his season ending with a 10-2 record.

Elliott wound up pitching six solid innings, giving up just one run on four hits while striking out eight. He earned the win to improve to 9-2 on the season.

Garrett Williams replaced Elliott to start the seventh, and he hit Wilson on an 0-1 pitch. With the lefty in the game, K.J. Bryant pinch-hit for Mike Triller and he reached on an infield single to put two runners on base with no out. Cowboy head coach Josh Holliday wasted no time in yanking Williams, who was replaced by righty Trey Cobb.

A passed ball allowed both runners to move into scoring position, and Chris Williams lined a sacrifice fly to left to score Wilson to make it a 5-2 Oklahoma St. advantage. Cox struck out swinging, but Pinder walked on four pitches to put runners at first and second for White with Beer on deck. White – with the crowd at full throat and willing him to get a hit – fouled off two full count pitches before striking out to end the threat with the Cowboys still holding their three-run lead.

Costello added to Clemson’s misery with a solo blast to left off Bostic in the bottom of the seventh and the Cowboys added three more runs to take a 9-2 lead that would stand up.

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