Mother's Day Thriller: Krall, Wilson lead Tigers to series win


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Krall went nine innings and earned the win (Photo by Dawson Powers)
Krall went nine innings and earned the win (Photo by Dawson Powers)

CLEMSON – Sunday’s game was a Mother’s Day thriller in Doug Kingsmore.

Weston Wilson’s bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the ninth scored Chase Pinder with the game-winning run as Clemson defeated N.C. State 2-1 in the series finale Sunday afternoon. Pat Krall made his first career Clemson start and pitched nine stellar innings in improving to 8-1.

The Tigers win the series two games to one and improve to 31-16 overall and 13-14 in the ACC. The win total matches the win total in the regular season of last year’s team. N.C. State falls to 32-14 and 13-9.

Krall was magnificent in his first start, earning the complete game win while giving up just five hits, three walks and striking out five in 108 pitches.

The Tigers are 6-1 the day after giving up 20 or more runs since 1994.

"Pat Krall was unreal again for us. I think in his last 16 innings, he's given up one run to win in rubber matches against N.C. State and Florida State," head coach Monte Lee said. "He's just been unreal. He deserves a tremendous amount of credit for us winning the ballgame today because I thought Ryan Williamson was just as good. He was really, really tough on us. If it wasn't for the miscue on the steal where they threw the ball into the outfield, we may not have scored until there at the end."

The Tigers got a leadoff single from Pinder in the ninth, and he was sacrificed to second by Eli White. That brought up Seth Beer, but the Pack walked him intentionally to put runners at first and second with one out for Chris Okey. Okey walked on five pitches to bring up Wilson with the bases loaded, and Pack head coach Elliott Avent elected to bring in lefty Will Gilbert to face Wilson.

Gilbert went to a 3-0 count on Wilson, threw a strike to make it 3-1 and Wilson hit the fifth pitch of the at-bat back through the middle for the game-winner.

"I give our guys a lot of credit. How about the at bat by Chase Pinder in the ninth - two strikes against a guy throwing in the mid-90s to get a leadoff hit right there," Lee said. "Then, we executed which was really fun to watch. In a very tight situation, Eli White got the bunt down and then they did what any of us would do and they walked Seth. They walked Okey and we were very fortunate that the ball hopped up on the shortstop at the last second and we won it. It was just a great win for our guys. I couldn't be happier for them and I'm ready to enjoy the day off tomorrow after such an exciting win."

Neither team managed much of a threat through the game’s first three innings – the Tigers registered just one hit – and Krall shut down the Pack through the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, however, the Tigers made some noise.

White led off the inning with a single and moved to third when Okey lined a one-out single to right-center. Wilson popped up a short fly to short for the second out. That brought up Rohlman, who had the Tigers’ only hit heading into the fourth. Okey got caught leaning at first, and it appeared he would be caught in between bases for the final out. However, Preston Palmeiro’s throw to second was tossed into center field, and White scored easily for a 1-0 Clemson lead. Rohlman flew out to center to end the inning.

The Pack finally got to Krall in the sixth. Andrew Kninzer led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice and to third on a fly to right. Brock Deatherage hit a grounder up the middle that was fielded by Wilson but the throw to first was late and the game was tied at 1-1. The run was the first allowed by Krall at home this season.

Weston Wilson celebrates his game-winner

Krall and Pack starter Ryan Williamson both stayed on cruise control until the bottom of the eighth – Williamson left with arm tightness – and was replaced by Tommy DeJuneas. DeJuneas walked pinch-hitter Robert Jolly, and Jolly was replaced by pinch-runner Maleeke Gibson. However, Gibson was thrown at second to end the inning.

Krall gave up a leadoff double to begin the ninth, but the first batter failed to sacrifice the runner to third. The next two hitters bounced out to second, and Krall exited with a stellar nine-inning performance.

The Tigers play host to the College of Charleston in a two-game series starting Tuesday. Tuesday’s game starts at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday’s game starts at 4 p.m.

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