Schaus' Two-Run Double Propels Tigers to Dramatic 9th Inning Win


by - Senior Writer -
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Clemson celebrates the game-winning run. (Photos: fotoman)

Game Highlights | Postgame Press Conference | Quotes


CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers ended three innings of frustration and Jeff Schaus got the pitch he wanted, using one swing to send the Tigers to a dramatic, come-from-behind 5-4 win over Tennessee Tech in the second game of the NCAA Regionals at Doug Kingsmore Friday night.
Clemson entered the bottom of the ninth trailing just 4-3, despite going 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position through eight innings, but Schaus drilled a two-run double past the diving first baseman, touching second base before tossing his helmet and joining his celebrating teammates for a mid-field celebration that sent most of the 5,720 fans home happy.

The win means the Tigers will play Oklahoma State Saturday night at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the championship on Sunday.

”Typical tournament game,” Clemson (41-19) head coach Jack Leggett said. “It was just one of those games, and I’ve been in a lot of them at the beginning of a tourney. We were fortunate to come up with the big plays and the big hits to win it.”

The Golden Eagles added single runs in the first and the third and led 4-0 entering the bottom of the fourth when the Tigers finally broke through.

Ben Paulsen led off the inning with a sold single to right field, and Kyle Parker followed that with a walk. Wilson Boyd sacrificed the runners to second and third, and catcher John Nester hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Paulsen for a 2-1 Tiger deficit.

The Golden Eagles added two more runs in the top of the fifth, chasing Clemson starter Trey Delk, for a 4-1 lead. Graham Stoneburner came on with runners on first and second with one out, and promptly threw two wild pitches to plate one run, and an infield chopper got under shortstop Brad Miller’s glove to score another for the 4-1 score.

Stoneburner was perfect after that, however, eventually tossing 4 2/3 innings, yielding just two hits while striking out five, a key to the Tiger comeback.

“I came in with runners on first and second, and choked a couple of sliders,” Stoneburner said of the wild pitches. “I was a little down on myself, but after that I knew I had to keep my team close. I went out there every inning knowing I couldn’t let them score. That was my biggest mindset. And the crowd was the loudest I have ever heard them, and I really fed off that, and when I got ahead in the count or got two strikes, that helped me reach back for a little extra.”

The Tigers answered with a pair of their own in the bottom of the inning, with Freeman getting an an RBI groundout and Schaus capping the inning with a towering home run to left center, his 12th of the season.

The score remained at 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth, when the Tigers had perhaps their best chance since the 5th to either tie or go on top. Paulsen led off the inning with a solid single to right, and Parker followed that with a walk to put runners at first and second with no one out.

The Tigers didn’t capitalize, however, setting the stage for a dramatic bottom of the ninth.

Addison Johnson pinch hit for Jason Stolz to lead off the inning, and fisted a single off of a slider into left field. Chris Epps tried to sacrifice him to second, but Tech pitcher Lee Henry’s diving attempt at the ball earned him nothing but grass stains, and second baseman Evan Webb, who was deeper than he should have been on the play, also failed to pick up the ball.

Mike Freeman was caught looking at strike three for the first out of the inning, but Schaus delivered his big hit, driving the ball inside the first base bag and into the right field corner. Epps was running full out on the play and scored without a play at the plate.

”I was excited to get another at-bat,” Schaus said of the game-winner. “I wasn’t up there looking to do too much, but he hung a ball up in the zone and I hit it and it snuck through. He was throwing a lot of off-speed stuff. I watched him in Ben’s at-bat, and he didn’t even throw him a fastball. After the first two pitches, I was definitely looking for the slider.”


Tennessee Tech 4 (30-23-1)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Alex Henry lf............  4  2  3  0   0  1  5  0   0
Chad Oberacker cf........  3  1  2  1   1  0  2  0   0
A.J. Kirby-Jones dh......  4  0  0  1   0  1  0  0   0
Ben Burgess c............  3  0  0  0   1  1  7  0   0
Casanova Donaldson rf....  4  0  0  0   0  2  2  0   3
Evan Webb 3b.............  4  0  0  0   0  1  0  1   0
Tate McMillan 1b.........  3  0  2  0   1  0  7  0   0
Chad Hayes 2b............  4  0  0  0   0  0  1  5   1
Heath Cheverton ss.......  3  1  1  0   0  2  1  2   0
Ryan Dennick p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Lee Henry p.............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 32  4  8  2   3  8 25  8   4

Clemson 5 (41-19)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Chris Epps dh............  4  1  1  0   0  1  0  0   0
Mike Freeman 2b..........  5  0  1  1   0  2  2  6   0
Jeff Schaus lf...........  5  1  2  3   0  1  0  0   2
Ben Paulsen 1b...........  3  1  1  0   1  0 12  0   0
Kyle Parker rf...........  1  0  0  0   3  0  1  0   0
Wilson Boyd cf...........  3  0  1  0   0  2  3  0   0
John Nester c............  3  0  0  1   0  1  8  0   0
Brad Miller ss...........  4  0  0  0   0  1  1  1   6
Jason Stolz 3b...........  1  1  1  0   2  0  0  2   0
 Addison Johnson ph......  1  1  1  0   0  0  0  0   0
Trey Delk p..............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Graham Stoneburner p....  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 30  5  8  5   6  8 27  9   9

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Tennessee Tech...... 101 020 000 -  4  8  0
Clemson............. 000 120 002 -  5  8  1
-------------------------------------------

Note: 1 out, 1 runner LOB when the game ended.

E - MILLER(23). DP - Tenn. Tech 1; Clemson 4. LOB - Tenn. Tech 4; Clemson 9.
2B - SCHAUS(13); BOYD(13). HR - SCHAUS(12). SH - EPPS(2); BOYD(3). SF -
NESTER(3). SB - PARKER(5); STOLZ(7).

Tennessee Tech         IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Ryan Dennick........  7.0  5  3  3  4  5 23 30
Lee Henry...........  1.1  3  2  2  2  3  7  9

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Trey Delk...........  4.1  6  4  4  3  3 17 20
Graham Stoneburner..  4.2  2  0  0  0  5 15 15

Win - STONEBURNER (7-3).  Loss - L. HENRY (9-3).  Save - None.
WP - DENNICK 3(4); DELK(5); STONEBURNER 2(6).
Umpires - HP: Mike Gillis  1B: Randy Wetzel  2B: Jason Rogers  3B: Dave Buck
Start: 7:20 PM   Time: 2:52   Attendance: 5720
Game notes:
Game 2 of Clemson Regional.
Game televised by CSS.



Tennessee Tech Head Coach Matt Bragga



On Game

"Well I have to say it was a difficult game to lose. I felt like we had a chance to win it late and didn't. I think Clemson had a leadoff man on maybe six or seven innings out of the nine and it is tough to win ballgames when that happens. I tip my hat to them, they did a great job and proud of our guys and disappointed that we lost because we expect to win."



Making a Statement

"Well it does. It doesn't matter who we play, we are going to play hard. I am proud of our guys. It is hard to come back from a loss like this, but I know our young men and they are very competitive and will be ready to go at three o'clock tomorrow I guarantee you that."



On Coming out aggressive

"I don't think they took us lightly, because I know Coach Leggett enough to know that his teams are going to come ready to play. Is it possible, sure it is. Everyone has been telling us we are the underdogs and we knew that coming in. I think more than anything Ryan pitched a great game and our guys played hard, maybe not good enough to win on the scoreboard. We had some good efforts that made the score what it was."



On First Baseman being too far off the line in 9th

"Yes, and that is probably my fault, you hate to look back because you need to move on when it is the next pitch, but at that point in the game it is too far off the line because a double scores two runs with the speed they had on the bases. Do I look at the plays and say, man we needed to do that better, yes I do."



On Dennick

"It is great. Ryan Dennick has come on strong for us late. He was a competitive type closer for us, and late in the year we made an adjustment and this is his fifth start. He is phenomenal, and is going to get a chance at the next level and should. We have been blessed to have this young man in our program."



Decision to Take out Dennick

"He came to us and said he was out of gas, and we want guys to be honest with us. The last thing we want is for guys to go back out there in the 8th inning knowing he is out of gas. He came to us and told us that so we went with Lee Henry who has been great for us all year."



Playing with Fire

"No question, against a great team like Clemson it is going to catch up with you. It was six or seven innings they had a leadoff man on that scores 40% of the time. We played with fire, absolutely. A great team is finally going to take advantage of that."



Ryan Dennick



On Pitching

"I knew Clemson is going to be a great hitting team from the ACC. I got to mix my pitches really well, I can't just keep feeding them fastballs because they are going to drive them all over the ballpark. I had to change it up and let my defensive work, and that worked for most of the ball game."



Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett



On Game

"This was a typical tournament game. Tennessee Tech did an outstanding job; they pitched well and kept us off-balance. We couldn't find a good hit, and had a rough 8th inning but got 2 back. We had a rough 4 innings. Chris [Epps] had a big bunt and then Schaus followed with a clutch hit. Tennessee Tech is well-coached and they played hard, and fortunately we came up with a bit hit at the end."



On Johnson and Epps

"Addison kept his head in the game, and both guys always play with a good attitude. The bunt that Chris hit, it couldn't happen to a better kid in a big situation. I'm happy it was him."



On Stolz

"Stolz has been doing a good job. There was a smaller strike zone and he found his way on base. We were trying to tie the game for 5 innings, and it was frustrating for us."



On 6-day layoff

"When you have so much time off, you're not as sharp offensively and that's what happened today. It took a while for us to get into it and we were facing a good pitcher. You can't simulate situations like this in practice. We kept ourselves in the ball game mentally and that was good."



On Oklahoma State

"Oklahoma State will be a tough opponent tomorrow. I saw 3 innings [of their game] earlier, and it's not going to be easy. I expected a hard game today, now we can focus on tomorrow."



Clemson LF Jeff Schaus on the come-from-behind win

"It was really frustrating for us the first 8 innings, but we knew we had a chance at the end."



On 6-day layoff

"We had to find our stride after 6 days off. This game was a little close, but we'll be more relaxed going into tomorrow."



On tomorrow's game

"We got an exciting win in the 9th, and we're facing a good pitcher tomorrow so we'll have to come to battle."



Clemson PH Addison Johnson on win

"I was trying to make sure I saw strikes and do anything I could to get on base."



Clemson Pitcher Graham Stoneburner on win

"I was a little down on myself at first, I have to make better pitches out of the bullpen. But I got better and just tried to keep the game in reach and give us a chance at the end."

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