Singleton and Tigers Rally Past NCSU in Ninth
Look out Mark McGwire. Here comes Justin Singleton.
Until Wednesday night, Singleton had been a seldom-used reserve on the Clemson baseball team who was known as anything but a power hitter. In the ninth inning of the Tiger’s first-round contest against NC State, Singleton stepped out of character.
With Clemson trailing 6-4 and a runner on first, Singleton slammed a 2-1 pitch from the Wolfpack’s Ryan Combs over the right field bleachers, tying the game and setting the stage for a dramatic Clemson victory.
Two batters later, Patrick Boyd doubled off of the left field wall. Kurt Bultman drove Boyd in with a single to center field and the Clemson’s comeback was complete.
For eight innings, the Wolfpack held Clemson’s bats relatively in-check. Starting pitcher Dan D’Amato turned in a strong performance, scattering ten hits over seven and a third innings. Wolfpack batters peppered Clemson starter Mike Paradis for six runs and appeared well in control throughout the game.
NC State started the scoring in the second inning off of a Craig Lee RBI double. Clemson fought back in the third when Henri Stanley dove in Brian Holstad with a double to the right field gap. Patrick Boyd smashed a D’Amato pitch off of the wall, sending Stanley home and giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth, NC State tied the game when Brian Ward scored off of an Adrean Acevedo ground ball.
The Wolfpack continued to connect off of Paradis in the fifth when Dan Mooney scored from third base off of a Jason Smith sacrifice bunt. Brian Ward doubled to right and Clemson catcher Brian Ellis misplayed the throw home. Brian Wright scored and the Wolfpack had a 4-2 lead.
The sixth inning saw Clemson cut the lead to one when Derek Borgert scored from second off of Khalil Green’s double to the left-field corner.
NC State did its most damage in the eighth, scoring two runs and taking a comfortable 6-3 lead. Brian Ward again doubled and Matt Postell drove him home when he belted a drive off of the wall in left field. Postell was driven in when Josh Schmitt singled off of Tiger reliever Matt Additon.
Clemson battled back in the bottom of the eight when Kurt Bultman hit a solo shot over the center-field wall to cut the deficit to 6-4.
After the Wolfpack went down in order in the ninth, Brian Holstad singled to centerfield, setting the stage for Justin Singleton’s heroics. The left-handed batting Singleton put all of his 180 pounds into the pitch, launching Ryan Combs’ fastball well over 420 feet and out of Durham Athletic Park.
After a Henri Stanley ground out, Patrick Boyd connected with Wolfpack reliever Adrean Acevedo’s pitch, sending the ball off of the left field wall and missing a home run of his own by three feet. Kurt Bultman followed with a single up the middle, driving in the winning run and sending the Tiger bench into hysteria.
Clemson’s Chris Heck earned the win while the Wolfpack’s Adrean Acevedo recorded the loss.
The Tiger’s next play second seed Wake Forest Thursday at 8:30.