Tigers Open Season With Sweep Of Mercer

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CLEMSON - Senior catcher Doug Hogan lived up to his preseason billing and junior lefthander Ryan Hinson made a solid season debut, as they helped #13 Clemson to a 12-5 season-opening victory over Mercer in the first game of a doubleheader at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday.

In game two, Clemson scored six runs in the first three innings and held on for a 6-5 victory. The #13 Tigers improved to 2-0, while Mercer dropped to 0-2.

Hogan, who was tabbed a preseason third-team All-American and named to the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the sixth inning. Hogan extended his hitting streak to 16 games, stemming back from the season-ending 15-game streak in 2007.

Ryan Hinson (1-0) was in midseason form against the Bears, as he worked 5.0 innings, allowing five hits, two runs, and three walks with four strikeouts to up his career record to 11-2. Mercer starter Boone Webster (0-1) took the loss, as he allowed seven runs (three earned) in 4.0 innings pitched.

Clemson scored two runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Stan Widmann, who was coming off a season-ending injury in 2007, singled to lead off the inning and Wilson Boyd followed with a towering two-run homer to left field.

The Bears responded with two runs in the third inning to tie the score. Matthew Crawford led off the frame with a single to right, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler McCarty, and advanced to third on a double by Mike Armstrong. Crawford then scored on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Brown. Steven Karwatt then doubled to right, plating Armstong.

Clemson took back the lead with five runs in the bottom of the third. Widmann doubled to left-center, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a passed ball. Hogan then doubled to center. Ben Paulsen reached on an error that also allowed Hogan to advance to third. Jeff Schaus and Chris Epps drew back-to-back walks to score Hogan. John Hinson then plated Paulsen with a sacrifice fly to left. Alex Lee tripled to left-center, scoring Schaus and Epps and putting the Tigers on top 7-2.

The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning, as Lee singled to left, plating both John Hinson and Epps.

Hogan highlighted the sixth inning with a towering two-run homer down the left-field line to put the Tigers ahead 11-2.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, pinch-hitter Kyle Parker smacked his first career hit as a Tiger, a sharp single to center on the first pitch he saw. Parker then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pinch-hitter Adam Ward drove him home with a single to left, upping the lead 12-2.

Mercer scored three runs in the ninth, but it was not enough to catch the Tigers.

Clemson, who totaled 16 hits, was led by Hogan (3-for-4) and Boyd (3-for-5), who each hit two-run homers. Lee had a 2-for-4 day with a career-high four RBIs. Epps had an impressive first appearance as a Tiger, as he went 3-for-3 with an RBI.

In the second game, D.J. Mitchell (1-0) pitched 5.0 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with four strikeouts to earn the win. Matt Vaughn closed out the game to pick up his first save. Justin Boyette (0-1) surrendered five earned runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings pitched and took the loss for Mercer.

Chris Epps was 2-for-4 for Clemson with a two-run homer, the first of his career, in the third inning. Epps finished his first day as a Tiger with five hits in seven at-bats.

Six other Tigers had one hit apiece, including Doug Hogan, who upped his hitting streak to 17 games. Steven Karwatt led the Bears with a two-run home run in the second.

Matthew Crawford scored on a wild pitch to give the Bears a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Karwatt then hit a two-run homer to left in the second to put the Bears on top 3-0.

Epps led off the bottom of the second with a single to center. With one out, Alex Lee singled through the right side. Mike Freeman crushed his first hit as a Tiger through the right side to plate Epps. Stan Widmann then hit a sacrifice fly to score Lee. Wilson Boyd then reached second on a dropped pop-up that moved Freeman to third. Hogan followed with a bunt single to third, as the third baseman's errant throw to first allowed Boyd and Freeman to score and put the Tigers on top 4-3.

Epps highlighted the third inning with his first career home run, a two-run shot into a stiff wind to right field that put the Tigers ahead 6-3.

The Bears scored one run in the sixth when Thomas Carroll scored on a fielding error by second-baseman Mike Freeman.

Pinch-hitter Joe Winker scored on a groundout by Tyler McCarty in the ninth inning after leading off with a double, but Vaughn closed out the game to pick up the save.

The Tigers and Bears will play the final game of the three-game series on Sunday at 1:00 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

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