Tigers Outlast No. 5 Georgia Tech, 13-12
ATLANTA, GA -- Casey Stone had four hits and drove in four runs and Khalil Greene and Jeff Baker hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning as fifth-ranked Clemson outlasted No. 5 Georgia Tech, 13-12, Sunday before a record crowd of 3,317 fans at Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium.
With the win Clemson (37-12, 12-6) salvaged the final contest of the Atlantic Coast Conference series after Tech won the first two games. The loss snapped an 11-game home winning streak for the Jackets, who remained in first place in the ACC standings at 37-11 overall, 16-5 in the conference ahead of second-place Florida State (13-5 ACC).
Tech loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning, but Victor Menocal's sharp line drive was dropped by shortstop Jeff Baker, who turned a game-ending double play. He threw home to catcher Brian Ellis then on to third to Khalil Greene. The runner on second assumed Baker's putout, but didn't realize the ball had been dropped until it was too late.
The Jackets trailed 9-3 before rallying for eight runs in the fifth inning to take an 11-9 lead on a three-run homer by first baseman Jason Perry. The freshman from Jonesboro, GA, also had a two-run homer in the second inning, his first two round-trippers of the season.
After Perry singled to open the fifth, Richard Lewis was hit by a pitch with one out, chasing starter Scott Berney. Steve Reba came in and walked Brad Stockton and then gave up three straight singles to Mark Teixeira, Bryan Prince and Jason Basil. Matt Additon relieved Reba and gave up Perry's blast three batters later.
Clemson moved back in front with four runs in the seventh. Justin Singleton, who drove in three runs on the day, doubled and scored when Stone singled and Basil, the Tech leftfielder, threw wildly to plate. With two outs and Stone at third base and Tech still leading 11-10, Greene and Baker hit their consecutive home runs, each one just clearing the left field wall off Ben Sheeter.
The Tigers jumped on Tech starter Steve Kelly for five runs in the first two innings. Clemson scored two in the first on Baker's RBI double and a run-scoring single by Ryan Riley before Stone's three-run homer in the second put the Tigers ahead 5-0. Stone's homer was the first in his career, coming on his 361st career at bat. Tech answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer by Prince and a two-run shot by Perry.
Clemson added four runs in the fourth. Clemson loaded the bases with no outs, but Jarrod Schmidt and Ellis went down swinging. Singleton, on a 2-2 pitch, lined a double to left center to clear the bases. Stone followed with a run-scoring single.
Additon earned the victory to improve to 5-2, and Nick Glaser earned his 12th save. With the loss, Sheeter fell to 3-3.
Sunday's crowd of 3,317 surpassed the previous Russ Chandler Stadium high of 3,272 against Florida State on May 6, 1995. The three-game series between Tech and the Tigers drew 7,993 fans, the second-best series total for the Jackets.
Clemson will not be in action again until Saturday, when #2 Florida State takes on Clemson at 7:00 PM. Clemson is off this week for final exams.