Tigers Outlast Terps, 7-6
It wasn’t pretty, but the Clemson Tigers out-lasted the Maryland Terrapins 7-6 in a third-round slugfest during Friday’s ACC baseball tournament action.
Clemson capitalized off two Maryland errors and seven walks to advance to the fourth round against top-seed Florida State. Patrick Boyd was 2-3 with a two-run homer and three RBI’s and Khalil Greene turned in a stellar defensive performance to lead the Tigers.
Boyd’s two run blast in the first off Maryland starter Joe Hart started the scoring. Maryland battled back to take the lead in the second when Cragi Munrou smashed a Mike Proto fastball into the right field bleachers. After walking Chuck Easter and Jason Mohap, Proto gave up a double to Larry Long and a single to Eric Beer and the Terrapins took a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Clemson Khalil Greene led off with a double off the center-field wall. Brian Holstad singled to advance Greene to third. In what would prove to be a critical error, Maryland shortstop Casey Trout mishandled Brian Ellis’ grounder to second, botching an easy double play and loading the bases. Bradley LeCroy then hit a slow roller to third and Greene scored. Henri Stanley’s grounder to second plated Holstad, tying the game at 4-4. Patrick Boyd then drove in Ellis with a double off the left field wall and the Tigers had a 5-4 advantage.
Maryland regained the lead in the third off a series of Clemson mistakes. Shortstop Bradley LeCroy booted a lead-off grounder from Matt Swope. After Casey Trout walked, Clemson first baseman Jason Harris overthrew LeCroy at second on a double play ball off the bat of Cregi Munroe. Swope scored and the game was tied.
Clemson’s trouble continued in the third when Jason Mohap hit a bloop single to shallow center field. Trout scored and the Terrapins regained the lead.
The Tigers struck back in the fourth when Henri Stanley and Patrick Boyd each walked with two outs. Kurt Bultmann continued his hot hitting in the tournament with a single to left, driving in Stanley and evening the score at six.
Clemson took further advantage of Maryland mistakes in the fifth. After Khalil Greene was hit by a pitch and Casey Stone walked, Brian Ellis hit a high fly ball to deep center field. Terrapin centerfielder Larry Long lost the ball in the sun, loading the bases. Bradley LeCroy drove in Greene with a sacrifice fly and the Tigers took a 7-6 lead that they would not relinquish.
Maryland threatened in the ninth when Larry Long led off the inning with a walk. After a sacrifice bunt by Eric Beer advanced Long to second, Clemson put away the Terrapins with two excellent defensive put-outs by third baseman Khalil Greene. Greene handled Maryland’s Matt Swope’s hard shot and threw him out easily. Two pitches later, Greene charged the slow roller off the bat of Casey Trout and made the difficult throw to first in time, ending the Terps’ season and keeping Clemson’s ACC championship hopes alive.
David Harry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org