Virginia Baseball Makes Late Rally, But Falls To Clemson 5-4 In The Bottom Of The Ninth
CLEMSON, S.C. – The University of Virginia baseball team made a late rally by scoring four runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the Clemson Tigers at 4-4, but Clemson scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-out single up the middle to defeat UVa by the score of 5-4 this afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The contest was the regular season finale for both teams.
Clemson took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Casey Stone and Khalil Greene were involved on a double steal play. Stone advanced to third uncontested but Greene appeared to be picked off at second base and fell in his attempt to run back to first base. However, when Greene fell to the ground, the tag-out attempt missed him and he quickly jumped to his feet and reached second base safely. Meanwhile, Stone rounded third base and scored a run to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
After holding on to a one-run lead until the bottom of the sixth inning, Jeff Baker blasted a two-run, home run to deep left field to give Clemson a 3-0 lead. Baker’s home run was his 21st of the season, which leads the ACC. One inning later, Jarrod Schmidt hit a solo home run to nearly the same place as Baker did to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Schmidt’s home run was his 15th of the season.
With its back to the wall and trailing 4-0 in the top of the ninth inning, Virginia started the inning off with four consecutive singles and scored its first run of the contest when Kallen McCoy singled up the middle to drive in Dan Street to make it a 4-1 contest. With the bases load, Chris Sweet was hit by a pitch, which scored Sean McCleary to cut the Tigers lead to 4-2. Two batters later, Jon Benick drove in two runs and tied the game at 4-4 with a single up the middle that scored McCoy and Jeff Kamrath.
With the scored tied at 4-4, Clemson’s Michael Johnson walked to reach first base to start of the bottom half of the ninth inning. After Johnson advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt, the Tigers’ Zane Green entered the contest as a pinch hitter and recorded the game-winning hit with a single up the middle to score Johnson with two outs in the inning. Johnson’s run was the game-winning marker and gave Clemson a 5-4 win.
The Cavaliers’ Chris Marinak (2-1) took the loss after going 2.0 innings and allowing one run on one hit with three strikeouts. The Tigers’ Josh Cram (4-1) posted the win despite going just 1.0 inning and giving up four runs on five hits with a strikeout.
UVa’s Robert Word finished 4-for-4 at the plate with a double and three singles on the afternoon to highlight UVa in the defeat.
With the loss, Virginia’s record falls to 24-29 overall, 9-15 in the ACC. The victory improves Clemson’s record to 37-18 overall, 17-7 in the conference. The Tigers swept the Cavaliers in the three-game weekend series, 8-1, 17-1 and 5-4.
UVa will return to action on Wednesday, May 16th when Virginia competes in the 2001 ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers, the #7 seed, will face the Clemson Tigers, the #2 seed, at 5:00 p.m. The tournament will be held at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C. and will run from May 15-20.