No. 7 Virginia Falls to No. 12 Clemson, 5-4
May 26, 2016
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DURHAM, N.C. — No. 12 Clemson scored a run in the top of the ninth inning to break a 4-4 tie in downing the No. 7-ranked Virginia baseball team, 5-4, Thursday in the teams’ first game in pool play in the ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. Seeded No. 3 in the field, the Cavaliers (36-19) next face No. 10 seed Wake Forest at 3 p.m. Friday, while No. 6 seed Clemson (39-18) plays No. 2 Louisville on Friday morning.
“It was a good college baseball game. Congratulations to Clemson,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor. “They have got a tough club. Certainly we had our opportunities. I think the story of the game was them capitalizing on our walks. It’s tough to win this time of the year doing that. But credit to them, they took advantage of it. Certainly they have a very potent offense. We took some chances and walked some guys, intentionally walked some batters to pitch to some other batters. We did a nice job of hanging in there and having a chance. We just didn’t do enough offensively. We’ll bounce back tomorrow.”
Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) homered as part of a 2-for-3 day to extend his hit streak to a career-long 14 games. Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) also homered and had two hits as UVA finished with eight hits.
Virginia reliever Tyler Shambora (Jr., Venice, Fla.) worked two innings and gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth inning to take the loss and fall to 5-1 on the year. Clemson closer Pat Krall pitched the final two innings to earn the win and up his record to 9-1.
Virginia starting pitcher Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) worked six innings, allowing four earned runs, four hits and four walks while striking out four. Clemson starter Charlie Barnes pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up three earned runs, six hits and a pair of walks while fanning five.
Clemson grabbed an early lead with a run in the second inning as Weston Wilson doubled home Chris Okey, who drew a leadoff walk. UVA knotted the score in the bottom of the inning when Pinero launched a home run off the bull over the Blue Monster in left field.
The Tigers forged back ahead with a three-run fifth inning. After Jones issued a one-out walk to Chris Williams, Mike Triller poked an opposite-field home run just over the Blue Monster. With two outs, Jones walked Chase Pinder and Eli White drove him home with a double to center.
Virginia cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth. Thaiss hit a leadoff single and moved to third on a double by Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.). Pinero and Adam Haseley (So., Windermere, Fla.) then hit back-to-back sacrifice flies. The Cavaliers then tied the game in the eighth when Thaiss led off with a solo home run into the right-field seats off of Krall. It was his team-leading 10th homer of the year.
Clemson moved back ahead in the ninth as Williams hit an infield single and Triller drew a four-pitch walk off of Shambora. Tommy Doyle (So., Vienna, Va) entered, and Andrew Cox bunted the runners over before Pinder hit a sac fly to center.
UVA pinch hitter Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.) hit a one-out infield single and moved to second on a throwing error, but Krall got the final two outs, including an Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) lineout to shortstop, to end the game.
UVA also battles No. 2 seed Louisville at 7 p.m. Saturday in pool play. The winners of each pool vie for the league championship at noon Sunday.
The ACC’s Regional Sports Networks (Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic in Virginia) will televise all games in pool play, while ESPN2 will air the championship game. The radio broadcasts for all postseason games will air on WINA 1070-AM and 98.9-FM and also will stream on VirginiaSports.com via a Cavaliers Live subscription. A link to live statistics also can be found on VirginiaSports.com.