CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson rallied twice on Tuesday to beat Charlotte, 9-5, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The decisive inning came in the seventh as the Tigers scored four runs off five hits, including an RBI double from Caden Grice and a triple off the wall from Benjamin Blackwell that drove home another run. Blake Wright also had a two-run single to right field for the other two runs in the inning.
Clemson rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the fourth inning and then a 5-4 deficit in the bottom of the sixth.
“We knew we were in for a fight coming into (the game). They were every bit of that,” Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said. “Credit to our guys. We played from a deficit. We came back and took the lead, lost the lead and had to come back from another deficit. I am just really proud of the fight in our guys tonight.”
The Tigers (4-0) finished the evening with 10 hits, as Wright, Blackwell and Cam Cannarella each recorded two hits. Wright and Blackwell also drove in two runs each, while freshman Jacob Jarrell hit a two-run home run, his second of the season.
Charlotte (3-2) grabbed 1-0 lead in the first inning when Brandon Stahlman singled up the middle to score Kaden Hopson. The 49ers extend their lead to 2-0 in the top of the second, as Austin Knight took Casey Tallent’s offering to left field.
The Tigers rallied to take the lead with a four-run fourth. After Chad Fairey and Will Taylor drove in runners to tie things up at 2-2, Jarrell lifted a long ball over the left field wall, scoring Fairey for a two-run homer.
Jarrell’s home run gave Clemson a 4-2 led through four innings.
Charlotte regained the lead in the sixth inning thanks to a dropped flyball by Taylor in left field to plate one run, a Jack Dragum base hit to center that scored Will Butcher, and an RBI single to right field from Stahlman.
But the Tigers were not done. Benjamin Blackwell singled through the right side in the bottom frame of the sixth, which scored Cannarella, tying the game at 5.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Clemson exploded for four runs to gain control of the game. Grice doubled to right center to easily score Riley Bertram. Wright then hit safely through the right side to drive in Cooper Ingle and Grice for an 8-5 lead.
Blackwell then tripled off the wall in right centerfield to score Wright, extending the Tigers’ lead to 9-5.
“The execution late. The clutch hitting and being opportunistic when we needed to,” Bakich said. “Then getting different pitchers to come in and mix-and-match on our own and put zeros up when we needed to, especially putting zeros up after we scored.”
Stat of the game: Clemson stole four more bases on Tuesday and now has 21 on the season. The Tigers had 32 stolen bases all of last season and 34 in 2021.
Injury update: Outfielder Tyler Corbitt rested his sore ankle and did not play against Charlotte.
Player of the Game: Benjamin Blackwell was 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple and 2 RBIs. He also made an outstanding play in the top of the eighth inning, as he stabbed what looked like a sure 49ers hit deep in the hole at short, popped up, turned around and delivered a dart to first base to throw out the runner.
Key Moment: With the game tied 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Clemson’s Caden Grice smacks the baseball to right centerfield and turns on the jets to stretch out a double, allowing Riley Bertram to come home with the eventual game-winning run.
Up Next: Clemson will host UCF in a three-game series this weekend at Doug Kingsmore. Game 1 is set for 4 p.m. on Friday.
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–Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletics