Clemson Wins 12th Straight With 3-1 Win Over North Carolina

CLEMSON- Caden Grice struck out nine as Clemson beat North Carolina 3-1 on Saturday in the regular season finale for both teams.

Grice, who moves to 7-1, went 7.1 innings, allowing just one unearned run on four hits, in what was one of his strongest starts of the season. He also added a 2-run homer at the plate.

“Very grateful to have Caden Grice on our team,” head coach Erik Bakich said. “He was a one man wrecking crew.”

“It’s impressive at the highest level. Even if he was just a pitcher only, to be that efficient with his pitches. Throw three pitches for strikes, keep a very good offensive team down, that is impressive all by itself. To know that his swing of the bat were the two runs we needed to win the game, and the time that it came we didn’t realize it, but essentially it was. If he was just a hitter that was a heck of a day as well.”

Rob Hughes came out of the bullpen and held North Carolina scoreless over the final 1.2 innings to pick up his second save.

Cam Cannarella also had a good day, finishing 3-for-4.

The win gave Clemson a sweep of the Heels and was the Tigers’ 12th straight victory. It moves the team to 39-17 on the season and 20-10 in ACC play, It was also the team’s third straight ACC sweep.

The series win was Clemson’s seventh in a row in the ACC, its longest such streak during a season since winning all eight ACC series in 1994.

“Proud of this team,” Bakich said. To think we were 2-8 in the league a couple of months ago and now we are 20-10 is credit to them and their mindset and how they’ve trained and how they’ve worked and what they’ve done.”

The Tar Heels drop to 33-21 and 14-14.

The Tigers got things going early on in this one. After Cannarella was retired to start the bottom of the first, Cooper Ingle laced a single through the left side of the field. After Will Taylor struck out for the second out of the inning, Grice would launch a 2-run homer out to right-center, giving Clemson a 2-0 lead. It was Grice’s team leading 14th home run of the season.

The Heels would cut the lead to 2-1 in the sixth, plating an unearned run off of Grice.

Clemson would get some insurance in the eighth when Riley Bertram doubled down the right-field line, driving in a run and pushing the lead to 3-1.

Player of the Game: Grice got it done on the mound and at the plate on Saturday. This was no doubt one of his more impressive pitching performances of the season, then he added a home run on top of it. He was also robbed of a grand slam in the fifth when LF Patrick Alvarez went up over the wall and brought one back in. Grice now has 14 HRs and 54 RBI this seasonb, both team highs.

Stat of the Game: Both teams struggled to hit with runners in scoring postion. Clemson was 1-for-11 on the day, while North Carolina was 0-for-4.

Up Next: Clemson has locked up the No. 3 seed in next weeks ACC Tournament. Times and dates for the tournament have yet to be announced. The Tigers’ first game is either Wednesday or Thursday on ACC Network.

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