DURHAM, N.C.– Riley Bertram and Will Taylor both hit home runs in a decisive seventh inning that saw third seeded Clemson plate eight runs on its way to an 11-5 win over fourth seeded Miami in the ACC Championship Game Sunday at Durham Bulls Park.
The win gives the Tigers their first ACC Championship since 2016. Clemson has now won 11 ACC Tournament Championships and 16 ACC Titles overall, both conference records.
Relievers Jackson Lindley and Ryan Ammons combined to hold the Canes scoreless over the final four innings. Lindley was credited with the win and moves to 3-3 this season.
“Thank you to all the fans that braved the rain today,” head coach Erik Bakich said. “This was a terrific event that the city of Durham, the Durham Bulls, outstanding event, outstanding hosts. First class all the way around.”
With his team trailing by a run, 5-4 after Billy Amick’s RBI double in the seventh, Bertram came to the plate and delivered. With runners on first and second and nobody out, Bertram sent a long ball out to rightfield that just cleared the wall. It was just the third homer of his collegiate career and first as a Clemson Tiger.
Taylor came up big later in the same inning. With two on and two out, he lifted a high drive over the big wall in left center, putting the Tigers up 11-5. At first officials called it a double, but replay show he drove the ball over the wall where a Miami fan dropped the ball while trying to catch it, causing it to fall back onto the field.
“Team 126, this team will be talked about to so many future generations of Clemson Tigers,” Bakich said. “Anytime you hit a rough patch, anytime you have a rough start, people will talk about remember what Team 126 did. The first 31 games of the year were 17-14 and the first ten conference games were 2-8.”
Just like in the semifinal on Saturday, the Tigers (43-17) got it going early, pushing across two runs in the first. Caden Grice drove in Cam Cannarella with a one out single through the left side of the field. Riley Bertram later singled with two outs, driving in Grice and giving Clemson an early 2-0 lead.
The Tigers extended their lead in the second inning. With two outs, Cannarella deposited a 2-1 pitch into the right field stands to make it 3-0.
The Hurricanes (40-19) got on the board in the third. Dominic Pitelli led off the inning with a double and Jacoby Long drove him home with a single. Yohandy Morales was then hit by a pitch and later came around to score on a wild pitch by Nick Clayton, who had just come on in relief of starter Ethan Darden.
In the top of the fourth, Miami tied it up when Zach Levenson hit a home run off the bull out in leftfield. It was Levenson’s 13th home run of the season.
The Canes kept the momentum rolling in the fifth, plating two more runs, taking their first lead of the game. Blake Cyr’s two-out double drove in a run and then Clemson reliever Tristan Smith later issued a bases loaded walk to put Miami up 5-3.
“To the players credit, they did not get rattled one second,” Bakich said. “They stayed positive, they stayed connected to each other and they worked extremely hard.”
Player of the Game: Bertram was 2-for-5 at the plate and drove in four runs. It was his long ball in the seventh that put the Tigers up for good.
Stat of the Game: Each of Clemson’s last four head coaches have now won ACC Championships in their first season as Clemson’s head coach. Erik Bakich joins Bill Wilhelm, Jack Leggett and Monte Lee as winning a conference title in his first season.
Injury Report: After leaving Saturday’s game after fouling a ball off of his knee, Ingle was not only back in the lineup on Sunday, he was in his usual spot behind the plate.
Up Next: Clemson will now get set to host its first regional since 2018. The brackets and seedings will be announced at noon on Monday.
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