CLEMSON, S.C.- The Tigers had chances but just could not come up with that key hit when needed as Clemson dropped the first game of a doubleheader 3-2 to Duke on Saturday. The loss snapped the Tigers six game-winning streak.
Erik Bakich’s team stranded 16 base runners in the loss and was just 1-14 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
The missed opportunities started almost immediately, as Clemson loaded the bases in the first with just one out, but managed to score just one run. After Riley Bertram walked with one out to force in a run, Benjamin Blackwell would ground out, before Caden Grice would strike out to end the threat. The Tigers would go on to strand multiple runners in the fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings, while stranding at least one in every inning of play.
After taking the early 1-0 lead, Clemson would tack on a run in the fourth on a one-out RBI single by freshman Nathan Hall. It was Hall’s seventh RBI of the season.
Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Duke’s Andrew Fischer hit a leadoff home run to right to cut Clemson’s lead in half. Later in the inning, Giovanni DiGiacomo added a two out, two run shot, that went of Will Taylor’s glove and barely cleared the wall in left, giving the Blue Devils its first lead of the game.
Charlie Beilenson (1-1) earned the win for Duke in relief by tossing 1.1 scoreless innings, then James Fallon pitched the final 1.2 innings to record his third save of the year. Tiger starter Austin Gordon (0-1) suffered the loss, as he gave up four hits, three runs and no walks with six strikeouts in a career-high 6.0 innings pitched.
Player of the Game: Gordon went six strong innings, allowing just three earned runs on four hits, while striking out six. The sophomore did not walk a hitter.
Key Moment: With runners on first and third with one out in the ninth, and down a run, Billy Amick had a chance to once again be the hero and walk it off. This time he would strike out on four pitches. Hall would then fly out, ending the game.
Stat of the Game: Clemson went 4-22 with runners on base, and 1-14 with RISP. Again, the Tigers had opportunities but stranded at least one runner in all nine innings.
Up Next: The two teams will square off one more time today, with first pitch scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Freshman Tristan Smith will get the start for Clemson, while RHP Adam Bouchard will go for the Blue Devils.
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