Seminoles Sweep Clemson in Wild Game

CLEMSON — It was a weird night at McWhorter Stadium Friday night.

Three plays were reviewed, Clemson pitching coach Kyle Jamieson was tossed, Florida State lost its lead-off batter to an injury, the Seminoles used three pitchers and a wild play that Clemson coach John Rittman had never seen before to win the game.

Josie Muffley stole home plate during a crazy sequence of events in the top of the fifth inning that allowed the sixth-ranked Seminoles to escape Clemson with a 3-2 victory over the No. 4 Tigers. The win completed FSU’s three-game sweep in the regular season series.

“If the ball is in the circle and the runner is on the base, you can’t advance,” Rittman said after the game. “So, I just went out to make sure they had the call right and that they know where the runner at third was, so that is why they convened together and they said, ‘Yes,’ she was still a live base runner at the time.”

Muffley stole home, with what turned out to be the winning run, after Clemson let its guard down following a nice play by Alia Logoleo at short to throw a runner out at home plate on a fielder’s choice.

“I have been around the game a long time and certainly there has been crazy stuff that happens in games. I don’t know if I have seen that exact play,” Rittman said.

Clemson (37-4, 12-3 ACC) had opportunities to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, but they failed to bring runners home.

With one out, the Tigers had runners on first and second after Maddie Moore reached on an FSU error and McKenzie Clark drew a walk. Though Valerie Cagle drove a Makenna Reid pitch to deep centerfield, the ballpark held the ball for the second out. Caroline Jacobson then flew out to left field to leave Moore and Clark strained in scoring position at second and third.

“We never coach against aggressive base running,” Rittman said. “Obviously, McKenzie is trying to help her team out and it’s a bang-bang decision and credit her for being aggressive at the time. If she gets to second, a base hit scores her.”

In the sixth, Logoleo drew a leadoff walk, but FSU reliever Kathryn Sandercock got Aby Vieira and Arielle Oda to ground out before striking out Ally Miklesh to retire the side, leaving Logoleo strained at third.

It appeared the Tigers were going to get one more chance with two outs in the seventh inning. Clark singled to left field but was thrown out at second base to end the game, as she tried to stretch the hit into a double.

Sandercock, who earned the Game 2 win on Thursday, was credited with the save. Reid was credited with the win. Cagle suffered her second straight loss in the circle.  

The Tigers grabbed the early lead when Clark scored following an error by FSU second baseman Devyn Flaherty with one out in the bottom of the first. Clark, one of the fastest players in college softball, easily scored from second base after Cagle drove a well hit ball into Flaherty’s lab. But the Seminoles senior could not handle the ball, which allowed Clark to come home with the first run.

Clark doubled down the leftfield line with one out earlier in the inning.

Florida State (32-7, 11-1 ACC) bounced back in the top of the second inning after Clemson first baseman Madison May thought the inning was over after a close play with two outs. FSU’s Katie Dack hit the ball to right field, but Caroline Jacobson came up throwing and appeared to have thrown Dack out. However, Dack beat the throw to first, which was confirmed by replay, and alertly Kaley Mudge hustled home with the tying run.

Another hustle play scored the game’s third run of the evening when Bomhardt came all the way home on a throwing error from Seminoles catcher Michaela Edenfield. Bomhardt was running for Jacobson, who reached after being hit by a pitch.

Edenfield’s errant throw went all the way down the rightfield line and into the corner, allowing the speedy Bomhardt to easily come home for a 2-1 lead.  

Stat of the Game: Clemson is now 0-7 against Florida State following Friday’s loss. FSU has now swept the Tigers in back-to-back regular seasons. The ‘Noles also beat Clemson in the ACC Tournament Championship game in 2022.

Player of the Game: Clark was 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and run scored to lead the Tigers.

Key Moment: With the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the fifth, Florida State had runners on second and third with one out when Hallie Wacaser hit into a fielder’s choice to short. Alia Logoleo quickly went home to get Katie Dack for the second out. However, Josie Muffley noticed Clemson was not paying attention to her on third base after catcher Aby Vieira threw the ball back to pitcher Valerie Cagle. The senior smartly stole home plate, just beating the tag from Vieira after Cagle zipped it home. The heads-up play gave the Seminoles a 3-2 lead.

“There are two outs and you have to be ready to make the next play. We had a little lapse there and they took advantage of it,” Rittman said.

Up Next: Clemson will play at South Carolina in Columbia on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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