CLEMSON- The Tigers exploded for five runs in the fifth and Valerie Cagle pitched a complete game shutout, as Clemson knocked off Auburn 7-0 in regional play on Saturday.
Cagle went the distance in the circle as she continues to make her case for National Player of the Year. She allowed just one hit and struck out eight.
The win means the Tigers advance to the championship on Sunday at 12 p.m. Clemson will face the winner of the loser’s bracket game between UNCG and Auburn and will need to be beaten twice to be eliminated.
McKenzie Clark’s two strike, two out, solo home run to dead center off Auburn ace and SEC Pitcher of the Year Maddie Penta in the third put the Tigers on top 1-0. It was Clark’s 13th long ball of the season.
After seeing a pretty good pitchers duel through the first four innings, Clemson blew it open in the fifth. Ally Miklesh’s two out single to center drove in two. Cagle followed that up by launching an opposite field shot off the foul pole in left, her 19th of the season, making it 5-0. That also signaled the end of the day for Penta, as Annabelle Widra would come on in relief.
Caroline Jacobsen then singled to welcome her into the game, and promptly stole second, then moved to third on a throwing error. Alia Logoleo then singled, driving Jacobsen in and making it 6-0 Clemson.
The Tigers were not done, though, as Reedy Davenport added an RBI single in the sixth that extended the lead to 7-0.
Player of the Game: It’s hard to go with anyone else but Cagle here. On top of her dominant outing in the circle, she was also 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and a run scored. She is now hitting .464 on the season with 19 homers and 56 runs driven in.
Stat of the Game: After racking up 14 base hits in the regional opening win over UNCG, Clemson pounded out ten more on Saturday. This is a positive sign for a team that had been struggling at the plate coming in to regional play.
Up Next: Clemson will await the winner of the UNCG-Auburn matchup in the loser’s bracket later today.
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