Brittle’s timely bat gives Tigers walk-off win over Bucs

With two outs in the ninth inning, Thomas Brittle hit a walkoff single through the left side to score Tyler Slaton and give Clemson a 3-2 victory over Charleston Southern at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Tuesday.

The Tigers, who improved to 16-0 all-time against the Buccaneers, moved to 21-17 on the season. Charleston Southern fell to 14-25 in 2012.

The Tigers held a 2-0 lead until Charleston Southern plated two runs in the sixth inning to tie the score. The Buccaneers put two runners on base in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but Clemson relievers worked out jams each time.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Brittle, a native of Cross, SC and a former player at College of Charleston, went with a 1-2 pitch and singled through the left side. Slaton scored standing up to give Clemson its second walkoff win in the last five days. Against N.C. State on Friday, the duo of Brittle and Slaton teamed up in similar fashion for a walkoff single in the 12th inning to give Clemson a 7-6 victory.

Patrick Andrews (1-2), the last of five Tiger pitchers, earned his first career victory. The freshman righthander from Hilton Head Island, SC gave up one hit and no runs in 0.2 innings pitched. Clemson’s four relievers combined to give up no runs in the final 4.0 innings pitched, while the Tigers’ five pitchers combined to allow just two of Charleston Southern’s 13 baserunners to score.

Buccaneer reliever Austin Weekley (1-5) suffered the loss, as he gave up one hit, one run, and one walk in 1.0 innings pitched. Charleston Southern’s three hurlers combined to hold Clemson to 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position before Brittle’s game-winning single.

Richie Shaffer gave Clemson the game’s first lead in the first inning when he lined a two-out, solo homer to left field, his eighth long ball of the season. It was also the first home run allowed by Kevin Buran, who entered the game with 34.1 innings pitched, in 2012.

In the third inning, Slaton led off with a walk on five pitches and Jason Stolz singled through the left side. After both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, Steve Wilkerson lofted a sacrifice fly to center to score Slaton. Two batters later with two outs, Shaffer belted a line drive to deep right-center, but centerfielder Bobby Ison made a spectacular diving catch to rob Shaffer of an extra-base hit and Clemson of a run.

In the sixth inning, John Faircloth led off with a single to right-center and Alex Tomasovich walked after being down in the count 0-2. Chase Shelton followed with a double to left-center to score Faircloth, then Walt Quattlebaum hit a sacrifice fly to left-center to plate Tomasovich and tie the score 2-2.

Thomas Levander led off the seventh inning with a single through the left side. After Levander advanced to second base on Harrison Wilkins’ sacrifice bunt, Ison reached on an infield single that moved Levander to third. But after Jonathan Meyer entered the game, he induced a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Faircloth on his first pitch to end the inning and keep the score tied.

For the fifth time in the game, the Buccaneers put their leadoff batter on base when Levander led off the top of the ninth inning with a walk on five pitches, then Wilkins’ sacrifice bunt moved Levander to second. Ison reached on another infield single and stole second, then Faircloth grounded out to second as both runners held at their bases. With two outs, Tomasovich hit a hard line drive to shallow left field, but Jay Baum made a sliding catch to end the inning.

Slaton led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk on four pitches and advanced to second on Stolz’s sacrifice bunt. Two batters later with two outs, Brittle slapped a 1-2 pitch through the left side. Slaton rounded third and scored standing up as the throw from Quattlebaum was offline. Brittle’s single extended his hitting streak to 11 games as well.

Shaffer, Baum, and Mike Dunster had two hits apiece for Clemson, who totaled nine hits in the contest. Slaton added three of Clemson’s four walks and two of the Tigers’ three runs.

Ison, Faircloth, Shelton, and Levander had two hits apiece for the Buccaneers, who also amassed nine hits. Levander added two walks, while Ison accumulated two stolen bases.

Clemson will travel to College Park, MD to take on Maryland in a three-game series starting Friday at 6 p.m.

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