Tigers fall to Winthrop in 11th; face rival Gamecocks next

Leighton Daniels scored on Clay Altman’s sacrifice fly in the 11th inning to lift Winthrop to a 3-2 win over Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.  The Eagles improved to 3-5, while the Tigers fell to 5-2.

Eric Ruth (1-0), the last of six Winthrop pitchers, earned the win by allowing two hits, no runs, and one walk with three strikeouts in 2.0 innings pitched.  Freshman lefty Sam Kmiec pitched 4.2 strong innings in his first career start.  He gave up just three hits, one run, and no walks with six strikeouts.

Matt Campbell (0-1) suffered the loss, as he allowed one hit, one unearned run, and no walks with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings pitched.  Freshman lefthander Matthew Crownover only yielded one hit, one run, and one walk with four strikeouts in 3.0 innings pitched in his first career start.  In fact, his start ended a streak of 101 games in a row that Clemson started a righthander on the mound dating to 2011.

Freshman Nick Bateman gave Winthrop the game’s first lead when he belted the first pitch of the third inning over the fence down the left-field line.  It was his first career home run and ended Clemson’s scoreless innings pitched streak at 20 dating to the ninth inning of the first game of the Wright State series on Saturday.  It was also the first long ball surrendered by the Tigers in 2013.

The Tigers put together a two-out rally to tie the score in the fifth inning.  Tyler Krieger reached on a two-out, infield single, Clemson’s first hit of the game.  Maleeke Gibson followed with a single to right-center, then pinch-hitter Garrett Boulware grounded a single through the right side to score Krieger.  Thomas Brittle followed with a line drive to left-center, but centerfielder Drew Hardee made a diving catch to end the inning and prevent the Tigers from taking the lead.

In the top of the sixth inning, Daniels drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on an error.  Matt Lobacz followed with a single up the middle to score Daniels and give Winthrop a 2-1 lead.

Clemson responded again in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the score.  Steven Duggar led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch.  After Duggar advanced to third on Steve Wilkerson’s lineout to right field, Duggar scored on Shane Kennedy’s sacrifice fly to right-center.

Daniels led off the top of the 11th inning with a double down the left-field line and advanced to third on a passed ball with no outs.  Two batters later with one out, Altman hit a flyball to shallow right field.  Duggar’s throw home beat the runner by multiple steps, but catcher Kevin Bradley could not catch the ball after the in-between hop and Daniels scored the unearned run.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, Wilkerson led off with a line-drive single to center, then the next two Tigers were retired.  Wilkerson then stole second, but Jay Baum grounded out to third to end the game.

Daniels paced the Eagles, who had only four hits, with a double, two runs, and two walks.  The win was the first against the Tigers for Head Coach Tom Riginos, who served as an assistant coach at Clemson from 2003-10.

Six different Tigers had one hit apiece.  Kennedy and Boulware had the team’s only RBIs.

Clemson will play #7 South Carolina in a three-game series at three different sites this weekend beginning Friday at 6:30 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

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