Clemson, S.C. - Weston Wilson collected his first base hit of the game in the bottom of the 10th inning, capping a four-run, late-inning rally for No. 18 Clemson as the Tigers downed upset-minded Western Carolina, 7-6, in extra innings Tuesday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
With runners at first and second after an intentional walk, Weston delivered a two-out single into center field, plating Eli White who led off the frame with a single into right field. The throw from WCU center fielder Garrett Brown skipped off the mound and was not in time at home, setting off a wild celebration for the Tigers who remained perfect (9-0) in midweek games this season. The win was also No. 300 in the career of first-year head coach Monte Lee.
Clemson (24-9) used a pair of three-run innings in both the fifth and eighth to erase Catamount leads of four and three runs, respectively, tying the game at six in the home half of the eighth inning. WCU reliever Dylan Biumi stranded the bases loaded for the Tigers in the home half of the ninth to push the game past regulation, setting up the 10th-inning heroics.
Western Carolina jumped out to a 4-0 lead, scoring a run in the first inning for the 18th time in its 31 seasonal games as Brown reached on an infield chopper before promptly stealing second base. After being sacrificed to third, Bryson Bowman drove him home, dropping a single into left field for the 1-0 lead.
WCU scored its second run in the fourth as back-to-back singles left Matt Smith at third base where he scored on an infield ground out that Clemson turned into a double-play. The lead grew to four with a two-spot in the fifth as Brown and Smith both drove in runs on singles to make it 4-0.
Clemson got on the board in the fifth with a RBI double by Mike Triller, sacrifice fly by Wilson and a solo home run by catcher Chris Okey to make it 4-3. The Catamounts responded half an inning later, though, to retake a three-run on a two-RBI double down the left field line by J.D. Long to make it 6-3 in favor of the visitors.
In Clemson's three-run eighth, freshman Seth Beer belted a two-run homer to again claw the Tigers back to within a run, 6-5. Third baseman Jordan Greene reached on an infield error as a pop-up in the middle of the diamond found grass to put a runner at second base. The next batter, White, doubled into left field plating the game-tying run to set-up the theatrics of the ninth and extra innings.
Garrett Brown and Matt Smith both finished with multi-hit games, finishing 2-for-5 with a RBI, respectively, with J.D. Long tallying the team's lone extra base hit on his two RBI double. Smith now has a 10-game hitting streak, his second double-digit hit streak of the season. Senior Kramer Ferrell extended his career-long hit streak to 16-straight games with a single into right field in the sixth inning.
Catamount reliever Corey Sikes (0-1) suffered the loss for WCU, surrendering a run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in two thirds of an inning. Junior Korey Anderson saw his first action in nearly a month, striking out six against three walks in 3.2 innings of work while Dillon Bray and Dylan Biumi both fanned three. WCU starter Brendan Nail threw the first inning by design, striking out two with a walk.
For the Tigers, ace closer Pat Krall (5-0) scored his fifth victory of the season, tossing two hitless, scoreless innings out of the bullpen -- the fifth Tiger pitcher of the game. Offensively, four Tigers tallied two-hit games highlighted by Beer finishing 2-for-3 with the two-run home run and Okey going 2-for-4 with a solo shot.
Tuesday's game was marred by a couple of delays. First pitch was pushed back by an hour and a half due to lightning and rain. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, things were delayed by nearly 20 minutes as the stadium lights unexpectedly shut off. All told, the backend of the midweek home-and-home lasted four hours and 24 minutes.
Western Carolina (17-14, 8-1 SoCon) returns home to open a five-game homestand on Friday, hosting the Samford Bulldogs at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. Game one is scheduled to