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Clemson baseball opens regionals with win over Lipscomb

Matt Mynes // Photo Editor

Clemson first baseman and pitcher Caden Grice sends the ball flying in Clemson’s home opener victory over Binghamton on February 17.

Clemson baseball defeated the Lipscomb Bisons 12-5 on Friday in game one of the Clemson Regional to begin the long road to the College World Series.

Although most of the contest saw a back-and-forth battle for the lead, the Tigers pulled away late with an eighth-inning grand slam to secure a spot in the winner’s bracket of the regional.

After a scoreless top of the first for the Bisons, Clemson broke into the run column in the bottom half after a two out, two-run homer from first baseman Caden Grice, giving the Tigers an early 2-0 at the end of the first frame.  

“We have a one through nine punch,” Grice said about his hitting approach with two outs. “We’re squared away from all sides, so it’s really freeing to hit in a lineup like that.”

Grice finished the game reaching base three times, logging three RBIs along the way as well.

Lipscomb responded in the second, earning one run back on an RBI single from second baseman David Coppedge to cut Clemson’s lead in half at 2-1. 

A Lipscomb sacrifice fly then tied the game in the top of the third inning, 2-2. Clemson responded in the bottom half with its own sacrifice fly from designated hitter Billy Amick to return the lead to the Tigers, ending the third inning 3-2. 
Following a scoreless fourth inning for both teams, Lipscomb took their only lead of the game at 4-3 early in the fifth after back-to-back home runs from shortstop Caleb Ketchup and center fielder Alex Vergara. 

The Tigers responded with a big inning of their own with three runs, including a two-run double from second baseman Riley Bertram to give Clemson a solid 6-4 lead.

Lipscomb added their final run of the game in the sixth on Vergara’s second solo homer of the game, bringing the score to 6-5. The remaining six runs of the matchup were brought home by the Tigers. 

After a sacrifice fly from Bertram in the seventh inning brought the scoreboard to 7-5, the Tigers would blow the game open in the eighth. Clemson scored five runs, four of which came from an Amick grand slam that cemented the 12-5 Clemson win.

“The atmosphere today was awesome…Everything was great and it was really fun to play in front of,” Amick said after the game. 

A common theme during Clemson’s current 17-game win streak has been responding to opponents throughout the game, and that was certainly the case in today’s contest, both on the mound and at the plate. 

Clemson starter Austin Gordon was able to go 4.1 innings, allowing four earned runs and striking out six along the way. 

Despite leaving the game while trailing, the combined performances of Nick Clayton, Reed Garris, Ryan Ammons and B.J. Bailey out of the bullpen were collectively able to work out of jams and keep the Lipscomb bats at bay for the remainder of the game. 

“Whether it’s the two-out hitting, the two-out RBIs or pitchers coming in to get out of a big jam, it’s just a lot of connectivity with this team,” Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said after the win.

“It’s just a lot of guys who genuinely care for each other, and care for Clemson, and this team and we just want to see each other do well.”

Clemson next takes on No. 21 Tennessee on Saturday, June 3, at 6 p.m. EDT at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, as the Tigers continue their push to Omaha, Nebraska.


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Thomas Romano, Senior Reporter
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