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Clemson goes 4-1 in NFCA Leadoff Classic

Aralynn Minnick
Clemson shortstop Alia Logoleo celebrates during the Tigers’ 15-2 win over Northwestern at McWhorter Stadium on Feb. 17, 2023.

This past weekend, Clemson softball kicked off its season, going 4-1 in the NFCA Leadoff Classic collegiate tournament in Clearwater, Florida.

The Tigers took wins against Missouri State, Indiana, Liberty and Oregon but fell to Missouri in their final matchup of the weekend.

Thursday started hot for Clemson as the squad shut out Missouri State 12-0 in five innings. The Tigers scored five runs in the first and second innings, adding two more in the third. After their first game, they then took a 3-2 win against Indiana on Friday, followed by a 7-3 victory over Liberty on Saturday.

Clemson’s most prominent win for the weekend was over No. 14 Oregon. The Tigers earned three runs off seven hits and had no errors for the night. Lefty pitcher Millie Thompson led the charge for the first two innings, allowing one run and three hits before ace Valerie Cagle took over and took the win in the circle, pitching five innings for a 0.78 ERA.

Cagle crossed the plate for the Tigers alongside McKenzie Clark and Kennedy Ariail, who was pinch-running for Julia Knowler. Clemson finished its first ranked matchup of the season 3-2.

The Tigers finished the tournament with a 4-1 loss to Missouri on Sunday. Four pitchers entered the mound for the Tigers after starter Brooke McCubbin allowed three runs before the end of the first; Thompson relieved McCubbin and allowed Missouri’s final run of the game. She was then relieved with Regan Spencer, and Cagle finished out the game in sixth.

Despite putting up six hits, the Tigers only scored one run in the fifth. Alex Brown, a shortstop junior transfer from North Carolina, earned the run and tied for a team-high two hits in the game.

Clemson will stay on the road to face five more in-conference teams in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge this weekend in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, beginning on Wednesday.

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Kiley Bouchard
Kiley Bouchard, Senior Reporter
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