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Clemson’s latest comeback attempt falls short against USC Upstate

Caitlyn Tai
Freshman Jarren Purify and graduate Jimmy Obertop were important parts of the Tigers’ attempted comeback against USC Upstate on Tuesday.

The No. 2 Clemson Tigers were defeated by USC Upstate by a score of 9-5 on Tuesday. Clemson now stands at 28-4 (10-2 ACC) on the season. Throughout the game, the Tigers fell victim to the long ball as the Spartans struck four home runs.

In a bizarre occurrence, all 14 runs scored in the matchup were the result of homers — no singles, no doubles.

Both sides battled in what proved to be a close contest early on before the Spartans ran away in the top of the eighth inning. Upstate outfielder Koby Kropf struck for a grand slam, untying the game from five apiece and granting the Spartans a 9-5 lead.

It was in the sixth inning that USC Upstate first appeared to be pulling away. Clemson’s starting pitcher, Billy Barlow, began the inning, allowing a walk and a single to open the frame. Barlow was promptly pulled, giving righty Reed Garris a chance to escape the jam.

Garris struck out the first two batters he faced before ultimately giving up a three-run homer to USC Upstate freshman Tyler Lang for a 5-2 lead.

The Tigers staged a dramatic comeback in the seventh inning after a pitch hit freshman Jarren Purify. Star sophomore Cam Cannarella struck for his sixth home run of the season, cutting the Spartan lead to just one, and a subsequent Jimmy Obertop homer effectively tied the game at 5-5.

Clemson followed their seemingly typical pattern, falling behind in the game’s early stages with hopes of later redemption. The Tigers entered this game with 16 come-from-behind victories on the season.

In the visitor’s half of the second inning, Upstate’s dual-threat pitcher and infielder Noah Sullivan drilled a solo home run deep to left field to grant the Spartans their first lead of the game. That leg up would not last long, as Clemson’s Nolan Nawrocki hit a solo homer of his own in the home half of the frame to tie the game.

The Tigers took their first lead of the game in the third when catcher Jacob Jarrell hit another solo home run, giving Clemson a 2-1 lead; this was the second game in a row where Jarrell had homered.

The home run derby continued when Sullivan hit his second solo home run of the day at the top of the fourth, evening the score to two each.

After the loss, Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said, “We just didn’t string the quality at-bats together, didn’t get it going offensively and then weren’t able to put zeros up later in the game when we needed to.”

“We’ve done a really good job this year of not beating ourselves, but it feels like today we were just out of sorts a little bit.”

The Tigers will look to get back on track at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday at 6 p.m. to take on NC State as they begin another ACC weekend series.

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About the Contributors
Tyler Skorski
Tyler Skorski, Senior Reporter
Caitlyn Tai, Senior Photographer
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