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Clemson baseball loses game two against UCF in weekend series

Aralynn Minnick // Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson third baseman Blake Wright runs to first against UCF at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Feb. 24, 2023.

The Clemson baseball team dropped game two of the weekend series against UCF, losing by a score of 10-7 on Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. 

After having to play one inning to finish Friday night’s game that was delayed, UCF opened the scoring in game two with a solo home run from shortstop Drew Faurot in the second inning, putting the Knights up 1-0 early. 

In the third inning, the Knights tacked on to their lead with their second homer of the game off the bat of centerfielder John Rhys Plumlee, giving UCF a 2-0 lead.

Clemson broke into the run column in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout from second baseman Riley Bertram, trimming the Knights’ lead to 2-1. 

UCF responded to Clemson’s lone run in the fourth by scoring four runs of its own in the fifth, including a three-run blast from second baseman Tom Josten that gave the Knights a 6-1 lead. 

However, Clemson would answer with its own big fifth inning, scoring four runs and bringing the score back within one run at 6-5.

Following a scoreless top of the sixth from UCF, Clemson tied the game in the bottom half at 6-6 with a sacrifice fly from third baseman Blake Wright.

After evening the score, an eighth inning with two errors, two walks, two hit batters and a passed ball allowed UCF to break the tie by scoring four runs, putting the Knights ahead 10-6. 

Clemson narrowed the gap in the ninth with an RBI double from shortstop Benjamin Blackwell, but the late-game rally was not enough, and UCF held on for the win.

In a game that already featured a lot of offense, there were plenty more opportunities to score runs, as the two teams combined to leave 17 men on base. 

Clemson failed to capitalize on the momentous fifth and sixth innings, only scoring one more run after. 

“Once we got it 6-5, I knew we would come back and win,” Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said. “Once we tied it up, I figured that’s the time where you keep that pedal down and look to really just separate, but unfortunately, we fell into some trouble with command issues, and it just didn’t work out for us.”

Pitching and defense certainly did not help the Tigers. The team committed three errors, along with walking five batters and hitting four. 

“I thought we beat ourselves,” Bakich added. “We talk about minimizing what we give the other teams in terms of freebies. Between the walks, hit-by-pitches and the advancements on-base, whether it be via errors or extra 90s, there were just way too many.

“(UCF is) a quality ballclub. Anytime you give a quality ballclub extra 90s and free bases, they’ll make you pay for it,” Bakich said.

Despite having to finish Friday night’s game first, the team did not use it as an excuse for its performance in game two.

“Neither game was how we drew it up,” Blackwell said. “But we’re tough, and we’ll find a way. It’s nothing. We play two if we have to. We’re way tougher than we showed today.”

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Thomas Romano, Asst. Sports Editor
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