This time, Clemson didn’t wait to get its bats going.
One night after an 11th-inning breakthrough, the Tigers scored early and held on late for a 11-5 win over Duke at Jack Coombs Field in Durham, N.C.
Clemson won the teams’ ACC weekend series and will go for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Tigers improved to 17-14, 7-7 in ACC play; Duke fell to 13-19, 5-9 in league play.
Junior center fielder Thomas Brittle finished 4-for-6 with five RBI and three runs. He had two singles, a double and a triple, finishing a home run shy of the cycle.
For the second consecutive day, the Tigers scored first. With one out in the top of the first, Brittle singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on first baseman Richie Shaffer’s single up the middle.
Duke tied the game in the second; catcher Mike Rosenfeld reached on a bunt single, and scored on center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms’ double to left-center field.
Brittle got the rally going again in the third. He led off the inning with a bunt single, and Shaffer’s double left runners at second and third with no out for DH Phil Pohl. Pohl lofted a sacrifice fly, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
First baseman Jon McGibbon followed with an RBI single to left, scoring Shaffer for a 3-1 edge.
Duke got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on Rosenfeld’s RBI single, and it stayed that way until the sixth.
Left fielder Garret Boulware led off the inning with a double, and with one out, second baseman Steve Wilkerson singled, extending his hitting streak to 19 games. That set the table for – guess who? Brittle.
He slammed a triple to the right field corner, scoring both runners and giving Clemson breathing room with a 5-2 lead.
Clemson starter Dominic Leone scattered nine hits over 6.1 innings, striking out a season-high nine and walking two while allowing four runs, all earned.
It was his second consecutive solid start, following last week’s seven-inning, one-run, six-strikeout, three-walk win over Miami.
Before that start, Leone had lasted as long as six innings in exactly one start, a season-opening win over UAB.
The Tigers added a run in the seventh on Wilkerson’s RBI groundout, but the Blue Devils made it interesting in the bottom half.
DH Jeff Kremer led off the inning with a single, and with one out, left fielder Andrew Istler singled up the middle; both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch. That ended Leone’s day; reliever Patrick Andrews entered.
Rosenfeld followed with an RBI single through the right side of the infield, scoring Kremer. Andrews plunked Piwnica-Worms, loading the bases.
Third baseman Jeff Betts flew out to left, scoring Istler, and second baseman Mike Lumpa singled to center, scoring Rosenfeld and cutting the lead to 6-5.
With the tying run at second, Andrews got pinch-hitter Grant McCabe to ground out to short, ending the inning.
Clemson needed some insurance in the ninth inning – and got it.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Slaton singled down the right field line, scoring Baum. Following a Jason Stolz fielder’s choice and a Wilkerson walk, Brittle stepped to the plate again against reliever David Putman.
He came through – again – doubling down the right-field line, clearing the bases and extending the lead to 10-5; an error sent him to third. He scored on Shaffer’s sacrifice fly for the game’s final run.