Shane Kennedy's double, Crownover-Moyer 1-2 punch carry Tigers past Pitt in 11

Clemson claims series opener in first-ever game against Panthers

Baseball - Drew Moyer

Photo by Mark Crammer

Baseball - Drew Moyer

After an evening of near misses, Clemson's Tigers finally refused to let a game-winning chance slip away.

Shane Kennedy's two-out double on an 0-2 pitch in the top of the 11th inning broke a 2-2 tie and stood up for a 3-2 Clemson victory over Pittsburgh Friday night in the opener of a weekend series at the Panthers' Charles Cost Field.

It was the first meeting ever between the Tigers (23-14, 11-7) and the Panthers (16-21, 8-11).

Reliever Drew Moyer (3-0) retired Pitt's Matt Johnson with runners on the corners and two out in the bottom of the 11th to wrap up Clemson's victory, after Matthew Crownover had worked eight strong innings in his third stint as the Tigers' Friday starter.

Pittsburgh jumped on top 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning on a pair of infield hits and two sacrifice flies. Clemson got a run back in the fourth when Tyler Krieger led off with a hit, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on an infield single by Steven Duggar, and then scored on a groundout by Chris Okey.

The Tigers pulled even with a run in the sixth after singles by Okey and Steve Wilkerson to open the inning. After the runners moved up a sacrifice bunt by Kennedy, Hobie Harris - whose .145 opponents' batting average is one of the nation's best - came on to pitch for starter Joe Harvey. Jay Baum, Clemson's first batter against Harris, chopped the ball to third base. Pitt's Jordan Frabasilo fielded the ball cleanly, but passed up a good-look play at the plate and threw to first, allowing Okey to score the tying run.

Near misses for both teams told the story of the next four innings.

Pitt's Boo Vazquez narrowly missed a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth, when he powered the ball to the right field wall, but into the glove of Clemson's Duggar.

The Panthers stranded a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, just missing a walk-off game-winner when Johnson's ball went just foul.

Clemson had a similar chance in the 10th after a two-out double and stolen base by Krieger, but Garrett Boulware's liner down the third base line sailed just foul.

The Tigers finally broke through in the 11th, as Duggar led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Steve Wilkerson, and then scored on Kennedy's double into the right field corner.

Moyer then worked out of the bottom of the 11th, after giving up a pair of hits after retiring Pitt's first two batters.

The teams will play again on Saturday at 3 p.m., and on Sunday at noon.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 1

michtiger writes:

Gutted that game out. But they must find a way to hit with runners in scoring position.

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