CLEMSON – Sustained momentum – of the positive kind – has been hard to muster in Clemson baseball’s second half of the season.
Hitting a team in the prime of a hot streak certainly didn’t help either, as the No. 15 Miami Hurricanes completed their road series sweep with ease in a 10-2 final Sunday afternoon.
Miami 10, Clemson 2
Hurricanes complete sweep
Miami (32-13, 19-5 ACC) has won 19 of their last 20 games to seize a one-game lead in the Coastal Division. They have swept five conference series this season. The Hurricanes held Clemson to two runs per game to extend their six-game streak in the series between the two schools.
The No. 22 Tigers (25-19, 12-11) were swept at home in a weekend series for the first time since 2012 (UNC). They have lost five of their last six and five consecutive ACC home games.
“They just outplayed us all series long,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. “They’re a hot team and we ran into a buzzsaw. Their starting pitching is extremely good. They don’t give you any second chances or room to breathe. We didn’t pitch today.
“We had some opportunities early in the game to get some hits and some runs and some early momentum.”
Miami jumped on top early on a two-run single off shortstop Brandon Lopez’s bat.
Clemson countered by leaving two runners in scoring position in the first and second, but did get a run back on a RBI single by freshman catcher Chris Okey. It was his team-best 37th RBI.
In and out of trouble all day, Clemson right-handed starter Jake Long (2-3) couldn’t get out of a jam in the fourth – a leadoff single and fielding error on a bunt ending his outing after 86 pitches. Miami capitalized against reliever Garrett Lovorn – Hurricanes catcher Zack Collins knocking in his fourth RBI of the series. The freshman Collins added one more in a 4-run eighth, completing a 6-for-11 weekend. Second baseman Alexander Hernandez had a career-high four hits with two RBI.
Long, an Anderson native, has had some hard-luck – without a winning decision since March 15.
“We have to get a little more out of our starters,” Leggett said. “We got some big performances out of our first two (starters this weekend) and kept us in the game and we had an opportunity to win. Today we didn’t get past the fourth inning.”
Fellow T.L. Hanna grad Garrett Boulware had a worse weekend – 1-for-13 with three strikeouts, adding the hit with a 10-1 deficit in the eighth.
The Tiger lineup was 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position on the weekend.
“They pitched really well this weekend and we made some really bad decisions at the plate,” Boulware said. “That’s really what it was. Today, I started pressing so I could get more hits, and it kind of backfired on me.”
The Tigers cycled through seven pitchers, giving up 16 hits (second-most this season).
Miami left-handed starter Bryan Radziewski (4-2) struck out nine, allowing only one run on four hits. Radziewski is in the top-five in the ACC with 79 strikeouts.
“Once he got the runs he needed – he smelled it,” Leggett said. “He was aggressive. He threw everything for strikes and we started chasing a little bit. We just have to collect ourselves and get through exams and hopefully have a good 12-game schedule at the end.”
With an RPI that’s sunk into the 40s, the dreams of a regional host that were faint pre-series are all but eliminated with two ACC series left. Clemson is just 4-10 against top-25 teams and 1-7 in such games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The Tigers take the week off for exams before playing James Madison and UNLV next Friday through Monday (one game at Fluor Field on Sunday).
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