Clemson's error-prone Tigers again made it hard on themselves, but, in the end, they scratched out a run in the bottom of the ninth inning and edged Virginia Tech 7-6 Friday night in the ACC opener for both teams at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The Tigers, who built 5-0 lead but then gave it away with costly errors in the seventh and eighth innings, snapped a four-game losing streak and improved their record to 7-5. The Hokies slipped to 6-5.
After reliever Matt Campbell put Virginia Tech down in order in the top of the ninth, Clemson's Jay Baum led off the with a double down the right field line and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jon McGibbon.
Pinch-hitter Mike Dunster struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Slaton then bounced to the first baseman, Sean Keselica, who unsuccessfully tried to throw Baum out at the plate.
The Tigers, who entered the game ranked near the bottom of the ACC in both ERA and fielding percentage, again proved to be their own worst enemy. They committed four errors, giving them 17 in their last five games, and nearly squandered another strong start by Daniel Gossett.
Gossett carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but had to work out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam due to an error, a walk, and a single by Virginia Tech's Tom Stoffel.
Gossett left the game with Clemson leading 5-0 in the seventh, after giving up a double, a wild pitch and a walk. Clay Bates came on in relief and gave up three runs, before being replaced by Zack Erwin.
The Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the seventh when Mike Triller led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a grounder by Slaton, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Krieger.
The Hokies tied the game up 6-6 in the eighth with a three-run homer by Brenden Hayden, following a bunt single and an error by Krieger, his third of the game.
Campbell (2-0) was the winning pitcher for the Tigers.
The Tigers and Hokies will play again on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m.