Seven-run eighth inning propels Tigers past James Madison, 9-4

Clemson comes from behind to win, moves on to play UNLV Sunday and Monday

Clemson's Chris Okey, left, celebrates as he scores a run in the eighth inning during their baseball game against James Madison  in Clemson on Saturday.

Mark Crammer Independent Mail

Clemson's Chris Okey, left, celebrates as he scores a run in the eighth inning during their baseball game against James Madison in Clemson on Saturday. Mark Crammer Independent Mail

Dramatic, late-inning, come-from-behind victories have been few and far between for Clemson's Tigers this season.

With their NCAA tournament hopes on the line, the Tigers couldn't have picked a better spot for a seven-run eighth-inning explosion that erased a 3-2 James Madison lead and carried them to a 9-4 victory and a sweep of the teams' two-game series Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

With the win, Clemson improved to 27-19 and will move on to another two-game non-conference series, this time against UNLV, which edged JMU 2-1 earlier on Saturday. The teams will play Sunday at 2 p.m. at Fluor Field in Greenville, and then again on Monday at 6:30 p.m. on the Tigers' home field.

The Tigers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Steven Duggar singled, stole second, and scored on a base hit by Tyler Krieger.

JMU answered with a run in the second, and the score remained tied until the fifth, when Clemson scratched out a run on a walk, a groundout and a fielding error by the Dukes' first baseman.

The Tigers maintained their 2-1 edge until the top of the eighth, when Drew Moyer and Matt Campbell - on in relief of starter Matthew Crownover - walked in a pair of runs.

The Tigers, facing what could have been a damaging loss, answered emphatically in the bottom of the inning.

Steve Wilkerson walked to lead off the inning, moved to second on a hit by Chris Okey, and after one out, scored the tying run on a single by Jay Baum. Pinch-hitter Jon McGibbon then delivered another base hit, scoring Okey with the go-ahead run.

With two outs, Clemson broke the game open.

Duggar delivered a two-run single, moved to third on a base hit by Krieger, and scored on a single by Garrett Boulware. Then, after a JMU pitching change, Wilkerson doubled to center field, chasing home two more runs and putting the Tigers in control, 9-3.

Clemson finished the inning with seven runs on seven hits - nearly half their 15-hit total.

JMU scored a run in the ninth, but Garrett Lovorn came on and got the final two outs to wrap up the victory.

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Comments » 2

michtiger writes:

With every game critical and UNLV the only quality team left on the schedule why pitch Crownover in the JM series?

BrandonRink writes:

in response to michtiger:

With every game critical and UNLV the only quality team left on the schedule why pitch Crownover in the JM series?

Amount of rest most likely, him and Crownover are already going to be pitching on one less day of rest than usual for an ACC series, but they still have five off days between starts.

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