GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Presbyterian College Blue Hose baseball team rallied after surrendering a two-run lead against the No. 16 Clemson Tigers on Wednesday night, scoring a go-ahead run in the eighth inning to hand the Tigers a loss at Fluor Field, 4-3.
The team’s seventh straight win improves PC’s record to 11-6 overall while the Tigers fall to 7-7 on the year. Prior to Wednesday’s victory, the Blue Hose had not defeated Clemson since 1949.
"The guys played extraordinarily hard and did a great job overall. It was just a team effort and we're excited about this team and hopefully we can keep up this momentum," said Head Coach Elton Pollock. "I'm proud of the overall effort of our players and coaches and definitely the support of our fans."
Chandler Knox (Columbia, S.C.) earned the decision for PC but Steven Richardson (Howe, Texas) set the table with his impressive pitching as the starter, scattering six hits and three earned runs over six and one-third innings of work while striking out five.
Knox allowed only one hit and let no Tiger score in two and two-thirds innings, striking out three in the process.
Tied 3-3 in the top of the eighth, the Blue Hose would mount their late rally to decide the contest. Micklon led off the inning with a single through the left side before Preston moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt. Clemson pitcher Joseph Moorefield replaced Justin Sarrant, promptly walking Nate Horton (Spartanburg, S.C.) and then leaving the game in favor of Alex Frederick.
A Kyle Galloway (Mint Hill, N.C.) strikeout moved the situation to two on, two out. Kenny Bryant (Goose Creek, S.C.) stepped into the box, replacing John Wagner. Frederick threw a pitch in the dirt to Bryant, advancing Micklon to third and Horton to second.
Bryant, battling against the Tiger pitcher, hit a ball back to Frederick whose throw to first base proved problematic for Richie Shaffer and Micklon scored on the error. The Blue Hose then led, 4-3, the first lead for PC since the fifth inning. Andrew Williams (Augusta, Ga.) then popped up to end the inning, but the damage was done.
From the first batter, the Blue Hose wasted little time putting a hit on the board and converted shortly thereafter. Staring at two strikes, leadoff hitter Williams kicked off the proceedings with a deep double to right center.
After two PC outs, Brad Zebedis sent a frozen rope down the left field line past a diving John Hinson to bring home Williams and give the Blue Hose a 1-0 lead the team would take into the second.
A perfect first from lefthander Steven Richardson kept Clemson scoreless and PC struck again in the second.
One out down, Nate Horton singled on a full count to bring up Tyler Hill (Goose Creek, S.C.), who followed suit with a single of his own. Kyle Galloway replaced Hill as a pinch-runner and he would be put to work, as John Wagner dug out a two-strike single to bring home Horton and extend the Blue Hose lead to 2-0.
Despite Andrew Williams reaching first on a fielding error, PC could not convert with the bases loaded and ended the inning with the 2-0 advantage.
The Clemson offense emerged in the second to cut into the Blue Hose lead. Richie Shaffer led off with a single and reached third on a John Hinson double immediately after. Shaffer then reached home thanks to a sacrifice fly from Phil Pohl, but Richardson slammed the door with two consecutive swinging strikeouts to end the inning still ahead, 2-1.
Clemson pitcher Will Lamb saw his day on the mound end as Justin Sarratt replaced him at the top of the third but the Tigers’ luck against Brad Zebedis stayed the same, as the freshman catcher duplicated his earlier at bat from the first inning with a leadoff double down the left field line.
After a Tony Micklon sacrifice bunt to move Zebedis over, Aaron Preston sent a line drive that shortstop Jason Stolz couldn’t handle and Zebedis scored on the error. Two outs later, the Blue Hose ended the half-inning holding a 3-1 lead.
The PC defense showed off its skill in the bottom of the fourth inning, turning a 5-4-3 double play to clear the bases of Richie Shaffer and Jeff Schaus before Richardson ended the inning with his fourth strikeout of the game.
Phil Pohl led off the bottom of the fifth wasting little time in scoring for Clemson, tagging a first-pitch home run to left field to draw the Tigers to within one, 3-2. Clemson kept up the scoring, eventually tying the game at 3-3 on a Steve Wilkerson single to bring around Jon McGibbon. Richardson escaped the inning with no further damage and the fifth ended in a 3-3 deadlock.
Richardson held Clemson scoreless in the sixth and came out in favor of Chandler Knox after one batter in the seventh. Knox held the fort, keeping the Tigers off of the scoreboard.
Knox continued his dominance over the Tigers by allowing no runs in the eighth, entering the ninth charged with the task of holding the one-run lead.
With the tying run on first base after a Pohl single, the Blue Hose showed nerves of steel as catcher Nate Horton erased the hit by picking off pinch-runner Brad Miller. Knox then struck out Chris Epps looking to seal the win, 4-3.
PC begins Big South play this weekend with a three-game series on the road against High Point.