CLEMSON, S.C. - Presbyterian College had a solid start to the evening but eventually conceded six unanswered runs to fall 8-2 to Clemson on Tuesday evening at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The loss dropped PC to an overall record of 13-38 while the Tigers improved to 34-19 on the season.
"I'm really proud of the way our offense came out and out-hit a very strong Clemson squad tonight," said head coach Elton Pollock. "We got 11 hits tonight, but we really couldn't string enough of them together in the later innings. Jesse Harmon went out and threw a great seven innings before he ran into some trouble late."
After PC went quietly in the first, starting pitcher Jesse Harmon allowed a leadoff hit and eventually the bases to go loaded on a pair of walks. However, the senior retired the Clemson side on three strikeouts.
Nate Horton delivered the first hit of the game for PC in the top of the second with a one-out Texas-leaguer to left field. He moved to second on a passed ball before being plated by Matt Hill's RBI double to center field. Hill's 13th RBI of the season allowed the Blue Hose to take first blood in the game. The run was PC's first at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and PC's first scored in the city of Clemson since April 11, 1950.
The Tigers answered straight away when Jason Stolz hit his first home run of the season to left center. The two-run shot gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead as Stolz brought Richie Shaffer in to score on the play.
An inning later, PC tied the score with a RBI single by Kenny Bryant. The PC first baseman singled up the middle through the pitcher's legs to plate hitter Mack Hite who delivered a one-out double to get into scoring position. The run made the score 2-2.
After both teams went scoreless in the fourth and an open PC fifth, Clemson was able to plate Kyle Parker on Wilson Boyd's double to centerfield. On the play, PC's centerfielder Aaron Preston stumbled, rolled and nearly made the diving catch after getting to his feet again. The final out was made one batter later to retire the side.
Consecutive singles in the top of the sixth put Tony Micklon on second and Horton on first with one out. However, a pair of outs ended the inning before PC could cut further into the 4-2 Clemson advantage.
A scoreless bottom of the sixth gave way for PC to once again put a pair of runners on base with two outs. Jeff Tatum singled to open the inning and stole second before consecutive strikeouts to put two away. Shortstop Gabe Grammer walked on the next at bat to extend the inning for Bryant. The first baseman worked the count to 2-2 before popping up to the catcher in foul ground to end the inning. The two stranded runners elevated PC's total runners left on base to seven. The Blue Hose would finish the night with nine runners left on base.
In the bottom of the seventh, Harmon gave up a walk to Parker before Jeff Schaus homered to right field for the 13th time this season. The long-ball extended Clemson's lead to 6-2 and ended Richardson's day on the bump. He exited after allowing six runs, all earned off seven hits. The senior fanned five but walked three in the appearance before being replaced by sophomore lefty Steven Richardson.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Hill hit his second double of the day. The next batter was Harmon, who moved to center field after being taken off the mound. He singled through the right side but it was the Clemson right fielder who made a quick throw to the plate to cut Hill down as he made an acrobatic slide to avoid the tag at home for the final out of the eighth.
In the bottom of the stanza, Clemson tacked on two insurance runs to take an 8-2 lead into the ninth inning.. Three PC relief pitchers worked the inning with Chris Powell retiring the final two outs.
In the ninth, Hite's two-out double put the junior on second base. The two-bagger was Hite's second of the evening. However, the game was ended three pitches later when Grammer grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.
"Hats off the Matt Hill and Mack Hite for each getting two doubles tonight," added Pollock. "They really came out and hit the ball well tonight."
Harmon took the loss, falling to 2-8 while Clemson's starting pitcher Scott Firth earned the win to improve to 2-1 on the season. The Blue Hose out-hit Clemson by an 11-9 margin on the night.
The Blue Hose head north for the final series of the season this weekend against the VMI Keydets. The series starts on Friday evening from 6 p.m.