May 28, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Clemson scored 10 runs in the top of the ninth inning to break open a 6-6 tie, then had to survive a 5-run rally by Georgia Tech in the bottom of the inning, before earning a 16-11 win and a berth in the championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
The Tigers will meet NC State on Sunday for the league’s tournament title. It’s Clemson’s tenth appearance in the championship game in the last 16 years. The Tigers are seeking their first title since winning back-to-back crowns in 1993 and ’94.
Clemson sent 13 batters to the plate in the ninth inning, breaking loose for nine hits including six singles, a double, a triple and a two-run homer by Herman Demmink. The 10 runs were one more than Clemson had scored in the ninth inning all year.
Georgia Tech countered in its half of the ninth with five runs, including a grand slam home run by Luke Murton. It was the third home run in as many at-bats for Murton who had stroked a two-run homer in the eighth inning and a lead-off homer in the seventh. He finished the game with seven RBI.
The two teams combined for 27 runs and 28 hits including seven home runs in the game that ended at 1:27 a.m.
Clemson held a 6-4 lead after Taylor Harbin’s solo home run in the eighth inning, the last of the eight participating teams to hit a home run in this year’s tournament. That lead didn’t last long however, as Murton tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with the second of his three home runs. The freshman first baseman hit only one home during the regular season but hit four long balls in Tech’s five games in the tournament.
The beleaguered pitching staffs were battered for 25 earned runs with the two starting pitchers and three relievers all touched for at least three earned runs in the game.
Harbin and D.J. Mitchell each had three hits for the Tigers with Harbin and Demmink combining to drive in six runs. Murton’s three hits and seven RBI was Tech’s big offensive weapon. Matt Wieters also had three hits for the Yellow Jackets.