May 25, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. (ACC.com)- Dominic Leone and David Haselden combined to shut down Georgia Tech, leading the sixth-seed Clemson Tigers (40-17) to a 9-0 victory over the third-seed Yellow Jackets (39-18) in the opening game of the 2011 ACC Tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The Yellow Jackets, who were held without a run for the first time since June 1, 2008, fell in their opening game at the tournament for the third straight season. The team’s struggles at the plate Wednesday came mostly with runners on base, as the team went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Clemson starter Leone (6-2) went five innings and earned the win, after working out of several jams when the game was still tight.
Georgia Tech had Leone on the ropes early, loading the bases in the first. With one out, Jacob Esch walked and advanced to second on a single by Matt Skole. Leone issued another walk, this time to Jake Davies. But Leone induced Sam Dove to ground into a fielder’s choice at the plate and struck out Daniel Palka to end the inning.
Leone called this sequence “a crucial point in the game. I tried to bear down and throw strikes and let my defense make plays.”
Georgia Tech second baseman Matt Hyde doubled off the left-field wall to start the bottom of the second for the Yellow Jackets. But Leone notched a pair of strike outs and emerged unscathed.
Clemson drew first blood in the fourth. Will Lamb singled with one out and advanced to third on a two-out single by Jeff Schaus. Chris Epps had grounded into a double play in the same situation in the first but took advantage of a second chance. The senior from Stone Mountain, Georgia drove a 2-1 fastball deep into the right-field stands, putting Clemson up 3-0.
The home run was Epps’ ninth of the season. Epps also had a superb running catch on a Matt Skole liner in the third.
Leone saved his best for last. Speedy Tech center fielder Kyle Wren led off the fifth with a triple down the right-field line. The heart of the Yellow Jackets order couldn’t bring him in, as Leone retired Jacob Esch on a pop-out and fanned Skole and Dove.
Leone gave way to his bullpen after five innings. Haselden pitched four scoreless innings, earning his third save of the season.
Clemson added to its lead in the seventh. Catcher Spencer Kieboom led off with a walk. Jason Stolz bunted into a fielder’s choice. John Hinson lashed a double off the left-field wall and Phil Pohl scored Stolz with a sacrifice fly. That drove Pope (11-4) from the mound.
Pope said that he “didn’t have a feel for my slider and they jumped on my first-pitch fastballs.”
Three Georgia Tech relievers finished up.
Clemson broke open the game in the ninth, scoring five runs. Richie Shaffer and Jeff Schaus each had a two-run double in the inning.
Schaus ended the game with four hits in five at-bats.
Clemson plays Florida State Thursday at 3 p.m., while Georgia Tech plays NC State that night. Tech will need to win the final two games, and hope for Clemson to lose twice in order to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
Attendance at Durham Bulls Athletic Park was announced as 1,571.
Georgia Tech Baseball Postgame Notes
May 25, 2011 vs. Clemson
With the loss today, Georgia Tech…
… dropped to 39-18 overall.
… has lost two of its last three and three of their last five games. Tech, however, has only lost four of its last 12 games.
… dropped to 1-3 vs. Clemson this season.
… dropped to 0-2 in neutral site games.
… dropped to 67-51 all-time in ACC Tournament play.
… dropped to 6-7 vs. Top-25 teams.
… fell to 25-11 vs. right-handed starters.
… Coach Danny Hall’s record now stands at 776-346-1 in 18 years at Georgia, Tech, 984-463-1 in 24 years overall.
*Georgia Tech was shutout for the first time since June 1, 2008 – an 8-0 loss at Georgia in an NCAA Regional – a span of 177 games.
*Tech suffered its largest margin of defeat in an ACC Tournament game since 2004, a 17-5 loss to Florida State.
*Tech’s previous season low for runs was one, three times, including a 3-1 loss at Clemson earlier this season.
*Freshman Mott Hyde extended his hitting streak to a career best nine games.
*Freshman Kyle Wren has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games and recorded his 88th base hit of the season.
*Wren’s fifth inning triple was his league-leading seventh of the season … Wren has now reached base in 52 of Tech’s 57 games and has at least one hit in 47 of the 57 games.
*Junior pitcher Mark Pope allowed nine hits in 6.2 innings today, marking only the third time this season he has allowed nine or more hits.
*Pope has pitched at least 6.0 innings in every start this season.
*Jake Davies recorded his 20th career multiple-hit game.
*Georgia Tech is looking for its first ACC championship since 2005 and its eighth overall title.
*The Yellow Jackets have outscored opponents 376-223 this season.