June 16, 2006
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Andy D’Alessio hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to highlight the biggest late-game College World Series comeback in 20 years as top-seeded Clemson beat Georgia Tech 8-4 on Friday.
The Tigers capitalized on Georgia Tech’s bullpen meltdown to score all their runs in the eighth in the CWS’ opening game. D’Alessio’s homer off Ryan Turner allowed the Tigers to rally from a 4-0 deficit after Lee Hyde had held them to two hits over seven innings.
No team had come back from four or more runs down in the eighth inning to win in the CWS since Arizona rallied from a six-run deficit to beat Maine 8-7 in 1986.
Clemson (53-14) advanced to a Sunday Bracket 1 game against the winner of Friday night’s meeting between Cal State Fullerton and North Carolina. Georgia Tech (50-17) plays the loser of that game.
The Tigers beat fellow Atlantic Coast Conference member Georgia Tech for the fourth time in seven meetings this season. It was the second time in a row the Tigers had come back from a large deficit to beat the Yellow Jackets. Clemson scored 10 runs in the ninth inning of a 16-11 victory at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Until the eighth, it looked as if things were well in hand for the Yellow Jackets. Hyde left after giving up a walk and single to start the inning. Four pitchers followed and a total of 13 Clemson batters went to the plate.
Herman Demmink walked and Brad Chalk reached on an infield single to start the eighth, chasing Hyde. Reliever Brad Rulon faced just one batter, getting pulled after surrendering a two-run double to Marquez Smith to cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 4-2.
Ryan Turner (4-4) came on and gave up a single to Tyler Colvin. Turner then threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt, allowing Smith to score from second and Colvin to go to third. Taylor Harbin walked before D’Alessio hit his 23rd homer of the seaosn.
Adrian Casanova and pinch hitter Ben Hall added RBI singles.
Ryan Hinsono (4-0) got the win after relieving Clemson starter Sean Clark, who was knocked around in the first inning before settling down.
Georgia Tech led 3-0 in the first after Wally Crancer doubled and scored on Matt Wieters’ single. Jeff Kindel followed with his 14th home run of the season and third in three games, a two-run shot pushed over the center-field wall by a 23 mph wind.
Clark allowed just two hits over the next five innings. He gave up a walk and single to open the seventh before Hinson relieved.
Wieters drove in a run in the seventh while hitting into a double play to make it 4-0.