CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Tigers came into Wednesday night hoping to finish a disappointing season on a high note. After finding themselves in an early three-run hole, Clemson did exactly that, scoring 11 unanswered runs on their way to an 11-5 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament.
The win ensures the team will not go into the 2021 season on a losing streak as the Tigers came into the game losers of five straight. Clemson finishes up pool play at 1-1.
"Really proud of my club, the way we finished the season," head coach Monte Lee said after the win. "Certainly was not the season that we expected to have. Certainly no, it's not the expectations of the program. Very disappointing season but finished the season on a good note. Played a great baseball game tonight."
Georgia Tech would jump on the Tigers early, plating a run in each of the first three innings to go ahead 3-0 heading into the fourth.
Clemson starting pitcher Davis Sharpe would then retire the Yellow Jackets in order for the first time in the fourth and the Tigers would take that momentum into the bottom half of the inning and never give it back.
James Parker singled to start the inning. After Caden Grice went down swinging for the first out, Bryar Hawkins was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with one out.
Adam Hackenberg came up next and launched a three-run homer to left, tying the game at 3-3. It was a 14 pitch at-bat for Hackenberg who continued to battle after falling behind 1-2, fouling off nine pitches in the at-bat.
"One of the best at-bats I've ever seen," Lee said. "I think it was 14 pitcher at-bat, 3-2 count, kept fighting pitches off, fighting pitches off, just was not gonna give in and, you know, hit a ball out of the ballpark."
The Tigers were not done, though. Jonathan French would then draw a one-out walk and after Elijah Henderson hit into a fielder's choice, Bryce Teodosio hit a run-scoring triple into the gap in right-center giving Clemson its first lead of the game at 4-3.
Clemson would add a run in the fifth on a one-out RBI single from Grice, then one more in the sixth when Teodosio hit an inside-the-park home run off the wall in deep center. It was the Tigers' centerfielder's second inside-the-park home run of his career.
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Teodosio hit his second run-scoring triple of the game in the seventh that extended the Clemson lead to 9-3 and James Parker added a two-run home run in the eighth.
The Yellow Jackets added two runs in the ninth on a two-run homer from Stephen Reid, his second long ball of the game.
After giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits over the first three innings, Sharpe settled in nicely for the Tigers, sitting down ten in a row at one point. The junior right-hander gave Clemson seven strong innings in picking up the win (4-1), allowing 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 8. Sharpe also did not walk a batter.
Nick Hoffman and Ty Olenchuk would finish it up for the Tigers, pitching the final two innings in relief of Sharpe.
"Davis Sharpe struggled a little bit early, gave up a couple of homers, but he settled in and threw the ball very, very well," Lee said. "Nick Hoffman was good. It was good to get Ty Olenchuk, a freshman who we think is going to be a huge part of our pitching staff in the future, in the ball game."
Player of the Game: After striking out in his first at-bat Bryce Teodosio would finish 3-4 on the night with all three hits going for extra bases. The Clemson centerfielder had two triples, an inside-the-park home run, and drove in three runs.
"Teo hit two triples and the inside-the-park home run," Lee said. "That was pretty amazing and two of those were with two strikes. Great to see Bryce finish out the season on a high note."
Stat of the Game: (10) After giving up two solo home runs over the first three innings, Sharpe would really settle in, at one point sitting down 10 Georgia Tech hitters in a row, giving the Tigers bats a chance to flex their muscles.
Up Next: Clemson's season is now over as the Tigers finish up at 25-27 overall and 17-20 in the ACC. It's the first time Clemson has finished with a losing record since 1957 and will mark just the second time since 1986 that the program will not make an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The last time the Tigers failed to make it into a regional was in 2008.
"We're gonna work really hard to turn it around and get these guys ready to have a nice run next year," Lee said.