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Tigers Falter Late, Drop Series Finale 9-6 to Florida State

Clemson drops the third and final game of a three game series with Florida State 9-6.

Coming into Sunday, Clemson was 21-0 when leading after the seventh inning, so when the Tigers headed to the eighth with a 6-5 lead, fans had to feel pretty good about things.

Florida State would explode for 4 runs in the bottom of the eighth, though, doing most of the damage off closer Geoffrey Gilbert and would turn the one-run deficit into a 9-6 win in the rubber match of the three-game series.

For the second straight day the Tigers jumped on the Seminoles early. Clemson plated four runs in the top of the first on a two-run double by Caden Grice and RBI singles by Bryar Hawkins and freshman Blake Wright.

However, Florida State would not stay down long. The Seminoles roughed up Nick Clayton in his first career start, as the right-handed pitcher allowed 5 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits in just 2.2 innings. Florida State was able to load the bases in each of the first three innings against Clayton.

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Nick Hoffman would come on in relief in the third with the bases loaded and two out but would issue consecutive walks, allowing the Seminoles to take a 5-4 lead. Hoffman had allowed just two walks all season in 43.1 innings of work, leading to head coach Monte Lee being ejected for arguing balls strikes after the first of the two walks.

The score would remain that way until the sixth when Jonathan French worked a two-out walk off Florida State starter Parker Messick, his first walk of the game. Wright would then crush a 2-1 fastball out to left for his first career homerun, giving the Tigers a 6-5 lead.

The Tigers entered the weekend on the postseason bubble. Clemson will need a strong showing next weekend at Duke to keep their faint postseason hopes alive.

Player of the Game: In just his eighth start of the season Blake Wright was 2-4 with 3 RBI including the big homerun to put Clemson ahead in the sixth.

Stat of the Game: The Tigers have struggled all season hitting with runners on base but on Sunday managed to hit .400 with runners on and .500 with RISP, although it still wasn't enough.

Up Next: Clemson and Duke will face off in the final ACC series of the regular season for each team. Game one is set of Thursday at 6 p.m. in Doug Kingsmore Stadium, in what could be a crucial series for the Tigers postseason hopes.