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Clark Homers, Tigers Concluded Season in Saturday Elimination Game

May 19, 2024

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Senior McKenzie Clark sent a two-run shot out of left field, but it wasn’t enough as Clemson Softball fell to regional No. 3-seed Southeastern Louisiana, 6-2, in the evening elimination game of the Tuscaloosa Regional. Clemson’s season comes to a close with an overall record of 35-19. 

The Tigers spent more than 11 hours at Rhoads Stadium on Saturday, initially arriving for a 1 p.m. CT scheduled elimination game against USC Upstate, an 8-0 Tiger run-rule victory that included a three-hour and eighteen-minute weather delay. Clemson closed out the Spartans around 7:20 p.m. local, and the first pitch against SE Louisiana took place 35 minutes later at 7:55 p.m. CT against a Lions club that took host Alabama to nine innings earlier in the day. The Lions improved to 47-14 on the season with their second 6-2 win over the Tigers in as many days, as the two met in the opening game on Friday.

Clemson has accumulated an 189-64 (.747) overall record in its first five years as a program, including an 81-31 record in ACC play. Seniors on the 2024 roster have helped put Clemson Softball on the map with an ACC Championship (2021), four regional appearances and two super regional appearances.

This was the final game in a Clemson uniform for 10 seniors, including sixth years Arielle Oda and JoJo Hyatt, fifth-years Alia Logoleo and Valerie Cagle, true seniors McKenzie Clark, Millie Thompson and Regan Spencer and Lindsey Garcia (graduate transfer), Grace Hiller (third year with program) and Julia Bomhardt (second year with team).

As the designated visiting team against Southeastern Louisiana, Clemson stepped to the plate for first in game two of the day. Maddie Moore was the lone Tiger to tally a hit that inning and was left stranded. The Lady Lions took advantage of some well-placed singles to plate three runs for the early lead.

Clemson looked to respond in the top of the second after Julia Knowler singled and Alia Logoleo followed with a double down the left field line, but the Tigers left both stranded. The Lady Lions scored two more runs in the second off a two-run homer out of left after a defensive error put one on.

Clark tried to manufacture a run for the Tigers in the third after leading off with a triple, but Clemson went down in order to leave her stranded. Southeastern Louisiana plated one additional run in the bottom of the third to hold a 6-0 advantage.

Neither side produced a run in the fourth inning, but Clark got the Tigers on the board in the top of the fifth with a two-run homer. Aby Vieira led off the inning with a single, and was replaced by freshman Kennedy Ariail as a pinch runner. Ariail advanced to second on a passed ball and third on a ground out. She came home as Clark sent her 10th home run of the season out of the park. The home run tied her for the team-high in 2024 with Moore and brought her RBI to count to 41, which is a career-high for the senior.

Senior pitcher Regan Spencer answered with a shutdown inning in the circle for the Tigers in the bottom of the fifth. She picked up three-straight outs, including back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. Neither side was able to manufacture another run, which held the final score at 6-2.

Junior Brooke McCubbin started in the circle and pitched one inning. Senior Millie Thompson replaced her in the bottom of the second and pitched 1.2 innings with one strikeout before Spencer entered. Spencer pitched the final 3.1 frames with three strikeouts. The All-ACC pitcher didn’t concede a walk for the 15th time in 30 total appearances of the 2024 campaign.

Tags: Softball
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