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Clemson Baseball

Big Seventh Inning Carries Clemson to ACC Baseball Championship

May 28, 2023
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DURHAM, N.C. (theACC.com) – A surge of power from an unlikely source jump-started third-seeded Clemson late Sunday afternoon, and there was no stopping the Tigers as they rolled past Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship title game.

Grad student Riley Bertram hit his first home run of the season to highlight an eight-run seventh inning, and the Tigers overcame a two-run deficit to claim an 11-5 win before a crowd of 4,792 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

The ACC baseball championship is Clemson’s 16th and first since 2016. Each of the Tigers’ last five head coaches has won the ACC title their first year in the league – Erik Bakich (this season), Monte Lee (2016), Jack Leggett (1994), Bill Wilhelm (1958) and Bob Smith (1954).

With the win, Clemson (43-17) extended its winning streak to 16 games – the longest active among NCAA Power 5 teams – and enhanced its case for hosting an NCAA regional when sites are unveiled later this evening. Miami (40-19) is also poised for a favorable slot. The full 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced at noon on Monday.

Miami rallied from an early 3-0 deficit with five unanswered runs and led 5-3 as Sunday’s game entered the bottom of the seventh. But a leadoff walk to Will Taylor, a single by Caden Grace and an RBI double by Billy Amick set the stage for Bertram.

Bertram came to Clemson this season after four seasons playing for Bakich at Michigan, where he hit a total of two home runs in 132 games. The second baseman from Zionsville, Indiana, entered Sunday’s contest batting .278 with 37 RBI but had yet to leave the park in 59 previous games as a Tiger.

That changed in the biggest of ways as Bertram sent a 2-2 pitch from Alejandro Torres into the right field stands for a 7-5 Clemson lead. Hitting then became contagious for the Tigers who put up four more runs – capped by Taylor’s two-run homer – to complete the turnaround.

Grice, who went 3-for-5 on Sunday and drove in nine runs in the Tigers’ four tournament games, was voted the event’s MVP by the media in attendance. Grice also took his regular turn in the starting pitching rotation to work seven strong innings in Saturday’s semifinal win versus North Carolina.

Despite heavy rain that cut into the crowd count for both Saturday semifinals, this year’s tournament drew a total of 46,360 fans in 15 games – the 13th-largest total attendance in the ACC Baseball Championship’s 49-year history.

 

All-Tournament Team

1B: Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest

2B: Riley Bertram, Clemson

3B: Yohandy Morales, Miami

SS: Zack Prajzner, Notre Dame

C: Tomas Frick, North Carolina

OF: Zach Levenson, Miami

OF: Cooper Ingle, Clemson

OF: Cam Cannarella, Clemson

DH/UT: Caden Grice, Clemson (MVP)

P: Rhett Lowder, Wake Forest

P: Andrew Walters, Miami

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Big Seventh Inning Carries Clemson to ACC Baseball Championship

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