DURHAM, N.C. – Center fielder Thomas Brittle went 4-for-6 with five RBI and Clemson broke open a 6-5 game with a five-run ninth to defeat Duke 11-5 on Saturday afternoon at Jack Coombs Field.
Clemson (17-14, 7-7 ACC) got an RBI-single from third baseman Richie Shaffer in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead.
Catcher Mike Rosenfeld reached on a bunt single to begin the bottom of the second inning. Center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms followed with an RBI-double to the wall in left center to tie the game at 1-1.
Designated hitter Phil Pohl had an RBI-sacrifice fly and first baseman Jon McGibbon added an RBI-single in the third to put the Tigers ahead 3-1.
In the bottom half of the third, first baseman Andy Perez lined a one-out single to center. Perez would then move to second on a wild pitch and to third on a groundout. Rosenfeld then brought Perez home with an RBI-single through the right side, cutting the Clemson lead to 3-2.
The Tigers threatened to add to their lead in the fifth. With runners on second and third and two outs on the board, catcher Spencer Kieboom sent a high line drive towards third. Jordan Betts made a leaping catch at third to save a pair of runs to keep the score at 3-2.
Brittle added a two-run triple to the wall in right center to extend the Clemson lead to 5-2. The Tigers could have had more. With runners at first and third and two outs, McGibbon sent a low line drive to center where Piwnica-Worms made a great diving catch coming in towards the infield to end the inning.
Clemson added an unearned run in the seventh on a bases-loaded groundout to push their lead to 6-2.
Duke (13-19, 5-9 ACC) answered with three runs in the bottom half of the seventh to make it a one-run ballgame at 6-5. Designated hitter Jeff Kremer led off the frame with a single through the left side. Two batters later, right fielder Andrew Istler reached on an infield single. After Kremer and Istler moved up a base on a wild pitch, Rosenfeld shot an RBI-single through the right side to plate Kremer. Piwnica-Worms was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Betts then lifted a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Istler. Second baseman Mark Lumpa later capped the frame with an RBI-single through the left side.
The Tigers broke open the game with a five-run ninth to account for the final margin.
Rosenfeld led the Blue Devils offensively, finishing 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Lumpa went 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Perez and Istler were both 2-for-5 with a run scored. Piwnica-Worms added an RBI-double, while Kremer had a hit and a run and Betts had an RBI for Duke.
Dominic Leone (5-2) struck out nine batters and earned the win after holding the Blue Devils to four runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings of work. Patrick Andrews picked up his second save of the season after limiting Duke to one run on three hits in 2.2 innings out of the bullpen.
Trent Swart (3-4) took the loss after giving up four runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings. Swart had six strikeouts and issued just one walk on the afternoon.
Sunday’s series finale will be at 1 p.m. GoDuke.com will have exclusive live video coverage of Sunday’s game.