Not even consistent rainfall could cool down Clemson's bats on Sunday, as the Tigers claimed the ACC Baseball Championship with an 18-13 win over Florida State at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Chase Pinder and Chris Okey drove in four runs apiece in what was an offensive onslaught by the new ACC champions, who automatically qualified for the NCAA tournament with the victory.
Clemson wasted little time getting on the board. Pinder opened the game by reaching base on an error, and Seth Beer walked before Okey ripped off a double, scoring Pinder. Beer came home on a throwing error, and Okey rounded the bases after a second error on the play from Florida State.
ESPNU had the footage of the odd sequence that wound up being a bad omen for the Seminoles:
Florida State got one run back in the bottom of the inning, as Taylor Walls walked, advanced to second when Jackson Lueck was walked, stole third base and came home on Cal Raleigh's sacrifice fly.
The Tigers broke the game wide-open from there, however.
Clemson scored five runs in the top of the second, highlighted by Eli White's RBI single and Reed Rohlman's two-run single. The proverbial floodgates remained open in the top of the third inning as well, as Pinder's three-run triple and White's RBI double paced another five-run inning.
Then the floodgates actually opened in North Carolina, as torrential downpours forced a delay. The game had initially been moved up from noon to 10 a.m. CT in order to avoid such a scenario.
The damage had already been done, however, and Clemson had even set a record before the third inning was over, as the Clemson Baseball Twitter account noted:
For good measure, the Tigers scored five runs for the third straight inning in the top of the fourth on two-run doubles from Chris Williams and Okey and an RBI double from White to take an 18-1 lead.
Florida State showed some life in the bottom of the fourth, however, scoring four runs, highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Tyler Holton and Dylan Busby.
Before lightning brought about another lengthy delay in the action, the Seminoles plated a whopping eight runs in the bottom of the eighth. Even that eruption wasn't enough to add much suspense to the final outcome, though.
Aaron Fitt of D1Baseball.com weighed in on the Tigers' outlook moving forward:
For Clemson, the focus now turns to Monday's selection show for the NCAA tournament, as the Tigers will be hoping for a national seed. Manager Monte Lee thought the team did enough to earn one even before Sunday's win.
“I think we’ve done a really good job of controlling what we can control,” Lee told Kip Coons of the Raleigh News and Observer after the Tigers beat Wake Forest on Saturday. “Are we a national seed? We can’t determine that. But I know this: If you look at our top-50 wins, top-100 wins, it’s hard I think for anybody to say that Clemson doesn’t deserve to be one of the top eight national seeds.”
Clemson will certainly go into the tournament on a hot streak, having won 13 of its last 16 games.
Florida State is out of contention for a top-eight seed, meanwhile, but the Seminoles will be a dangerous at-large bid despite their disappointing performance in the ACC title game.
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