The Clemson Tigers and Arizona State Sun Devils faced off in Game 4 of the College World Series today. The Tigers entered the game with a 43-23 record when Arizona State had a 52-8 record. The Tigers sent Casey Harman to mound as he was 7-3 with a 3.73 ERA while Arizona State sent Seth Blair to the hill as he had a 12-0 record with a 3.35 ERA in 17 starts.
The Tigers would load the bases in the top of the first inning with one out but Brad Miller hit into a line drive double play that ended the threat. Clemson would break through on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning when they picked up two hits, a walk, and an Arizona State error to push across two runs to get a 2-0 lead.
The Sun Devils cut the lead in half in the bottom of third inning when Raoul Torrez got a hustle double with one out. He moved over to third on a wild pitch from Casey Harman before scoring on an Austin Barnes sacrifice fly to right field in which Kyle Parker cut and made a strong throw to the plate that was just slightly late.
Seth Blair would continue to struggle on the mound into the fifth inning when he would be lifted after an RBI single by John Hinson. He ended up pitching 4.1 innings giving up seven hits, five runs, five walks, and striking out four batters. Blair was very disappointing in his performance today as he looked uncomfortable in the pressure situation similar to how he looked at the CCBL All-Star game in the summer of 2008 when he gave up seven runs in only 0.2 innings of work. (FULL RECAP)
Coach Esmay discussed Blair’s struggles saying:
Well, he wasn’t filling up the zone. He was not commanding the zone early. I thought Clemson did a good job of being very patient. They were making him pitch, making him throw pitches to the zone.
And he just wasn’t on it. He just wasn’t as efficient as he’s been in the past where he gets on it early. And I thought at some point he was going to get back on it. His pitch count was over 100 pitches through four innings. That shows you what Clemson did. They did a good job of being patient and when they got a good pitch they hit it.
The Tigers added on a run in the top of the sixth inning to expand the lead to 6-1.
Arizona State got a two out RBI single by Riccio Torrez in the bottom of the sixth inning to drive home Zack MacPhee to cut the Clemson lead down to 6-2. Clemson starter Casey Harman would be able to get out of the inning without giving up anymore runs by striking out Zack MacPhee to end the frame.
The Sun Devils continued to rally in the bottom of the seventh inning when they loaded up the bases thanks to consecutive singles by Johnny Ruetigger and Deven Marrero while Raoul Torrez walked. Clemson coach Jack Leggett would make the pitching change after seeing that walk to bring in Alex Frederick who got Austin Barnes to pop up to shallow center field that Johnny Ruetigger couldn’t score on. Harman finished the game with six plus inning pitched, giving up seven hits, three runs, three walks, and five strikeouts. Drew Maggi followed up that walk with a slow grounder to second base that let Ruetigger to score but was the second out of the inning. He would get out of the jam by getting Zack MacPhee to strike out swinging.
Arizona State would bring in Mitchell Lambson to start the eighth inning where he allowed only a one out single in the eighth inning as the only baserunner.
Clemson reliever Alex Frederick continued on the mound for the final two innings giving up only one walk in the eighth and a two out single in the ninth to close the door on the Sun Devils and give the Clemson Tigers the 6-3 win. Clemson will now play Oklahoma tomorrow at 9pm (Eastern) while Arizona State will face South Carolina at 4pm (Eastern) in an elimination game.