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Columbia Regional Game 5 Recap: Clemson stays alive, ousts Coastal Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Jason Stolz homered twice in the span of two innings Sunday to spark Clemson past Coastal Carolina, 5-3, in an elimination game of the Columbia Regional.

The Tigers (35-27) advanced to play South Carolina later Sunday in the championship round. If the Gamecocks win that game, it advances to host a Super Regional.  Clemson must beat the Gamecocks to force another game Monday.

The Chanticleers broke on top in the first when Ted Blackman walked, went to third on a single by Jacob May and scored on Daniel Bowman’s sacrifice fly.

Stolz’s home run to lead off the Clemson third tied the score.

Blackman gave Coastal the lead again when he hit his first career home run in the bottom of the third.

Jay Baum led off the Clemson fourth with a walk and scored on a double by Brad Felder. Stolz followed with a home run to break a 2-2 tie.

“He did a nice job for us,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said of Stolz. “He’s been a little up and down for us offensively at times. He’s been playing great defense for us all year long. To see him put together a good offensive game for us when we needed it was a good thing today.”

The Chanticleers got run back in the bottom of the fifth. Brian Pruett singled to right and took second on an error. Blackman followed with a walk. May hit a grounder to short.  Clemson got the force a second but the throw to first was wild, allowing Pruett to score.

Coastal (42-19) missed a great opportunity to tie the score in the bottom of the sixth. Rich Witten hit a high popup to first that Clemson’s Jon McGibbon lost in the sun. Witten was awarded a double.  Alex Buccilli bunted Witten to third. Tucker Frawley drew a walk, but Junior Creel struck out and Tripp Martin fouled out to end the threat.

Coastal also got the potential tying run to third in the eighth but could not get a needed hit.

Clemson made Coastal pay for those missed opportunities. Thomas Brittle and Richie Shaffer drew two-out walks in the ninth and Phil Pohl singled back through the box to give Clemson an insurance run in the ninth.

Tigers starter Dominic Leone   (7-4) gave Tigers coach Jack Leggett a seven-inning start, saving the bullpen for the possibility of two addition games needed to win the regional.

“Really I just wanted to throw strikes,” Leone said. “I told Coach in about the fifth or six inning (to) go ahead and ride me, try to save those other guys for as long as I can go

“Coastal is a good team. They put the ball in play; they make you work.”

Scott Firth pitched the final two innings, striking out the side in the ninth inning.

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