Caden Grice of the Clemson Tigers celebrates their win over the Miami Hurricanes for the ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park on May 28, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
DURHAM, N.C. – An eight-run seventh inning by the Clemson Tigers blew them past the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC Championship Game, earning Clemson an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Cam Cannarella and Will Taylor each scored three runs, Caden Grice had three hits and a run scored and Riley Bertram had two hits, including a three-run homer and four RBI for Clemson, who topped Miami 11-5 in the final game of the tournament.
The game was played after heavy rain soaked the field at Durham Bulls Athletic Park overnight and into Sunday morning, delaying the start by two hours.
Cannarella led off the bottom of the first with a walk and advanced when Will Taylor singled up the middle. Caden Grice ripped an opposite-field RBI single to left, scoring Cannarella. Two batters later, Riley Bertram’s bloop single to shallow center sent Taylor scampering home to make it 2-0 Clemson.
Cannarella added to the Tigers lead in the bottom of the second, launching a tape-measure home run into the penultimate row of the seats in right field to make it 3-0.
Miami got on the board in the top of the third when Dominic Pitelli doubled off the left field wall and scored on Jacoby Long’s single.
Freshman lefthander Ethan Darden went 2.1 innings for the Tigers, leaving the game with runners on first and second in the top of the third, replaced by righthander Nick Clayton. Clayton’s wild pitch to Miami’s Yohendy Morales allowed Long to score from third to cut the Clemson lead to 3-2.
Miami tied the game in the top of the fourth on Zach Levenson’s solo homer to left field, then took the lead in the top of the fifth when Blake Cyr doubled to the left field corner, sending Long and Morales home for a 4-3 lead. LAter in the inning, a bases-loaded walk to Renzo Gonzalez pushed Morales across the plate for a two-run Hurricanes lead.
And then Clemson, with possibly the most dangerous lineup in college baseball heading into the NCAA Tournament, exploded, sending 11 batters to the plate and producing eight runs in the bottom of the seventh on the strength of an RBI double from Bertram and three-run homers from Taylor and Billy Amick.
NOTEBOOK – Clemson’s Cooper Ingle, who started the Championship Game behind the plate despite being hobbled after fouling a ball off his knee in the third inning of Saturday’s semifinal against North Carolina. While he was able to play, the knee appeared to bother him while he legged out a double in the bottom of the fourth.