May 31, 2014
Xavier Press Conference | Clemson Press Conference
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In a contest that contained all the usual elimination-game emotion -- and featured a long weather delay -- the No. 4-seeded Xavier Musketeers downed No. 3-seeded Clemson, 6-4, on Saturday afternoon in the Nashville Regional at Hawkins Field.
Daniel Rizzie had three hits and drove in two runs for the Musketeers (30-28), who used a three-run seventh-inning rally to extend a one-run lead, then held off Clemson's comeback bid that included Steve Wilkerson's two-run homer in the eighth.
Xavier will face the loser of Saturday night's Vanderbilt-Oregon game on Sunday at 1 p.m. in another elimination game.
Clemson (36-25) became the first team ousted from the Nashville Regional. The Tigers lost to Oregon, 18-1, on Friday and then dropped Saturday's back-and-forth game against Xavier.
Xavier starter Scott Klever (7-6) earned the win, allowing two runs, both earned, on six hits over 6 1-3 innings. Sean Campbell worked the final 2 2-3 innings, allowing two runs, to earn his first save of the season. Clemson's Daniel Gossett (7-2), who came into the day with a 1.78 ERA, was saddled with the loss after surrendering three runs on nine hits in six innings.
Brian Bruening went 4-for-4 for the Musketeers, and Tyler Krieger had three hits for Clemson.
Xavier built an early 1-0 lead on Patrick Jones' two-out RBI double in the bottom of the first, but Clemson tied it in the top of the fourth on back-to-back two-out doubles by Garrett Boulware and Jay Baum.
The Tigers then moved in front, 2-1, in the fifth when Steve Duggar drove in a run with a single to left field -- another two-out RBI -- but Xavier answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to regain the lead. Mitch Elliot's run-scoring single tied the game, and Rizzie's two-out double put the Musketeers ahead, 3-2.
The game was interrupted by lightning in the top of the seventh, and the teams endured a delay of one hour and 48 minutes.
Shortly after play resumed, Xavier padded its lead by scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Rizzie had an RBI single during the inning, and two Clemson errors -- one by relief pitcher Drew Moyer and another by left fielder Boulware -- aided the Xavier rally. The Musketeers scored their third run of the inning when Rizzie came home from third on a wild pitch by Clay Bates.
Clemson made it interesting again in the eighth, using Wilkerson's two blast to pull within 6-4. It was his sixth homer of the season.
Clemson's Jon McGibbon led off the ninth with a single, but Xavier's Campbell retired the next three batters to end it.