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Rohlman homers twice in Tigers’ 5-3 win
DURHAM, N.C. (theACC.com) – Reed Rohlman found his home run stroke at the most opportune time for Clemson.
Rohlman hit his first two home runs of the season, and Weston Wilson and Seth Beer also went deep as the sixth-seeded Tigers downed second-seeded Louisville 5-3 in the first Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship game of Friday’s session at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The outcome left the Tigers (40-18) at 2-0 in tournament pool play, while Louisville (47-11) slipped to 1-1. Saturday’s slate includes the final Pool B games of the tournament with Clemson facing 10th-seeded Wake Forest (33-24) at 11 a.m., while Louisville meets No. 3 seed Virginia (36-19) in the 7 p.m. contest. The Pool B winner is scheduled to face the Pool A winner – top-seeded Miami or fourth-seeded Florida State – in Sunday’s noon championship game.
Rohlman’s second home run of the day – which followed the same general trajectory of his first into the right field bleachers – gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Beer followed with his ACC-leading 16th home run of the season – a longer shot to deep right – to close out the scoring in the seventh inning.
Clemson starter Clate Schmidt (8-4) complemented the long balls with a solid 8.2 innings. Schmidt allowed eight hits and just two earned runs while walking one and striking out two.
Louisville provided some anxious moments for the Tigers in the top of the ninth, when No. 8 hitter Colin Lyman and pinch-hitter Will Smith delivered back-to-back two-out singles. But Clemson closer Pat Krall came on to retire Corey Ray on a liner to short to earn his fifth save of the season.
All-ACC pitcher Brendan McKay (11-3) started on the mound for the Cardinals and took the loss.
McKay departed with one out in the top of the sixth after allowing four earned runs on five hits, including both of Rohlman’s home runs and another solo shot by Wilson. He walked five batters and struck out four while throwing 93 pitches.
Rohlman became the first Clemson player to hit multiple home runs in an ACC Baseball Championship game since Jeff Baker connected twice against Virginia in the 2000 tournament at Fort Mill, South Carolina. Rohlman and K.J. Bryant each accounted two of the Tigers’ six total hits.
Danny Rosenbaum and Lyman each finished with two hits and an RBI for Louisville. The Cardinals, ranked as high as No. 3 nationally and No. 1 in Friday’s NCAA RPI, saw a 10-game winning streak come to an end. The nationally 15th-ranked Tigers (No. 9 RPI) have won seven straight.