May 9, 1997
California Downs Clemson, 12-11
Clemson, S.C. -- John Furstenthal singled home Ivan Lewis with the lead run in the top of the eighth, leading California to a come-from-behind 12-11 victory over Clemson Friday night at Tiger Field. Clemson had a 10-5 lead with ace pitcher Ryan Mottl on the mound heading into the top of the eighth, but the Golden Bears scored six in the frame to take an 11-10 lead, then added a run in the top of the ninth.
"California did a great job of two-strike hitting," said Clemson coach Jack Leggett. "It bothers me that we hit the baseball that well and did not win. Ryan Mottl was losing some steam, and couldn't get through the seventh inning. Scott Clackum's arm has been bothering him and we did not have him available. Matt Additon had been pitching well but he did not have it tonight."
Clemson scored one in the bottom of the ninth and had two on with just one out, but could not tie the game. Clemson had won three straight games by one run for the first time since 1983 and was trying to set a school record for consecutive wins by one run, but fell two runs short.
The loss ended Clemson's five-game winning streak and brought the Tigers overall record to 36-18 for the season. California improved to 20-37. The same two teams meet Saturday night at 7:00 PM and Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM.
Jim Vorhis was the winner for California and improved to 4-5. Jon Cuccias gained a save. Matt Additon was the losing pitcher for Clemson and fell to 4-1.
California had six runs on six hits in the eighth as seven of the first eight Bear batters reached safely in the inning. Lewis had a two-RBI single in the inning, the only two RBI hit of the inning for the Bears.
Clemson catcher Matthew LeCroy homered for the Tigers, the fourth time he has done that this year and had three hits to go with three RBIs and three runs scored. The native of Belton, SC now has 20 home runs for the season. He is just the third player in Clemson history to record as many as 20 home runs in a season. Eric Macrina hit 24 in 1991 and Jim McCollum hit 21 in 1985. LeCroy, a junior catcher, also now has 49 career homers, just three of of McCollum's career record.
Clemson starter Ryan Mottl allowed six runs in seven innings of work, but he struck out nine and walked just two. He was attempting to break the Clemson single season record for wins by a freshman, but when the Bears scored six in the eighth his opportunity to break his deadlock with former Tigers Mike Brown (1978) and Dave Van Volkenburg (1969) went by the boards.
LeCroy was one of six Tigers to record multiple hits in Friday night's game. Eric DeMoura, Clemson's leadoff hitter, had four hits in six at bats. One of those hits was a home run in the fourth innings, just his third in four years as a Tiger, but his second in three games. DeMoura hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to beat North Carolina on Tuesday night.
Gary Burnham had three more hits and extended his hitting streak to 15 games. The senior now has at least one hit in 41 of his last 45 games. Kurt Bultmann had two hits, including a double in the third inning, his 28th double of the year. That hit broke Burnham's single season record.
Matt Padgett had two hits, including an RBI double and Nathan Broome had two hits and three RBIs. Broome hit his third home run of the season in the second and had an RBI single in the third.
Clemson had four home runs and two doubles in the contest, yet lost. California stole 10 bases to counteract Clemson's power.
Lewis had two hits, two RBIs and two three stolen bases, while Aaron Gordnier had two hits and three runs scored. Jim Schmidt and Juan Hernandez also had two hits apiece for Bob Milano's team.
Clemson's key inning was a four-run fourth. DeMoura led the inning off with a home run to left center. Burnham then singled to right field and LeCroy followed with a single to left. After a pitching change and a wild pitch, Jason Embler grounded out to score Burnham. Bultmann then singled to left center to score LeCroy. Padgett then doubled to left field to score Bultmann.