COLUMBIA, S.C. (Clemson SID) – With twos, two on and two strikes, redshirt junior Valerie Cagle delivered a three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to keep the Tigers alive, and ultimately give the No. 6/6 Clemson Tigers the 4-3 victory on Tuesday night. Clemson (38-4) swept South Carolina (27-12) in the Palmetto Series presented by the S.C. Education Lottery on the softball diamond and improved to 5-0 all-time against the Gamecocks.
“What a battle,” said head coach John Rittman. “Brooke McCubbin gave us her all in the circle today giving us some crucial innings down the stretch. Caroline (Jacobsen) sparked us in the third with the RBI double and then delivered in the bottom of the sixth with a great defensive play, turning the double play. Our team continued to give us chances when Ally (Miklesh) led off with the single in the seventh, McKenzie (Clark) had a disciplined at bat to draw the walk, and obviously Valerie (Cagle) delivered for us with the big three-run homer. Our team showed grit to come out of the rivalry game with the win.”
South Carolina opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs and a runner on first, the Gamecocks found the gap in right center for an RBI double. The next batter followed with a single to score the runner from second to give South Carolina a 2-0 advantage.
The Tigers made a push to even the score in the top of the second after Aby Vieira hit a single into shallow left field, and Kyah Keller was hit by a pitch. Both advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch but were left stranded. In the bottom half of the inning, Clemson’s defense came up with a big stop after the Gamecocks loaded the bases with only one out. Alia Logoleo fielded a clean ball at shortstop to make the throw to home for the second out, and Maddie Moore was credited with the final out as South Carolina’s runner left early.
Clemson cut the Gamecocks’ lead in half in the top of the third inning after Clark walked with one out. Jacobsen brought her home with an RBI double down the left field line.
The Tigers made a strong push towards the end of the game that began on the defensive side with Jacobsen tracking a pitch down into deep right field. After making the catch, she threw it into Logoleo at second to turn a double play on a runner that wasn’t tagging to end the inning. In the top of the seventh, Miklesh led off with a single up the middle and stole second. She was joined on the base path after Clark walked. With two outs, two on and two strikes, Valerie Cagle sent a three-run shot out of left field to give the Tigers a 4-2 advantage.
South Carolina responded in the bottom of the seventh with a solo shot out of left making it 4-3. The Tigers finished the inning with a double play to seal the Palmetto Series with a 4-3 victory.
Junior Millie Thompson started in the circle for Clemson and pitched one inning with one strikeout. Thompson was replaced by sophomore Brooke McCubbin in the second inning. McCubbin pitched 4.1 innings with two strikeouts and only allowed two hits. She was replaced in the sixth inning by Cagle who threw the final 1.2 innings to improve to 19-3 on the season.
Up NextThe Tigers continue road action with a three-game series at NC State from April 14-16. The first game is scheduled for Friday, April 14 at 6 p.m. on ACCNX.