Duke drops ACC Tournament opener to Clemson
Duke’s first ACC Tournament appearance in five years proved to be a dud on Wednesday.
No. 5 seed Clemson, powered by Tyler Krieger’s two-run double and a two-run single by Steven Duggar, beat the No. 4 seed Blue Devils 5-3 in the first game of tournament pool play at NewBridge Bank Park.
Playing in their first ACC Tournament since 2009, the Blue Devils continue pool play against No. 9 seed Georgia Tech on Thursday (3 p.m., Fox Sports Carolinas, WDNC 620-AM).
Staked to 2-0 lead, Duke starting pitcher Michael Matuella surrendered the lead to Clemson in the fourth and fifth innings.
Three consecutive Clemson singles in the fourth produced a run to slice Duke’s lead to 2-1.
In the fifth inning, Chris Okey and Weston Wilson singled with one out for the Tigers. After Matuella retired Tyler Slaton on a foul pop up, Krieger lined a double down the right-field line to drive in two for a 3-2 Clemson lead.
Duke had a chance to tie in the sixth inning when Andy Perez walked with one out and stole second with two outs. But clean-up hitter Chris Marconcini was retired on a fly ball to left field to end the inning.
The Tigers added two insurance runs in the ninth inning aided by Duke third baseman Jordan Betts’ error and three walks (two intentional). Duggar’s one-out single off Andrew Istler brought in both runs in the inning to give Clemson a 5-2 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Grant McCabe and Matt Berezo drew walks and Ryan Deitrich, down to the team's final strike, lined an RBI single to right field to leave Clemson up 5-3.
WIth the tying runs on base, Mike Rosenfeld hit a line drive to right-centerfield that Clemson's Slaton ran down for the final out.
Duke jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Deitrich blasted a two-out, two-run home run to left-centerfield. Deitrich was 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the game.
But Clemson starting pitcher Matthew Crownover shut the Blue Devils down to allow his team to rally.
Matuella pitched an effective 6 ⅔ innings for Duke, allowing eight hits and three runs. He struck out four over the first three innings, but didn’t strike out another batter the rest of the game.
Crownover was exceptional for Clemson. The left-hander pitched 7 ⅔ innings, striking out nine and walking one while allowing five hits and two runs.