Clemson extends win streak to 16, downs Miami in ACC Baseball Championship

Juniors CJ Kayfus and Carlos Perez and freshman Gunther Braendel around the dugout as FAU switches pitchers during Miami’s game against FAU at Mark Light Field on Wednesday, March 22. Photo credit: Sam Peene

The ride is over – for now. In an 11-5 defeat, the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes lost to the No. 6 Clemson Tigers in the ACC Baseball Championship final from Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Sunday afternoon.

Miami had won its first three games in the conference championship but failed to win the ACC in the last game. After the ACC Championship ride in North Carolina, a new Miami train will take off tomorrow when the NCAA announces who each of the 64 NCAA tournament teams will face in their respective regionals.

Though Miami lost the championship battle, it took a 5-3 lead late in the game. Clemson starter Ethan Darden and reliever Nick Clayton had allowed a combined five runs in 4.2 innings, three of which were taxed to Clayton.

With a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, the game took a turn for the ‘Canes. Hit after hit, the Tigers’ lineup taxed the Miami (40-19, 18-12 ACC) bullpen for eight runs.

Relievers Rafe Schlesigner, Alejandro Torres and Alex Walsh each allowed multiple runs in the inning. Designated hitter Billy Amick opened the avalanche with an RBI double, scoring outfielder Will Taylor. After two home runs from infielder Riley Bertram, Taylor plated a total of six runs, while an error from Miami left fielder Edgardo Villegas let Virginia native Benjamin Blackwell cross the plate.

Miami was held scoreless in its last four offensive half innings, and the Hurricanes lost 11-5 shortly after 5:30 p.m., awarding Clemson (43-17, 20-10) the ACC.

In total, Miami needed five relievers after starter Ben Chestnutt pitched three innings, allowing three runs and six hits. For the Tigers, a combination of left-hander Tristan Smith, graduate student Jackson Lindley and junior Ryan Ammons shut down UM’s batting order in the last few innings.

Lindley (3-3) earned the win, while Torres (4-1) was hit with his first loss of the season.

The Hurricanes started their championship week with wins against NC State, Duke top-seeded Wake Forest. Its loss to Clemson marked the 16th-straight victory for the Tigers, a nation-leading streak.