Jack Scanlon creates more Mark Light magic, Miami walks off No. 3 Clemson 3-2

Sophomore infielder Jason Torres celebrates in Miami’s game versus Clemson University at Mark Light Field on March 30, 2024. Photo credit: Emily Rice

In the bottom of the ninth, down one with no outs, the Miami Hurricanes (15-10, 6-4 ACC) were looking to create some magic at Mark Light Field Thursday evening against the No. 3 ranked Clemson Tigers (22-3, 5-2 ACC). Following a walk from Jason Torres, catcher Jack Scanlon was due up, trying to make a comeback.

On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, facing Clemson closer Rob Hughes, Scanlon called the game.

Scanlon sent Hughes’s pitch deep into right field, barely keeping his fifth home run of the season just to the left of the foul pole in right field and sending the crowd at the Light in a frenzy. The catcher’s home run allowed the ‘Canes to steal victory from the Tigers, winning 3-2.

Hughes had been dominant for the then two-loss Tigers. Entering tonight’s game, the righty had a staggering 0.87 ERA and three saves in 10 innings of work. Hughes had allowed only one run this season before allowing the walkoff to Scanlon.

Starting pitcher Gage Ziehl was spectacular, pitching one of the best outings of his entire career. Despite allowing two runs, one unearned, the junior struck out a career-high 15 Clemson batters while only surrendering six hits in his first nine-inning complete game of the season. Ziehl proved to be a workhorse today, throwing a career-best 118 pitches.

Ziehl’s last two home outings have been extremely encouraging. In those two games, both against ranked opponents Clemson and North Carolina, the starter has tallied 20 punchouts and two earned runs in 15 innings.

Miami started the game hot, with the starter Ziehl setting the tone early. Ziehl struck out the Clemson side on just 14 pitches at the top of the first. UM loaded the bases with one out in the frame in the bottom of the inning. The first baseman, Torres, brought home Blake Cyr on an RBI groundout to second but did not score any more in that frame.

Clemson evened up the following inning. Facing Ziehl, outfielder Alden Mathes deposited his sixth home run of the year over the wall in right field, tying the score at one.

In the third, Miami second baseman Dorian Gonzalez Jr. tried making something out of nothing but ended up committing an errant throw over Torres’s head, allowing the runner to advance to second. Gonzalez’s error proved costly, as the Tigers scored on an RBI groundout two batters later.

While Ziehl kept the Hurricanes right in the game, the offense needed to provide more run support. Facing Clemson starter Matthew Marchal and reliever Lucas Mahlstedt, the UM offense failed to hit any extra-base hits, having all eight hits being singles in eight innings.

In the fifth, the ‘Canes would get off the snide offensively. After back-to-back hits from Antonio Jimenez and Edgardo Villegas, the Tigers pulled Marchal without recording an out in the inning. Before Clemson’s Mahlstedt threw his first pitch of the evening, he picked off Jimenez from second, effectively stifling any momentum UM thought it had.

It wouldn’t be until the ninth that Miami would tally its first extra-base hit of the game, which happened to be Scanlon’s wild walk-off jack into the Mark Light night.

Miami looks to build on its upset win over No. 3 ranked Clemson with a matchup against the Tigers on Friday evening. The ‘Canes will send lefty Rafe Schlesinger on the mound, looking for his third win of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.