Daniel Rizzie scores one of his two runs against Clemson on Saturday afternoon.
May 31, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With its season on the line in an elimination game, Xavier put together a 6-4 victory over Clemson to keep its postseason alive in the NCAA Tournament.
Xavier (30-28) worked a little two-out magic in the first to score the game's first run. Rizzie smacked a single to the left side and then scored on Patrick Jones' double that was lost in the sun by Clemson's shortstop.
Consecutive doubles from Clemson's Jay Baum and Garrett Boulware allowed the Tigers to even the game at a run apiece in the top of the fourth. CU then took the lead with Tyler Krieger's double and an RBI single from Steven Duggar.
The Musketeers answered in their at-bat in the fifth. Stephen Schoettmer led off the inning with single and moved to second on Michael Moore's sac bunt. Mitch Elliott poked an RBI single down the right-field line. After Elliott swiped second, Rizzie smacked a double to right center to push Xavier back ahead, 3-2.
Clemson (36-25) put the leadoff batter on the bags in the seventh. However, after a sac bunt moved the runner to second, play was halted due to lightning in the area. The delay lasted nearly two hours and chased both starting pitchers from the game.
When play resumed, Sean Campbell replaced Klever and promptly took care of the first two Tigers to end the threat.
XU did some damage in the bottom of the inning. Michael Moore connected on an infield single and Elliott reached on a throwing error by Clemson's pitcher on his sac bunt attempt to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Two runs eventually scored on Rizzie's RBI single that was mishandled in right field. Rizzie then crossed on a wild pitch to extend Xavier's advantage to four, 6-2.
Clemson responded with a Steve Wilkerson two-run bomb to cut the margin in half in the eighth. Campbell regrouped and retired five of the final six batters of the game for his first save of the year.
Klever pitched the first 6.1 innings for the Musketeers in the winning effort to improve to 7-6 on the year. He surrendered two runs on six hits and a pair of free passes.
Rizzie was sensational at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Bruening added a 4-for-4 effort on the afternoon. Elliott added an RBI and run scored, while Jones also drove in one run.
This marks the second-straight game where lightning has halted play for the Musketeers. In XU's opening game of the NCAA Regionals with Vanderbilt on Friday, lightning delayed the start of the game for over an hour-and-a-half.
Daniel Gossett took the loss for Clemson, falling to 7-2 on the year. Krieger paced the Tigers' offense with three hits, including a pair of doubles.
Xavier will face the loser of Saturday's nightcap between No. 1 Vanderbilt and No. 2 Oregon. The game is scheduled for a noon (CT) start and will be carried on one of the channels in the ESPN family of networks.