CLEMSON — Not so long ago, Jervey Meadows at this time of year might have been a nice tailgate spot in the shadow of Doug Kingsmore Stadium for an ACC closing baseball series. In the signature heat of Palmetto State on Friday, it saw a celebration of a promising young Clemson program and a packed stadium to witness history.
The No. 10 nationally seeded Tigers staged their first NCAA regional game in only their second full season as a program before a sold-out McWhorter Stadium (a stadium record 1,760 fans) and held notched a 9-0 win in five sets. on 4 seeds UNC-Wilmington (32-14).
left-handed tigers Millie Thompson (14-3) threw an ace from the circle to set up Clemson well for the rest of the tournament with five no-hitters and shutouts in his eighth full game of the season. The only two Seahawks to reach were hit by a pitch, totaling four strikeouts on just 49 pitches. It was his second 5-inning no-hitter bid of the season.
Clemson (40-15) chased down CAA pitcher of the year Emily Winstead (13-9) early to set the tone.
After awarding an RBI double to McKenzie ClarkWinstead seemed to calm down, getting power hitters Tiger Marissa Guimbarda and Valerie Cagle on strikeouts, but shortstop Alia Logoleo opened things up big with a two-run homer inside the left field post.
After Winstead retired, the third baseman Maddie Moore capped a 6-run first inning with a double RBI wide of right field.
The Tigers regained the lead in third with a Cammy Pereira RBI grounder and Clark’s second RBI double of the game.
In the fourth, Logoleo notched his third RBI on a ground ball.
“Big win for the Tigers today. Really proud of how we came out in that first run,” Clemson coach John Rittman said. to breathe deeply. Millie, just outstanding work in the circle. Every time you throw a no hit – that’s special, but to do that in the playoffs, that’s a memory that everyone will remember for the rest of our lives. I liked how we kept putting pressure on their pitching team – we hit a lot of lines today and had some great situational hitting…
“A total team effort today. Really proud of how we performed in our first home region. Just a special moment for our program. We have 15-18 hours to enjoy it and we can get back to work tomorrow and we look forward to this challenge.”
Clark went 3-for-3 that day at home plate.
“I think I’m fine,” Clark said with a smile of his hot streak lately. “I just try to stay humble. See the ball, hit the ball and not think too much.”
McWhorter Stadium continued to be a stronghold for rittman‘s Tigers, with a 23-5 home record this season and wins in 18 of the last 20 games.
The Tigers soaked up the atmosphere on a landmark day in program history.
“As soon as I heard Millie’s walkout song, you just heard the whole crowd stand up and cheer,” Clark said. “That’s when I realized – and I looked at the berm and it was completely full. Normally I can spot my parents in the crowd, but I couldn’t even spot them today It was absolutely crazy for the first game.”
“It’s pretty amazing how much fan support we have,” Thompson said. “Obviously it’s a working day for most people and we have a full crowd. It’s just amazing.”
Clemson plays at 1 p.m. Saturday against second seed Auburn (ESPN).
Six runs in the first frame have @clemsonsoftball a dazzling departure??
— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball)
May 20, 2022
—Clemson Softball?? (@clemsonsoftball)
May 20, 2022
All eyes are on @clemsonsoftball ????
1?, 7? 6? 0? fans were in attendance at McWhorter Stadium this afternoon, setting an attendance record for the venue! pic.twitter.com/9FrCrIu0ct
— Clemson Athletics (@ClemsonTigers)
May 20, 2022
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