Baseball upsets No. 16 Clemson in season opener

The Eastern Michigan University baseball team kicked off the 2014 season with an upset of No. 16- ranked Clemson University Friday with a 6-5 score in ten innings.

EMU (1-0) had two players have multi-hit games.

Second baseman Nick Rotola was 3-for-4 and drove in and scored a run. First baseman Lee Longo went 2-for-4 at the plate before leaving the game in the eighth after hitting a single and Marquise Gill pinch ran for him.

Catcher Adam Sonabend got one hit in four at-bats but that hit was a two-run double.

Jake Andrews got the start in his Eagles debut and pitched four and two-thirds innings and surrendered four runs, three of them earned, on six hits. Andrews walked a batter and struck out one and did not get a decision.

“[Andrews’ outing] was okay,” EMU head coach Jay Alexander said. “He gave us an opportunity but it wasn’t his best outing.”

Clemson (0-1) saw designated hitter Chris Okey go 2-for-5 at the plate and recorded two runs batted in. Right fielder Steven Duggar was 1-for-4 but stole a pair of bases. Right-handed pitcher Daniel Gossett got the start for the Tigers and pitched five innings, gave up a run on four hits and struck out four against one walk and did not get a decision.

The Tigers sent the Eagles down 1-2-3 in the top of the first and proceeded to score two runs off Andrews. Okey hit a two out, two-run single into center field to score runners from second and third.

Rotola started the third frame with a single and stole a base. He advanced to third on a Dae Bowden ground out to second.

Eagles shortstop John Rubino brought Rotola home and put the Eagles on the board with an RBI groundout to second base. Clemson’s Tyler Slaton led off the bottom half of the third with a single and eventually scored from third on Duggar’s RBI single into right field.

Clemson added another run in the fifth to knock Andrews out of the game after throwing 76 pitches with two outs. Devon Bronson came in from the bullpen for the Eagles to strike out Duggar to end the fifth inning.

The Eagles responded in the top of the sixth with four runs on four hits with Gossett no longer in the ballgame to start the sixth frame. The Tigers used relievers Kevin Pohle, Kyle Schnell and Clay Bates to get through the sixth and gave the Eagles a 5-4 lead.

Eastern Michigan used right-hander Charlie Land for one and two-thirds innings before turning it over to Kristian Calibuso with two outs in the eighth inning.

Calibuso came out for the ninth inning to try and notch a save for the Green and White, but with one out and Mike Dunster pinch-hitting for Tigers second baseman Weston Wilson, Dunster hit a solo homer over the right field fence to tie the game at five runs apiece.

It all seemed to go wrong for Calibuso after the round-tripper when he walked Slaton on four pitches, struck out Tyler Krieger as Slaton swiped second, then intentionally walked Garrett Boulware and later balked to move Slaton to third and Boulware to second.

The Eagles walked Duggar to load the bases, and on a 3-1 pitch to Okey, he flied to right field to end the Tigers threat and sent the game into extra innings.

“We couldn’t get ahead and had to walk guys,” Alexander said. “But the guys stayed the course and Kristian Calibuso made some pitches he had to make.”

In the tenth inning, Rubino led off and reached on base a throwing error by the Tigers shortstop Krieger and advanced to second.

Wilson dropped a sac bunt back to the Clemson pitcher Clate Schmidt to move Rubino to third.
Sam Ott was intentionally walked and was eventually picked off by Schmidt at first.

Eagles sophomore Mitchell McGeein, who came in to play defense at first base in the eighth, hit an infield single to third to score Rubino and gave the Eagles a 6-5 lead. Steve Weber made his first pitching appearance since 2012 and gave up a two-out hit, but struck out Eli White to end the ballgame.

“The guys played well and never said die,” Alexander said.

The win gave Eastern Michigan its first win over a nationally ranked opponent since May 1, 2013 at No. 26 University of Notre Dame, 12-6.


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