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June 1, 2009

Golden Eagles fall to Clemson, eliminated from NCAA Baseball tournament

CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson pitcher Scott Weismann shut down the Tennessee Tech offense, and Tiger hitters put together back-to-back big innings in the third and fourth to eliminate the Golden Eagles from the NCAA Regional tournament, beating Tech 10-0 Sunday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles got leadoff hits in the first and second innings, and a leadoff walk in the third, but hit into double plays in all three innings to erase base runners and eliminate a scoring threat.

“We really hurt ourselves by grounding into so many double plays in the first few innings,” head coach Matt Bragga said. “(Weismann) beat us with his fastball. He threw very few off-speed pitches and just came right after us. I tip my hat to him. That was a heck of an outing today.”

Meanwhile, the Tigers were lighting up the scoreboard. Clemson scored one run in the first inning, and added four in the third, three in the fourth and one in the fifth to jump out to a 9-0 lead.

Leadoff hitter Alex Henry went two-for-four from the plate, and had a multi-hit game in all three NCAA Regional games. Ben Burgess and Heath Cheverton had Tech’s only other hits. The Golden Eagles did not advance a runner past second base.

“Friday night, we started out pretty hot on them, and we were able to stay back on them when they came at us with fastballs,” Henry said. “We struggled with that, even though we haven’t struggled with that all year, so that was surprising. That’s what they did again today and it was effective.”

Clemson pitcher Scott Weismann had a strong outing, going eight innings, allowing just the four hits and no runs. He struck out two Tech batters and walked three. For the sixth time in seven postseason games, including the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, the Tech defense did not commit an error.

The Golden Eagles lost their opening round game to Clemson 5-4, after the Tigers took their only lead of the game on a two-run RBI double in the bottom of the ninth to win the game on Friday. Tech then took on No. 14 Alabama in an elimination game on Saturday, and topped the Crimson Tide 6-2 behind a complete game performance from pitcher Michael Alcorn. But in the rematch with Clemson, Tech could not get redemption, and will finish the season with a 31-24-1 record, the Golden Eagles’ second consecutive 30-plus win season.

Pitcher Chason Choate got the loss for Tech, after throwing two and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs.

“It was a great run by our guys,” Bragga said. “We finished really strong, and that’s how you want to finish a year. It’s always disappointing to lose, bit I’m really proud of these guys. They’re a great group, one of the most fun I’ve been around to coach. I’m really fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity to be around these young men.”