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Clemson baseball wins 40th game by sweeping Boston College in regular-season finale

Aidan Knaak struck out a career-high 11 batters in his final tune-up before postseason play, and No. 4 Clemson scored 10 runs in the final four innings Saturday to win its regular-season finale, 10-0, over Boston College in eight innings at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Tigers earned their 40th win in their regular-season finale to finish the season 40-13 overall and 20-10 in the ACC.

It took a while for the Tigers’ bats to get going. After being shut out through four innings, Clemson finally broke through in the fifth by plating two runs courtesy of small ball.

Nolan Nawrocki was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, then stole second and advanced to third on an error. Nawrocki scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch from Boston College starter Michael Farinelli.

Later that inning, Blake Wright drove in a run with an RBI sacrifice fly to center for a 2-0 lead. Wright was one of 12 Clemson seniors honored in an on-field ceremony before the game as part of the team’s Senior Day festivities.

Jacob Jarrell sent an RBI single up the middle to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the sixth off Eagles reliever Kyle Kipp. Nawrocki followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to score Tristan Bissetta to make it 4-0.

On Travis Lane’s first pitch of the seventh, Wright hit his team-best 21st home run and 70th RBI for a 5-0 lead. The Tigers tacked on two more runs that inning. Bissetta added an RBI single and Jimmy Obertop scored on a double play for a 7-0 lead.

In the eighth, Clemson loaded the bases on three consecutive walks from reliever Aidan Crowley to start the inning. Cam Cannarella then lined a two-run single to right off Beck Milner that made it 9-0.

Clemson coach Erik Bakich came out of the dugout to announce a pinch-runner for Wright, who received a standing ovation from the home crowd and a warm greeting from everyone on the Tigers’ bench. Teammates met Wright before he reached the dugout steps for a round of handshakes and high-fives.

After an intentional walk to Bissetta loaded the bases, Jarrell then drew a walk on four pitches to score the winning run for his 22nd RBI of the season. It was the Tigers’ sixth run-rule victory of the year.

Clemson totaled eight hits in the victory with Wright (2-for-2), Cannarella (2-5) and Bissetta (2-4) picking up two hits apiece. Wright reached base four times, finishing with two hits and two walks. Bissetta reached base three times.

On the mound, Knaak (5-1) bounced back to earn his fifth victory in one of his most dominant outings of the year.

Despite scattering eight hits over six innings, the freshman right-hander overwhelmed Eagles hitters early by striking out seven of the first 10 batters he faced.

Knaak ended his day by striking out Vince Cimini to end the sixth inning. He threw 81 pitches (62 strikes) over six scoreless frames. Knaak did not allow a walk. His 11 strikeouts broke his previous high of 10 (on March 30 at Miami and April 14 vs. NC State).

Lucas Mahlstedt worked two scoreless innings in relief of Knaak.

Farinelli (0-6) suffered the loss for Boston College, which ended its season 22-31 overall and 8-22 in conference play.

The Tigers, ranked seventh in the USA TODAY Sports baseball coaches poll and fourth in D1Baseball’s Top 25, will be the No. 2 seed in next week’s ACC Tournament at Truist Field in Charlotte. North Carolina earned the No. 1 seed as the regular-season conference champion.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire