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Clemson rallies past Duke in 10th inning, earns series win

Clemson got home runs from Jimmy Obertop and Jacob Hinderleider in the 10th inning and held on in the bottom half for a hard-fought 8-6 victory over No. 7 Duke Sunday at Jack Coombs Field in Durham.

The win gave the Tigers (17-2 overall, 2-1 ACC) an impressive series victory to open conference play.

Getting there wasn’t easy as Duke (15-5, 3-3) seemingly answered each Tigers rally with one of its own.

Clemson, ranked No. 9 in the latest USA TODAY Sports coaches poll, got out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Blake Wright launched his team-leading seventh home run to the opposite field in right off Duke starter Tim Noone.

The Tigers carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning despite having only one hit through seven innings. Then, both teams’ offenses began to erupt.

Alden Mathes led off with a sharp single to right and had advanced to third with two out when Hinderleider lined a ground-rule double to the warning track in left-center for a 4-2 lead.

Jarren Purify followed with a run-scoring double that brought in Hinderleider and made it 5-2.

Duke answered right away with four consecutive hits to open the eighth. A.J. Gracia’s two-run home run off Mark Clayton cut the Tigers’ lead to 5-4.

A deep fly to left from Wallace Clark off Reed Garris later that inning allowed Devin Obee to tag from third and score the tying run.

After Clemson was retired in order in the ninth, Rob Hughes took over in the bottom half. When Gracia lined a triple down the right field line, Alex Stone tried to score all the way from first to end the game but was thrown out at home by Purify following a terrific relay from Mathes.

Clemson went ahead for good in extra innings.

Obertop unloaded on a 2-0 pitch that cleared the wall in right to put the Tigers ahead, 6-5. It was a no-doubt shot that was Obertop’s fourth homer of the year and his second in as many days.

After Tristan Bissetta reached on an infield single, Hinderleider followed with a two-run homer down the right field line for an 8-5 Clemson lead.

Matthew Marchal pitched the 10th inning and allowed back to back singles with one away to bring the tying run to the plate. But Bissetta made a sensational diving catch to keep Clark from emptying the bases. A run scored on the play but it robbed Clark of at least a double and possibly a triple.

Marchal then got Zac Morris to ground to third for the final out.

Duke outhit the Tigers, 17-7. Morris (3-for-6) had three hits for the Blue Devils, and Gracia and Ben Miller each had two hits, including home runs. Five Duke players finished with two hits or more.

Hinderleider (2-for-3) was the only Tigers player to finish with two hits in a three-RBI performance.

Purify (1-for-3) drove in two runs. His RBI sac fly in the sixth broke a 2-2 tie and gave Clemson the lead.

Freshman Aidan Knaak started for Clemson and received a no-decision. The right-hander scattered nine hits but finished with nine strikeouts and didn’t allow a walk. Knaak pitched out of trouble by striking out Andrew Yu to end a Duke threat in the sixth. Knaak finished with 86 pitches in the seventh.

The Tigers used six pitchers total, including Marchal who earned his first save. Hughes (1-0) earned the win in relief. Duke also used six pitchers with Charlie Beilenson (0-1) suffering the loss after allowing Obertop’s go-ahead home run.

NEXT UP: Clemson has a pair of midweek contests beginning Tuesday when the Tigers host Winthrop in a scheduled 6 p.m. EDT start at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers will then travel to Greenville Wednesday for a 6 p.m. start against Presbyterian. The game against Winthrop will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra (ACCNX). Clemson will then welcome Florida State to Doug Kingsmore Stadium next weekend.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire