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Clemson wins on a walk-off home run from McKenzie Clark

CLEMSON, S.C. – McKenzie Clark tallied a two-run homer to walk off Minnesota, 3-1, in the second game of the doubleheader to give the No. 10/11 Clemson Tigers a split decision against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Thursday evening to open the Tiger Invitational. Clemson (14-6) dropped the opening game, 5-3, in extras to Minnesota (11-9), before ending the evening with a victory.

Game 2 – W, 3-1

Alex Brown kicked things off in the second game for both squads with a solo shot out of center field to make it 1-0 after three. This marked her first as a Tiger and sixth on her collegiate career and went 240 feet. Minnesota leveled things in the top of the sixth with back-to-back hits that brought a runner home.

The game remained even until the bottom of the seventh inning. Grace Hiller kicked things off with a leadoff single. With one on and one out, Clark drove the second pitch of her at bat out of center field for a two-run homer, her fourth home run of 2024, to secure the 3-1 victory.

Senior Regan Spencer pitched the complete seven-inning showdown with three strikeouts to earn her second win of 2024.

Clemson finished game two with eight hits led by Clark and Brown. Alia LogoleoAbi StuartKylee Johnson and Hiller rounded out the hits for Clemson, while Hiller, Brown and Clark scored.

Game 1 – L, 3-5 (9)

For the second consecutive game, the Clemson Tigers forced extra innings at McWhorter Stadium after previously taking No. 8/9 Tennessee to extras on Tuesday evening. After nine innings, the Tigers dropped its first game of the Tiger Invitational, 5-3, to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Clemson clocked six hits during the game led by Valerie Cagle going 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored. Clark, Logoleo, Maddie Moore and Arielle Oda rounded out the hits for the Tigers with Moore and Oda scoring the other two runs.

The Golden Gophers opened up the scoring in the top of the first inning after they loaded the bases with no outs and the next batter was hit by a pitch. Behind two strikeouts by Brooke McCubbin in conjunction with a quick pop-up, the Tigers got out of the inning at a one-run deficit.

The Tigers answered in the second as Moore led off with a triple off the right-field fence. She was brought home by a sac fly from freshman Johnson to left field. Minnesota reclaimed the lead in the top of the third after a runner at third scored off a wild pitch to make it 2-1 in the Gophers favor.

Clemson took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the third after Oda drew a walk and Cagle brought her home with a single up the middle. After advancing to second, Cagle came home as Logoleo singled through the left side to make it 3-2 in Clemson’s favor.

Minnesota evened things in the seventh to make it 3-3 to force extra innings and then took the lead in the top of the ninth after back-to-back singles scored two runners. The Gophers’ two runs in the top of the ninth held through the bottom half of the inning to give them the 5-3 win against Clemson.

McCubbin started in her sixth game of the season and pitched 2.1 innings with two strikeouts before Millie Thompson came in in relief in the third and pitched 3.2 innings with four strikeouts before being replaced by Cagle in the top of the seventh. Cagle pitched three innings with six strikeouts but fell to 6-4 on the season.

Up Next

Clemson continues action at the Tiger Invitational tomorrow at 5 p.m. against Mercer. Note this is an earlier start time due to forecasted inclement weather in the area.

– Via Clemson Athletic Communications 

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire