“Just how we drew it up”: eight-run Clemson rally stuns Florida State in walk-off

Leading by seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Florida State needed just three outs to secure a victory over Clemson to earn a doubleheader split.

Good thing the Tigers have some of the hottest bats in the nation.

Jacob Hinderleider had already hit a three-run home run his first time up in the ninth. When he batted again later that inning, he lined a single to right-center that scored Jimmy Obertop to complete an eight-run rally and give No. 3 Clemson a stunning 9-8 walk-off victory Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in a battle of two top 10 teams.

The win capped a doubleheader sweep of Florida State, which entered the day 19-0 and ranked No. 7 in Baseball America’s latest Top 25 rankings.

Clemson batted 12 times in the ninth. Hinderleider, the senior transfer from Davidson College, was in the middle — and end — of it all.

His three-run home run off Seminoles reliever John Abraham got the Tigers to within striking distance at 8-4. After Andrew Ciufo flied out for the first out of the ninth, Clemson’s bats went right back to work.

The Tigers loaded the bases after a double from Jacob Jarrell, a walk to Cam Cannarella, and a single from Nolan Nawrocki.

Who better than arguably the hottest hitter in the nation to have up with the bases loaded?

Blake Wright sent the first pitch he saw from FSU reliever Carson Dorsey to deep center field for a game-tying grand slam that sent the home crowd and Clemson’s bench into delirium. Counting game one of the doubleheader earlier that day, it was Wright’s second home run of the day and his eighth in the last nine games.

The ninth-inning fun was far from over.

Obertop was hit by a pitch and Alden Mathes walked to put the winning run in scoring position for Hinderleider, who ripped the game-winner off right-hander Joe Charles to complete one of the most improbable comebacks in Clemson history.

The final total for the Tigers’ ninth inning: eight runs on five hits. Hinderleider paced the Clemson offense for the game with three hits in a 3-for-5 performance. Wright (2-for-5) had two hits to continue his hot hitting. His game-tying blast was his 12th homer of the season.

“Before the game, we talked about getting into a huge deficit. and then we score eight in the bottom of the ninth,” Tigers coach Erik Bakich said afterwards. “Just how we drew it up.”

Clemson’s comeback ruined Florida State ace Jamie Arnold’s bid for his sixth win in as many starts this season. The left-hander, who led all NCAA Division I pitchers with a 0.33 ERA entering the game, proved again why he’s having one of the best seasons of anyone in the country.

After getting into some first-inning trouble, Arnold settled in to pitch seven solid frames. He allowed just one run and three hits, striking out nine and walking two. Mathes had an RBI single to score Cannarella and give Clemson an early 1-0 lead. Arnold responded by retiring 18 of the next 20 batters he faced.

Hudson Rowan pitched a scoreless eighth inning for Florida State but began the ninth by plunking Obertop with a pitch and walking Will Taylor.

Dorsey (2-1) suffered the loss in relief for the Seminoles. All five batters he faced reached base.

Clemson used four pitchers in the game. Austin Gordon lasted just two innings in his sixth start, allowing two runs on four hits. Rocco Reid and Joe Allen both yielded three runs apiece over the next five innings as Florida State built an 8-1 lead.

Freshman Jacob McGovern (1-0) earned the win for Clemson after tossing two scoreless innings in relief. The freshman from nearby Seneca High School retired six of the seven batters he faced in only his second collegiate appearance.

Clemson won the first game of the doubleheader, 15-5 in seven innings. With Saturday’s wins, the Tigers improved to 21-2 overall and 4-1 in ACC play. Florida State fell to 19-2 overall and 3-2 in conference action.

The series will conclude Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra (ACCNX).

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire