Miami Holds on to Advance to the Semifinals with an 8-7 Win Over Clemson (2024)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( – With the score at 8-7 and two outs in the top of the ninth, the No. 11-seeded Miami Hurricanes’ Edgardo Villegas made a leaping catch at the wall in Ieft field to preserve the one-run win over the No. 2-seeded Clemson Tigers and send the Hurricanes to the semifinals of the 2024 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship at Truist Field in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The catch proved to be the second of two game-changing plays, as Miami freshman outfielder Jake Kulikowski hit a pinch-hit home run in the bottom half of the eighth inning to give the Hurricanes a two-run lead going into the ninth.

Miami advances to the semifinals for the second straight year and becomes the third No. 11 seed to reach the semifinals of the ACC Baseball Championship. Since the conference adopted a 12-team pool play format in 2017, the lowest seed in a pod has now advanced to the semifinals seven times, including then 11th-seeded Pitt in Charlotte two seasons ago.

With the win, the Hurricanes became the lowest seed to defeat the defending champion, as the Tigers won the 2023 championship a year ago.

Miami, which went 2-0 in Pool B with wins over Louisville and No. 3 nationally-ranked Clemson, scored eight runs on 12 hits. Four Hurricanes – Villegas, Daniel Cuvet, Dorian Gonzalez Jr. and Antonio Jimenez – had two hits apiece, highlighted by a home run, three RBI and two runs scored by Jimenez.

The Clemson offense had seven different Tigers register a hit for the game, led by two hits each from Jacob Hinderleider, Cam Cannarella, Jimmy Obertop and Jarren Purify. Hinderleider was 2-for-4 with a home run, walk, RBI and two runs scored, while Cannarella, Obertop and Bissetta each had an extra-base hit on the day.

The Hurricanes’ starter Gage Ziehl (5-3) picked up the win, as he allowed three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits, three walks and four strikeouts over 6.0 innings on the mound. Reliever Myles Caba (2) earned the save, pitching the final 2.0 innings in the win.

In an exciting contest from start to finish, Miami jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on an RBI double from Gonzalez Jr. in the bottom of the first inning, only to have Clemson answer with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the second inning off the bat of Purify to put the Tigers in front for the first time of the game at 2-1.

The Tigers’ lead did not last for long, as Miami’s bats stayed hot in the bottom half of the inning as a Jimenez three-run home run to right-center field and a two-run double from Cuvet propelled the Hurricanes back in front at 6-2 after just two innings of play.

After Clemson got one run back in the top of the third on a passed ball to trim the Miami lead to 6-3, the Hurricanes scored next in the bottom half of the sixth inning on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Villegas to push the lead back out to four at 7-3.

Looking to battle their way back into the game, the Tigers pushed across one run in the top of the seventh on a double, wild pitch, and an RBI groundout and two more runs on back-to-back RBI doubles from Obertop and Bissetta in the top of the eighth frame to close the gap to one at 7-6.

As they had all game long, Miami responded with a solo home run from pinch hitter Kulikowski to start the bottom of the eighth inning, to give the Hurricanes a two-run lead at 8-6 going into the ninth.

Clemson refused to go down without a fight, as Hinderleider blasted a solo home run to center field to open the inning, putting the Tigers down just one run at 8-7.

Following a walk, a popout to shortstop and a fielder’s choice, the Tigers were down to their last out when Bissetta sent a towering fly ball deep to left field where Miami’s Villegas made a leaping catch at the wall to save the game and send the Hurricanes into the semifinals with an 8-7 win.

Miami (27-29) will play the winner of Pool C on Saturday, May 25, at 5 p.m. on ACC Network. Clemson (40-14) will return to action on Friday, May 24, at 3 p.m. versus No. 7 seed Louisville.

Miami Holds on to Advance to the Semifinals with an 8-7 Win Over Clemson (2024)
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