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ACC Baseball Tournament: Virginia falls to Clemson, Final Score 5-4

Virginia's comeback bid falls just short as the Tigers just edge out the Hoos.

Virginia's Matt Thaiss
Virginia's Matt Thaiss
David Petkofsky

The third-seeded and seventh-ranked Virginia Cavaliers were bested by sixth-seeded and 12th-ranked Clemson on Thursday afternoon in the first game of pool play, 5-4.

With First Team All-ACC Connor Jones on the mound for Virginia, it was the Tigers who struck first at the top of the second inning on a 1-out RBI double. Virginia’s Daniel Pinero answered right back with a leadoff home run, striking the bull at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to tie up the game. No free steaks during the ACC Tournament, though.

After back-to-back 1-2-3 innings for Jones and with nothing clicking for the Hoos offensively, Clemson added on three more runs at the top of the fifth to make it 4-1 Tigers after a walk, a home run, a walk, a wild pitch, and an RBI double.

Fighting their way back, Virginia’s Pinero and Adam Haseley used a pair of sac flies to score Matt Thaiss and Pavin Smith, making it 4-3 after six innings. Thaiss, a Second-Team All-ACC selection, extended his hit streak to a career-best 14 games.

Virginia's Tyler Shambora took over at the top of the seventh for Jones, who finished his day with 6 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB and 4 K. Clemson went down in order, while base-running continued to be a struggle for the Hoos, who were also unable to score any runs.

Though Clemson's Eli White hit a leadoff double at the top of the eighth, Shambora stranded the runner on third to end the threat. However, with another lead-off homer for the Hoos, Thaiss came up big to hit his team-leading 10th home run of the season, 368 ft to right field to tie it up at four runs apiece.

At the top of the ninth, Virginia gave up a leadoff single and a walk to put the Hoos in trouble early in the inning. The Hoos were able to strand a Clemson runner at third, but not before the Tigers scored another run to go up 5-4 headed to the bottom of the ninth.

Though the Hoos were able to get the tying run to second, Virginia left two stranded in the ninth and falling to Clemson, 5-4.

Virginia will face Wake Forest on Friday at 3:00 p.m. The Deacons defeated Duke 4-3 to advance to pool play on Tuesday, but lost to Louisville 9-5 on Tuesday night.