The Clemson dugout erupts after Chris Williams draws ball four to win the game (Aaron Fitt)


Clemson Prevails In Thrilling Classic


CLEMSON, S.C. — It was one of those special nights for college baseball at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, when the stars align and a big Top 25 showdown provides all of the intensity, drama, momentum swings and energy a fan could want. There were multiple plays at the plate, a little bit of zaniness on the basepaths, a pair of riveting comebacks and a walk-off victory for the home team — on a bases-loaded walk against one of the nation’s most overpowering closers.

After watching an early 4-0 lead slip away, No. 3 Clemson rallied from a two-run deficit in the ninth to win its series opener against No. 18 Wake Forest, 7-6. It was extremely entertaining theater, and it left the Tigers feeling exhilarated.

“What an incredible ballgame,” Clemson coach Monte Lee said. “One of the most exciting games that I think I’ve been a part of. I mean really, I was thinking as that game was going on and as that was happening in the ninth inning, I don’t recall being a part of a game more exciting than that one — it doesn’t get any better than that.”

During Lee’s first year and a half at the helm, the Tigers have shown a pronounced knack for finding ways to win games like this. They memorably earned a pair of come-from-behind victories to win their big Week Three series against South Carolina earlier this year, and Friday’s victory improved them to 8-1 in one-run games this year — and 22-7 in those contests during the Lee era.

“Our guys just believe, they really believe that we will find a way and they really compete,” Lee said. “There were a lot of things in the game that we failed to do, and I’ll tell you, from the Florida State weekend, the Georgia midweek game, it just feels like every time we make a mistake — and I say a ‘mistake,’ it’s going to happen, an error or a miscue — that teams are making us pay. We are really being challenged to play our best baseball right now. But our guys just competed as hard as they possibly could have and found a way to get it done.”

But as the latter half of the game unfolded, it seemed like events were conspiring against the Tigers in this one.

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