Liberty beats Clemson

Jack Leggett

COLUMBIA - That wasn't what the NCAA Tournament selection committee had in mind.

Neither did Jack Leggett.

There will be no winner's bracket matchup between Clemson and South Carolina after the second seeded Tigers lost 8-3 to No. 3 Liberty on Friday afternoon in the first game of the Columbia Regional.

"We got out-played," Leggett said. "It's as simple as that. They got the big hits when they had to. When they had a poor pitch, they took advantage of it."

Recipients of the Big South's automatic tournament bid, Liberty [35-27] pounded out 13 hits against six Clemson [39-21] pitchers.

Liberty starter Josh Richardson gave up three runs [two earned] and scattered six hits in his third complete game of the season, which included a span that saw him retire 17-straight hitters.

"We just couldn't make a big pitch, get a big hit. We were very average defensively. In all three phases of the game, we weren't that good today," Leggett said. "And they played well."

Trey Wimmer, a Greenwood native who grew up pulling for Clemson, led the offensive charge, going 2-for-4 with a homer and 6 RBI. His 3-run sixth inning homer off Patrick Andrews gave Liberty a 7-2 lead and "put a dagger" in Clemson.

"[Before] that [homer], I still thought we had a good opportunity to figure out a way to win," Leggett said.

Wimmer plated the game's first run with a first inning sacrifice fly to center, which scored Ashton Perritt, who led off with a ground-rule double.

In the third, Wimmer pushed the Liberty lead to 3-1 with a 2-run double.

One batter later, Jonathan Meyer was brought on in relief of Clemson starter Zack Erwin, who gave up three runs [two earned] and four hits in 2 2/3 innings.

But Clemson had several opportunities to add more runs before Liberty took its second lead of the game.

Steven Duggar drove in Clemson's first two runs -- a first inning single to rightfield and later with a third inning single to center, but he was stranded on base after each RBI.

Thomas Brittle, Steve Wilkerson and Duggar, the first three hitters in the, accounted for five of the Tigers' six hits.

"[Richardson] pitched a heck of a game," Brittle said. "He kept us off balance and kept the ball down in the zone. We just weren't able to string many hits together and get anything going."

For the most part, Clemson struggled on the mound. Freshmen Kyle Schnell and Jackson Campana were the only Tiger pitchers not charged with a run.

Meyer was touched up when Alex Close led off the fourth inning with a homer. Mike Kent was charged with run No. 8, whichRyan Cordell drove in during the eighth.

Shane Kennedy cut the Liberty lead to 8-3 with a ninth inning single that scored Duggar, who finished 3-for-4.

"We're going to have to make some adjustments in the game. Right now, we're fighting for our season and some guys' careers," Duggar said.

On Saturday, Clemson will play the loser of Friday night's game between South Carolina and Saint Louis. One more loss for the Tigers will eliminate them from NCAA Tournament play.

Daniel Gossett will start on the mound.

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