Bolstered by junior Steve Wilkerson's two home runs, Clemson (40-21) defeated Saint Louis (41-21) 10-2 in Game 3 of the NCAA Columbia Regional at Carolina Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore right-hander Daniel Gossett (10-4) picked up the win, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings. Sophomore Kyle Schnell gets his second save of the season in three scoreless innings of relief.
Clemson tallied 10 hits on the day. Wilkerson highlighted the offensive with two home runs and five RBI, both career highs. Junior third baseman Shane Kennedy went 3-for-5 at the plate and added a home run of his own.
Saint Louis struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when sophomore first baseman Mike Vigliarolo's single drove freshman leadoff hitter Michael Bozarth home.
In the third inning, senior center fielder Thomas Brittle drew a leadoff walk and Wilkerson put the Tigers up 2-1 with his first home run. Clemson added a second homer in the same inning when Kennedy hit a 3-2 pitch out of the park to tack on another run to make the score 3-1.
Wilkerson launched his second home run of the game in the fourth, scoring freshman first baseman Kevin Bradley and sophomore left fielder Tyler Slaton who reached on an error and a walk. The three-run shot gave Clemson a 6-1 advantage.
Senior right fielder Alex Kelly added a leadoff solo shot in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Tiger's lead to 6-2.
Freshman Matt Eckleman, who entered the game for Saint Louis in the fourth inning, saw his streak of 12-straight retired batters end in the top of the eighth when junior designated hitter Joe Costigan and Bradley reached on back-to-back singles. Slaton hit a ball to left field which was dropped. The error brought freshman Maleeke Gibson, who was pinch running for Costigan, around for a 7-2 Clemson lead.
In the top of the ninth, three more Tiger runs crossed the plate as sophomore catcher Garrett Boulware scored after Gibson reached on a fielder's choice and Kennedy followed him on a throwing error. Freshman shortstop Tyler Keiger scored the third on Bradley's single.
Sophomore Nick Bates (8-4) took the loss in 3.2 innings of work. Kelly led the way for the Billikens offensively with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, including a home run and a double.
Clemson will play the loser of Game 4 tomorrow at 1 p.m. on ESPNU/ESPN3.
Game 4 of the NCAA Columbia Regional between South Carolina and Liberty is scheduled for 8 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2/ESPN3 with live stats available at GamecocksOnline.com