Freaky Fridays continue for the Clemson baseball team.
Phil Pohl struck out to end the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Tigers dropped their ACC opener, 4-3, to No. 6 North Carolina on Friday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Clemson has lost all four Friday games this season — each by a single run.
“It’s frustrating right now because we’re playing hard, we’re playing well, we’re doing what we need to do to win,” said junior third baseman Richie Shaffer, who went 3-for-4 to raise his batting average to .513, “but the scoreboard’s not reflecting that.”
Clemson (6-5, 0-1) has lost its five games by a total of seven runs.
The 19th-ranked Tigers have dropped five straight and 12 of their past 15 games against the Tar Heels, with seven of the losses by two runs or less.
Trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers staged a late rally when pinch hitter Dominic Attanasio singled and Jon McGibbon sacrificed pinch runner Tyler Slaton to second. After Thomas flied out, Steve Wilkerson was hit by a pitch and Shaffer drew a walk on four pitches to load the bases. But Pohl struck out swinging to end the game against the Tar Heel’s Michael Morin, who earned his fifth save.
The victory went to UNC starter Kent Emanuel (4-0), who scattered six hits and struck out seven batters over seven innings in winning his 11th straight decision dating to last season.
Clemson junior Kevin Brady (0-1) allowed six hits and four runs in 51/3 innings. He struck out six.
Clemson fell behind 1-0 on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, but tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Jason Stolz led off with a double and Garrett Boulware followed with an RBI single.
The Tar Heels regained the lead for good in the top of the sixth, getting four consecutive hits to take a 4-1 lead and send Brady to the dugout.
Shaffer hit an RBI triple and scored on a groundout by Spencer Kieboom in the bottom of the sixth.
Today’s 2 p.m. game features a pair of junior right-handers — Dominic Leone (2-1) for Clemson and Chris Munnelly (1-0) for UNC.
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