June 5, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - Clemson jumped on Auburn starter Grant Dayton for three first-inning runs while Clemson starter Casey Harman held Auburn to just two runs on five hits in a complete game effort as Auburn fell, 5-2, on Saturday night in the winner's bracket game of the NCAA Auburn Regional. With the loss, Auburn (41-20) will face Southern Miss on Sunday afternoon at 1pm in an elimination game.
"You have to give credit to Casey Harman. He did a great job and certainly kept us off balance all day long and made some big pitches," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "You can't say enough about the job that Grant Dayton did. He gave us a chance, and that is what we ask of our starters. He was outstanding today except for an error or two, but the bottom line is that he gave us a chance to win, and unfortunately we could not get anything going offensively. Against good teams you have to be able to create some type of momentum or get something going and we certainly didn't."
Dayton (8-3) would throw a career-high 131 pitches in the loss, which was the southpaw's first defeat since a 3-2 loss at Vanderbilt on April 18. After surrendering the three first inning runs and two more in the fourth, Dayton would keep the Clemson (40-21) bats in check for the rest of his 7 2/3 innings outing, retiring 12 straight from the fourth through eighth innings before surrendering a two-out single and turning things over to reliever Sean Ray.
"Early in the game, I was struggling with my fastball. I made a couple of mistakes in the first inning, and it showed on the scoreboard," Dayton said. "After that, I settled in a little bit and was able to get my fastball going. I started to throw some off speed and some strikes, and I was good after that. It was just the first couple of innings that I struggled, and that was the difference for me."
On the night Dayton struck out nine while only walking one, allowing seven hits, six of which came on the first four innings.
Auburn, which tied its season low with just five hits, was held hitless over the first four innings of the game by Harman (7-2) before Tony Caldwell (2-for-4) got to the Clemson lefty with a liner over the green monster in left for his 10th home run of the season to make it 5-1 in the fifth.
The game stayed that way until Hunter Morris (1-for-3) led off the ninth with his school record-tying 22nd home run of the season.
Harman struck out eight while only issuing one walk, allowing Auburn to put a runner in scoring position just once, that coming in the eighth, and allowing back-to-back hits just once, that coming in the ninth.
Clemson got out of the gates quickly on Dayton as Will Lamb (1-for-5) led off the game with a single and then scored on Mike Freeman's (1-for-4) home run to right, his eighth of the season. Clemson would tack on another run as Kyle Parker (0-for-3, BB) walked and scored on a John Hinson (2-for-4) single to stake itself to the early 3-0 lead.
Clemson used two doubles and an error to pick up two more runs in the fourth as Richie Shaffer (1-for-4) and Wilson Boyd (2-for-4) both doubled, with Boyd driving in Shaffer. Lamb then smoked one to Auburn third baseman Dan Gamache, who made a very nice defensive play to stop the ball but then threw it away trying to get Lamb at first, allowing Boyd to race home from second with Clemson's fifth run of the game.
Auburn had a few late inning chances to put runs on the board but a leaping catch by Boyd in center on a Brian Fletcher (0-for-4) liner to the wall prevented a run scoring double at minimum and ended the sixth. Auburn would also put two runners aboard in the eighth with one out before Harman struck out Trent Mummey (0-for-3, BB) and Fletcher to end the threat.
Auburn now must pick up a win over Southern Miss, a 19-6 winner over Jacksonville State in Saturday's first game, to get another shot at Clemson, which needs just one more win to advance to the Super Regionals next weekend.
Morris' blast ties him with Todd Faulkner for the most home runs hit by an Auburn player in the single season, with Faulkner hitting his 22 during the 2000 campaign.
Ray threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out one and allowing one hit.
Clemson 5, Auburn 2 (Jun 05, 2010 at Auburn, AL)
Clemson............. 300 200 000 - 5 8 1 (40-21)
Auburn.............. 000 010 001 - 2 5 1 (41-20)
Win-Casey Harman(7-2) Loss-Grant Dayton(8-3) T-2:24 A-4096
Follow Auburn baseball on twitter at twitter.com/AUTigerBaseball.