CLEMSON, S.C. – Gardner-Webb saw No. 11 Clemson post a season-high 21 hits and 14 runs, as the Tigers whipped the Diamond ‘Dogs, 14-2.
GWU (12-17) has lost seven of its last eight mid-week games on the year, with three coming on the road against ACC members.
Clemson put its leadoff man on board in each of the first six innings and had 11 different collect at least one of the team’s 19 hits in the game.
The Diamond ‘Dogs did strike first, with Jamall Kinard tripling down the line to lead off the game and scoring on Daniel Cooke’s groundout for an early 1-0 edge. GWU added another hit in the frame, an infield single by Jeremiah Lokken, but would not scratch across additional runs.
Clemson (16-7) charged to a 2-1 lead with four singles in the second inning, getting RBI knocks from Ben Paulsen and D.J. Mitchell before GWU starter Wes Cogdill worked through the frame.
The Tigers loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the third against Cogdill, and quickly pushed their lead to 4-1 on a sharp double down the line by Alex Burg. With two men in scoring position and no outs, Paulsen stepped in and hammered a changeup deep over the fence in right center – giving Clemson a 7-1 edge.
Clemson starter Matt Vaughn was nearly perfect after allowing GWU its run in the first, retiring GWU in order in the second and fourth – and allowing just a single in the third. Cooke, who had that single, was called out when he slid off the bag after beating a tag on a steal attempt at second.
The Tigers added their eighth run in the bottom of the fourth, as Paulson collected his fifth RBI of the game on a two-out single off of GWU reliever Jonathon Ban.
Gardner-Webb got back-to-back singles from Matt Rizzuto and Justin Loyd to lead off the fifth and – after Jon Ahearn reached on a fielder’s choice – got its second run on a Tigers’ error. Ahearn stole second, but catcher Doug Hogan’s throw scooted under Taylor Harbin’s glove into center, allowing Rizzuto to trot home easily from third.
Vaughn worked through the problems, stranding runners at the corners with a pair of strikeouts to send GWU back into the field. Clemson added a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to go up 10-2.
The Tigers kept the runs coming, plating another in the sixth and three runs in the seventh for the final margin.
Paulsen had a career day at the plate to spark the Clemson onslaught, going 5-for-5 with a double, home run and six RBI. Harbin went 3-for-6 with a pair of RBI.
Vaughn (2-0) picked up the win, fanning five and scattering five hits in 5.0 innings of work. Four Clemson relievers worked the final four frames, limiting GWU to just an unearned run after Vaughn exited.
Cogdill (1-1) was tagged with a loss in his first start of the season, allowing 10 hits and seven earned runs in 3.0 innings. Gardner-Webb saw eight different players account for its eight hits in the game.
The Diamond ‘Dogs will hit the road for a key weekend league series at Belmont, with the opener set for Friday at 3 pm ET in Nashville, Tenn.