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Clemson holds on in completion of suspended game

6/24/2010

OMAHA, Neb. -- Clemson finished what it started the night before at the College World Series, but not before getting a scare from Oklahoma.

The Tigers, who used an OU pitching meltdown and costly error to build a five-run lead before the rain and lightning came in the fifth inning Tuesday night, held on to beat the Sooners 6-4 on Wednesday in the completion of a suspended game.

The win was a relief for Clemson after having its momentum stopped by the weather.

"You kind of left the job undone," Tigers coach Jack Leggett said. "We wanted to finish that game off last night because we were feeling pretty good. It's tough to go home and have to start your batteries up again."

Oklahoma scored in each of the last three innings, but couldn't come all the way back.

The Tigers (45-23) moved to the Bracket 2 championship game on Friday against either Oklahoma (50-17) or South Carolina. Those teams play Thursday, and the winner would have to beat Clemson twice to make it to next week's best-of-three finals.

Clemson finds itself in ideal position after a season that saw it lose nine of 12 games over a stretch, have to go on the road to start the postseason and come to Omaha as the only non-No. 1 regional seed.

"We stayed confident through that tough spell we had in the middle of the season," said Clemson third baseman John Hinson, who was 3 for 4 with two RBIs. "It's time to play for a national championship. Hopefully we come out and do our thing Friday and get the opportunity."

The Sooners, who have 27 come-from-behind wins this season, chipped away the last three innings, getting solo home runs from Cameron Seitzer and Tyler Ogle. But they never could get the big hit with runners on base.

Will Lamb struck out the side after Seitzer homered leading off the seventh.

Ogle's high fly in the eighth narrowly stayed inside the right-field foul pole to cut Clemson's lead to 6-3. Danny Black's two-out double put runners at second and third. Then Dominic Leone came on for Clemson and walked the dangerous Seitzer to load the bases before getting pinch hitter Casey Johnson to pop out.

Chris Ellison singled leading off the OU ninth and came home on Ogle's double off Alex Frederick. But Cody Reine, the potential tying run, flew out to end the game. Frederick earned his second save of the CWS and fourth of the season.

"When we got back to the hotel last night, the message was to put a smile on your face and believe you're going to win," OU coach Sunny Golloway said. "We were not panicked. We believed we would come back and win the ball game."

Clemson starter Scott Weismann (9-2) allowed a run, three hits and two walks over five innings before the weather halted play Tuesday night.

Oklahoma's Bobby Shore (10-5) allowed three baserunners over the first three innings, then things unraveled on him.

He threw 14 straight balls to start the fourth and walked the bases full. Light-hitting Spencer Kieboom's two-run single put the Tigers up 4-1.

"It was tough defensively to watch 14 straight balls, and it had to be more tough for Bobby," Golloway said. "He's trying to get the ball in the zone and couldn't find it. We kept giving him a chance to pitch out of it."

Things got worse for Oklahoma in the fifth. Reliever J.R. Robinson was about to get out of the inning after Kyle Parker's two-out triple, but Brad Miller's easy fly ball glanced off left fielder Max White's glove. White's error allowed Parker to score, and Hinson followed with his third hit of the game to make it 6-1.

"That misplayed fly ball out there, I don't know if the wind just caught it," Golloway said. "Max has been really good out there. We're not a club that blames each other, and we're not going to start now."