Monday, March 30, 2015
9th Inning Rally Helps USC Sweep Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. (USC SID) -- Four consecutive two-out hits in the top of the ninth inning led to four runs as third ranked South Carolina rallied in the ninth inning for a 5-3 win vs. 11th ranked Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium to sweep the three-game series against the Tigers. The Gamecocks are now 10-0 on the year with Clemson dropping to 6-4 for the season.
Trailing 3-1 entering the top of the ninth inning, the Gamecocks got things started with a base hit up the middle of the bat of Kyle Martin. With two outs and Martin still on first base, Grayson Greiner kept the inning alive with a single up the middle as well. Pinch hitter Brison Celek fought to a 2-2 count against Clemson reliever Clate Schmidt before knocking a base hit into left field to load the bases. That set the stage for sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney, who jumped on the first pitch from Schmidt for a single into center field. Martin scored as did Greiner to tie the game. It was a tight play at the plate as center fielder Tyler Slaton’s throw made it to home plate, but Clemson catcher Chris Okey was unable to hold on to the ball on a tag attempt as Greiner was sliding in for the tying run. With runners on second and third, Tanner English fought off a pair of two strike pitches and then belted a double to left field scoring both runners and giving the Gamecocks a two-run lead. Junior right-hander Cody Mincey retired all three Tiger batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure the Carolina victory.
Mincey earned the win in relief, his second win of the weekend with two scoreless innings of relief with just two hits allowed and three strikeouts. He is 2-0 on the year. Schmidt suffered the loss and is now 1-2 for the season. He allowed four runs on five hits in 2.2 innings with five strikeouts.
South Carolina’s 10-hit afternoon included a 3-for-4 game by Connor Bright and a pair of hits and three RBI from English. Bright has hit safely in all 10 games this year and has an 11-game hitting streak dating back to last season. Tyler Slaton went 3-for-5 and Steven Duggar was 3-for-4 to lead Clemson at the plate.
Both starting pitchers limited the teams early in the contest. South Carolina freshman right-hander Wil Crowe worked 6.2 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Clemson junior right-hander Jake Long allowed one run on five hits in 6.1 innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
Clemson manufactured a run to go ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Slaton led off with a single, was sacrificed over by Tyler Krieger and scored on a two-out RBI single by Duggar.
South Carolina tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning. A leadoff double from Bright followed by a walk to Grayson Greiner gave Carolina runners on the corners with no outs. A pair of fielder’s choices on at bats by DC Arendas and Marcus Mooney led to both Connor Bright and Grayson Greiner being tagged out. A clutch two-out hit followed though as English ripped a RBI single into left field scoring Arendas and knotting the game up.
Clemson regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the 6th inning. Garrett Boulware led off with a single and advanced to third on Duggar’s second hit of the day, a base hit into right field. Carolina limited the damage though as Mooney, Schrock and Martin turned a pretty 6-4-3 double play that included a nice diving stop by Mooney in the hole to limit the damage. Clemson added a single run in the seventh inning on a RBI base hit by Slaton.
South Carolina has won 23 of the last 31 games between the two schools dating back to the 2007 regular season.
South Carolina returns to action on Tuesday hosting Stetson in the first game of a two-game series. First pitch was moved to 4 p.m. to accommodate fans also attending the men’s basketball game vs. Florida on Tuesday night. The game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network with live video broadcast also available at GamecocksOnline.com. Wednesday’s first pitch vs. the Hatters is 7 p.m.
Wind: 7 MPH
Humidity: 56 %