Tigers run-rule Gamecocks in first game of Palmetto Series
CLEMSON, S.C. – The No. 5/5 Clemson softball team defeated in-state rival South Carolina in the run-rule fashion in the first game of the Palmetto Series presented by the S.C. Education Lottery on Tuesday evening in McWhorter Stadium. The Tigers improved to 33-1 on the season as they recorded their 14th run-rule victory and 15th shutout of the season by defeating the Gamecocks (24-8), 10-0, to clock their ninth-largest margin of victory in program history.
The victory improves the Tigers to a 4-0 all-time record against the Gamecocks. This was also Clemson’s 28th-consecutive win at McWhorter Stadium dating back to April 16, 2022 against Notre Dame.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the first inning after a single down the right field by Valerie Cagle sent McKenzie Clark home, who got on off a single. Mere pitches later, an infield hit from Alia Logoleo plated Cagle to extend her scoring streak to five-consecutive games and make it 2-0.
Clemson’s bats remained hot through the third inning as Cagle hit a solo home run into center field. This was her fourth-consecutive game to bring her season total to 12. The Gamecocks remained scoreless through the fourth inning as the Tiger’s defense made some clutch plays to keep South Carolina off the board. The first four innings saw Clemson’s defense turn a double play, Logoleo made a Top 10 worthy diving catch, and Cagle struck out 4 batters.
The Tiger offense exploded in the fourth for seven total runs. Aby Vieira got the lead-off hit, as she singled through the left side of the infield. Julia Bomhardt, who was running for Vieira, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. She took advantage of another wild pitch to score as Ally Miklesh advanced to third after reaching base on a walk. A single from Reedy Davenport plated Miklesh to make it 5-0.
With one on, Clark and Maddie Moore loaded the bases after each were hit by a pitch with two outs to work within the inning. Cagle drew a walk to bring Ansley Houston, who was running Davenport, home, and a sacrifice fly by Caroline Jacobsen on the following pitch plated Clark. Still with only one out in the inning, up 7-0, Alia Logoleo hit a 0-2 pitch out of deep left field for a three-run homer to bring home Cagle and Moore, giving the Tigers a 10-0 lead.
Using just eight pitches, Cagle mowed down the Gamecocks in order in the top of the fifth to close out her 16th win of the season as she recorded five strikeouts on the day. The reigning Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week faced only 16 batters, one more than the minimum, en route to her 12th-complete game of 2023.
Image courtesy: Clemson Athletics