No comeback was required on Saturday. South Carolina jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Clemson early and held on to win 10-2 and clinch the series against the arch rival Tigers.
Both the Gamecocks and the Tigers put a few runners on base through the first two innings, but neither team was able to capitalize off of their opportunities. The Gamecocks had a huge 3rd inning, though. Elliott Caldwell got on base on an error by Clemson. Max Schrock singled to put two men on for Joey Pankake, who hit an RBI single to score the first run of the game. Kyle Martin hit a sacrifice fly scored another run. Connor Bright singled and Grayson Greiner walked to load the bases for A.C. Arendas, who struck out. But after Marcus Mooney singled, Tanner English reached based on a bunt that scored three more runs and chased Clemson starter Matthew Crownover off the mound.
Zack Erwin came in to relieve Crownover and got Caldwell out to end the inning, but the damage was done and the Gamecocks were up 5-0. The Tigers pushed a run across in the both the 4th and 5th innings to stay in the game though.
Wynkoop's day was done after he gave up a lead-off single to Slayton to start the bottom of the 7th and Joel Seddon came in to pitch for the Gamecocks. After Kreiger flew out, an error by Mooney and a walk by Seddon allowed the Tigers to load the bases with one out. But Seddon recorded two huge strikeouts to get out of the jam and keep the Gamecocks on top by 3 runs.
The Gamecocks had another big inning in the 9th, pushing 5 more runs across off of only one hit. After two walks, a Martin single, and RBI sacrifice fly by Connor Bright, Clemson walked in 2 more runs. The top of the 9th inning ended in a whirl of confusion and angry words as Clemson was unable to field English's hit cleanly. Two more runs came in on the error, and Clemson disputed the second runner being called safe.
At that point, Clemson head coach Jack Leggett ran out on to the field and urged catcher Chris Okey to throw to out Mooney at third base, where Jeff Baum tagged Mooney and proceeded to stand over Mooney and taunt him. Coaches and players rushed to the scene of the altercation, but order was quickly restored.
Despite the chaos of the top of the inning, Clemson went quietly in the bottom of the 9th and the Gamecocks got the victory.
My boys just keep putting the hurting on Clemson. Bring the broom sticks for tomo.— Matt Price (@MattPrice22) March 1, 2014
South Carolina will go for the sweep against Clemson on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.