Despite my ardent belief that South Carolina was going to go undefeated for the rest of the season, the offense sputtered against Clemson on Saturday, setting up a Sunday rubber game.
The Gamecocks took an early lead, going up 2-0 in the first inning after Brady Allen singled with one out and TJ Hopkins went yard. Unfortunately, that lead was shortlived, as the Tigers tied things up in the next inning on an RBI single by Jordan Greene and a throwing error.
Clemson ended the tie in the third inning, thanks to a Grayson Byrd RBI double and an RBI single from Davis Sharpe that made the score 4-2. USC got one run back in the bottom of the inning, when Noah Campbell led off with a base hit and later came home on a two-out RBI single by Jacob Olson, making the score 4-3.
The Tigers answered by scoring three more runs in the top of the fourth inning on a two-run homer from Sam Hall and a Kyle Wilkie RBI single that put Clemson up 7-3. The Gamecocks again got one run back in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Quinntin Perez walked and advanced on a wild pitch, and George Callil brought him home with an RBI double to make it 7-4.
Another Clemson run came in the top of the fifth inning on a homer by Bryce Teodosio, outting them up 8-4. South Carolina scored its final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Andrew Eyster doubled to start things off, then Luke Berryhill and Chris Cullen walked to load the bases with no outs. Unfortunately, the Gamecocks were only able to get one run out of the situation, when Callil grounded out to bring Eyster in and make the score 8-5.
The Tigers tacked on a run in the seventh inning on a sac fly from Greene, making it 9-5, then they scored the final two runs of the game in the eighth on a homer by Logan Davidson.
USC starter Dylan Harley pitched 2.2 innings and allowed four hits and four runs. He walked three batters and struck two out. He took the loss and is now 0-1. Parker Coyne, Daniel Lloyd, Hayden Lehman, Cole Ganopulos, and TJ Shook also took the mound in this game. Clemson reliever Sam Weatherly got the win and improves to 2-0, while Holt Jones got the save, his first of the season.
The Gamecocks are now 8-2 on the season, and the Tigers have the same record. They’re scheduled to meet again Sunday in Columbia, with first pitch set for noon at Founders Park. Reid Morgan is slated to start on the mound for South Carolina.