JSU Gamecocks eliminate Tigers in Regional blowout

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by - Senior Writer -
Crawford lasted four innings against the Gamecocks
Crawford lasted four innings against the Gamecocks

OXFORD, MS – Clemson’s streak of not making a Super Regional has reached a remarkable nine straight years.

Jacksonville St. hit Clemson starter Brooks Crawford early and often and the Tigers never recovered as the Gamecocks claimed an elimination game win in a 9-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Swayze Field in the NCAA Oxford Regional.

Clemson made a Super Regional in nine of the 12 first seasons with this format, but the streak is now nine straight without advancing. In four final elimination games in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Monte Lee, the Tigers have been outscored 45-10. The current streak of futility is the longest of its kind since a 10-year streak from 1981-90 that saw the Tigers either not make the tournament, lose in the first round, or second round and not make a regional final.

After a 22-6 start to the season, the Tigers lost 20 out of their last 33 games to finish 35-26, its worst finish under Lee.

The Gamecocks advance to play host and No. 1 seed Ole Miss in the championship game in the nightcap.

A walk, a stolen base and a single score the first run for the Gamecocks in the top of the second. A double put runners at second and third and Tre Kirklin smoked a first-pitch fastball over the wall in left for a three-run homer and a 4-0 lead.

Kyle Wilkie led off the bottom of the frame with a homer to right – his sixth of the season – to make it 4-1. Bryar Hawkins followed with a double to right-center and Justin Hawkins walked with two out. Bryce Teodosio stroked a two-out single to center that scored Hawkins to make it 4-2.

Two singles to start the fifth chased Crawford, who was replaced by Owen Griffith. Griffith hit the first batter he faced to load the bases, and a fielder’s choice scored the fifth run for the Gamecocks. Another walk quickly followed, and Griffith was replaced by Carson Spiers. Spiers walked the first batter he faced to force in another run to make it 6-2 but got out of the inning without further damage.

Crawford went four innings, giving up seven hits and six runs (all earned) while walking two and striking out two.

The Tigers didn’t lack for baserunners, but hit into double plays with runners in scoring position twice to end innings and left eight runners on base through the game’s first six innings.

Spiers ran into trouble in the seventh. Two walks and a single loaded the bases and a run scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-2. Another walk loaded the bases to chase Spiers, who was relieved by Jacob Hennessy. The eighth run scored on a fielder’s choice and the Gamecocks led 8-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Spiers gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings while walking four and striking out just one.

A walk and two hit batters loaded the bases with two out in the seventh, but Jordan Greene flew out weakly to second base to end the threat. Greene left 11 runners on base in the regional.

The Gamecocks added a single run in the ninth to make it 9-2. Clemson put two runners on base in the ninth but Greene flew out to right to end the season, the game, the inning, and the threat.


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