COLUMBIA -- Gary Bell pitched 6 2/3 strong innings and Kip Bouknight struck out four of the seven batters he faced Wednesday night as South Carolina banged out 14 hits to defeat Clemson 9-3 before 6,227 fans at Sarge Frye Field.
Bell, 7-4, picked up the win and Bouknight - the Gamecock ace and last year's Golden Spikes Award winner as National Player of the Year - made his second relief appearance of the year and earned a save. Matt Henrie, 4-2, took the loss. Bell allowed five hits and three runs, only two earned. He struck out six and walked one.
Clemson drew first blood with an unearned run without a hit in the top of the third inning. Ryan Riley walked and both runners were save when Gamecock first baseman Tripp Kelly muffed the throw on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Frank. Steve Pyzik sacrificed the runners to second and third base and Riley scored on a sacrifice fly by Casey Stone.
South Carolina got the run back in the bottom of the third. Sheldon Brown walked and moved to third on a double by Drew Meyer, his second of the game. Brown scored on a wild pitch.
Bryon Jeffcoat doubled and Tripp Kelly walked leading off the bottom of the fourth. Chris Plummer bunted them over and pinch hitter Matt Riddle's single scored Jeffcoat. Kelly scored on a single by Meyer, his third consecutive hit, to make the score 3-1.
The Gamecocks added two runs in the fifth. Michael Floyd was safe on a fielder's choice and Jeffcoat singled. A double steal was followed by a two RBI single by Chris Plummer. The lead widened to 6-1 in the sixth inning. A walk to Garris Gonce was followed by singles by Tim Whittaker and Jeffcoat.
Bell was pitching a two hitter with one out in the seventh inning but consecutive hits by Russell Triplett, Ryan Riley and Frank, the last a two RBI double, cut the Gamecock lead to 6-3. After Pyzik made the second out Brett Price relieved Bell and struck out Stone but the ball was in the dirt and Stone reached on catcher Whittaker's low throw with Frank remaining at second base. Price walked Chad Coder to load the bases and had a 2-0 count on Jarrod Schmidt when relieved by Bouknight.
Bouknight struck out Schmidt on four pitches to leave the tying runs on base and retired the Tigers in order in the eighth and ninth innings with three more strikeouts.
Landon Powell, South Carolina's third designated hitter of the game, hit a two run home run, his third of the season, in the bottom of the seventh and the Gamecock added another run on three hits in the eighth for the final margin of 9-3.
Meyer's three hits led the Gamecock attack with Whittaker, Jeffcoat and Plummer each contributing two hits. Clemson's five hits were by five different players.
South Carolina improved to 30-11 while Clemson dropped to 26-14. The Gamecocks travel to Athens for a weekend Southeastern Conference series with Georgia. Clemson is at home in an Atlantic Coast Conference series against Georgia Tech.