Gamecocks Tame Tigers Again

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COLUMBIA - James Darnell went 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBI and Justin Smoak tied the South Carolina school record for career home runs with a solo homer as well as the Gamecocks defeated Clemson 7-1 on Wednesday evening at Sarge Frye Field in front of 5,763 fans. Carolina is 22-10 on the year while the loss drops Clemson to 18-14 on the season. South Carolina has defeated the Tigers all three games this year and will meet Clemson for the fourth and final time next Wednesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Along with the home runs from Smoak and Darnell, designated hitter Phil Disher added one as well as Carolina finished with four home runs on the evening. Darnell now leads the team on the year with 12 homers with Disher at 10 and Smoak at nine for the season. Smoak has 48 career home runs and is now tied with Hank Small (1972-73-74-75) for the career mark at South Carolina. Smoak hit 17 as a freshman and 22 as a sophomore.

The offense was plenty for senior right-hander Nick Godwin, who limited the Tigers to one run on four hits in eight innings of work. He earned the win and is now 3-2 on the year. The eight innings tied his career longest outing that came at College of Charleston on March 18, 2008. He also set a career-high for strikeouts with eight in the game. He had no walks allowed. Junior left-hander Craig Thomas worked the final inning and allowed just one hit while striking out one to close out the game for the Gamecocks.

Clemson would actually score first in the game though with the only run off Godwin coming in the top of the first inning. Doug Hogan knocked a two-out solo home run to left center for his ninth of the year to give the Tigers a one-run edge.

The Clemson lead would be short-lived though as Carolina bounced back with three in the bottom half of the first against Tiger starter Craig Gullickson. The freshman left-hander walked Reese Havens to open up the inning and gave up a base hit to Smoak to set the stage for Darnell. On Gullickson's 3-2 pitch, Darnell drilled a homer to left center to put Carolina up 3-1 on the Tigers.

That lead would increase to 6-1 in the third inning as the Gamecocks would chase Gullickson. After a one-out double to Smoak, Darnell would deliver again with his second homer of the game. Gullickson lasted only 2.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits with a walk. He is now 3-2 on the year. Carolina greeted reliever Casey Harman with designated hitter Phil Disher, who launched a solo homer to left center, making it the second straight day the Gamecocks had hit back-to-back home runs.

South Carolina's final run would come in the fifth inning as Smoak hit the record-tying homer against reliever Graham Stoneburner. Smoak greeted the first pitch with a blast to left center to put him alongside Hank Small for the career mark.

Carolina finished with an 11-5 advantage in hits. Darnell led the way with four with Smoak also tallying three for the Gamecocks. Darnell's multi-homer game was his third of the year.

Clemson hosts North Carolina for three games this weekend.

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