Gamecocks score three in ninth to top Tigers


by - Senior Writer -
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GREENVILLE – The Clemson Tigers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first couple of innings of Saturday afternoon’s Reedy River Rivalry contest at Fluor Field, swinging aggressively and putting the ball in play.

From that point on, however, Clemson head coach Jack Leggett said the Tigers got out of their aggressive mode and from the third inning on it was all Carolina as the 15th-ranked Gamecocks knocked off the 9th-ranked Tigers 7-5 in front of a near-record crowd.

The Tigers (8-1) jumped on top 4-0 in the first couple of innings, but Carolina (6-3) came back to tie it with two runs in the third, single runs in the fifth and seventh and three more in the ninth to come away with the victory and tie the series at one game apiece. The Tigers added a run in the ninth, and even brought the tying run to the plate, but Carolina’s Michel Roth was able to slam the door and pick up the save. The rubber game of the series is Sunday in Columbia.

“We had a good lead, and came out and swung the bats good early, but we got tentative for a while,” Leggett said. “We took too many pitches in hitters’ counts, and we took called strikes we shouldn’t have taken. We came out ready to go, and pitched really well early, but then we let the game slide away from us in the ninth inning.”

The Tigers once again jumped on the Gamecocks in the first inning, with Chris Epps singling, moving to third on a scorching single to left by Mike Freeman, and Jeff Schaus brought the run home with a towering fly ball to center, plating Epps with the run for a 1-0 Clemson lead.

The Tigers continued to get to Carolina starter Sam Dyson in the second inning, adding three more runs. Brad Miller led off the inning with a double off of the Green Monster in left, and Richie Shaffer brought him home with a single to center for a 2-0 lead. John Nester walked on four pitches, and Jason Stolz sacrificed both runners into scoring position with a bunt.

Dyson hurt his own cause with a balk that scored Shaffer, sending Nester to third, and Nester scored three pitches later when Dyson bounced a wild pitch that walked Epps. He was stranded at third by the time the inning ended, but Clemson had a 4-0 lead at the end of two innings.


The Gamecocks finally scratched against Clemson starter Will Lamb in the third inning, getting two runs on an opposite field, two-run homer by Jackie Bradley, a drive that cleared the Monster in left, trimming Clemson’s advantage in half at 4-2.

Lamb hit Robert Beary to open the fifth inning, but he was forced at second on a failed bunt attempt by Bobby Haney. Lamb appeared ready to work out of trouble, but Bradley came through again for the Gamecocks, dumping a single into center field to score Haney, who had advanced to second on a passed ball, and Clemson’s lead was trimmed to just one at 4-3.

The Gamecocks completed the comeback in the top of the seventh, with Merrifield drilling a single to left field that plated Morales to tie the score at 4-4.

The Gamecocks added three, two-out runs in the top of the ninth to come away with the win and tie the series.

“We just couldn’t pick up that fifth run, and I knew it would be a run that could come back and haunt us at the end,” Leggett said. “We just let it slide a little bit in the ninth inning. We were aggressive yesterday, and we were aggressive early today, but we got a little bit tentative. They played well, and you have to give them credit, because they came back and did that they had to do. We just got too quiet in the middle of the ball game.”

Clemson starter Will Lamb went 5 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs while walking four and striking out two. Tomas Cruz took the loss. Epps was 2-for-5 for the Tigers, with two runs scored.

The announced crowd was 7,105, the second-largest attendance in Fluor Field history. The record is the 7,129 fans that saw the Greenville Drive play against the Charleston RiverDogs on May 31, 2009 in a John Smoltz rehab game for the Boston Red Sox.

The series concludes on Sunday in Columbia, with Carolina freshman lefty Tyler Webb facing off against Clemson righty Scott Weismann. Weismann is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA. Webb has no record and a 0.00 ERA in 8 2/3 innings pitched.

South Carolina 7 (6-3)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Whit Merrifield 3b.......  4  2  2  2   1  0  0  0   0
Jackie Bradley, Jr. cf...  4  2  3  4   1  0  3  0   1
Christian Walker dh......  3  0  0  0   2  0  0  0   1
Kyle Enders c............  5  0  1  1   0  1 12  0   1
Nick Ebert 1b............  5  0  1  0   0  0  5  1   2
Adam Matthews rf.........  4  0  1  0   0  2  2  0   1
Adrian Morales 2b........  3  1  1  0   1  0  3  3   0
Robert Beary lf..........  1  0  0  0   0  0  1  0   1
 Scott Wingo ph/ss.......  0  1  0  0   1  0  0  0   0
Bobby Haney ss...........  2  1  0  0   0  0  1  1   0
 Brady Thomas ph.........  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
 Evan Marzilli lf........  1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Sam Dyson p..............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
 Jimmy Revan p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Matt Price p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Michael Roth p..........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 33  7  9  7   6  4 27  6   7

Clemson 5 (8-1)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Chris Epps cf............  5  2  2  0   0  3  3  0   0
Mike Freeman 2b..........  5  0  2  1   0  1  3  3   0
Jeff Schaus lf...........  3  0  1  1   1  0  0  0   1
Kyle Parker rf...........  3  0  0  0   1  0  3  0   2
Wilson Boyd dh...........  4  0  0  0   0  3  0  0   2
Brad Miller ss...........  4  1  1  0   0  1  2  5   0
Richie Shaffer 1b........  4  1  1  1   0  2 12  0   1
John Nester c............  2  1  1  0   1  1  4  2   0
 Addison Johnson ph......  1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Jason Stolz 3b...........  2  0  0  0   0  1  0  3   1
 John Hinson ph..........  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
Will Lamb p..............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  3   0
 Alex Frederick p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Tomas Cruz p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Jonathan Meyer p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Dominic Leone p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 34  5  8  3   3 13 27 16   7

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
South Carolina...... 002 010 103 -  7  9  1
Clemson............. 130 000 001 -  5  8  0
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E - ENDERS(1). DP - Clemson 1. LOB - S. Carolina 7; Clemson 7. 2B -
MERRIFIELD(1); EPPS(2); SCHAUS(3); MILLER(6). HR - BRADLEY(1). HBP - BEARY.
SH - WINGO(1); STOLZ(2). SF - SCHAUS(3). SB - MERRIFIELD 2(3); WINGO(1);
EPPS(3).

South Carolina         IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Sam Dyson...........  5.2  5  4  4  2  7 21 25
Jimmy Revan.........  2.0  1  0  0  1  4  7  8
Matt Price..........  1.0  2  1  1  0  2  5  5
Michael Roth........  0.1  0  0  0  0  0  1  1

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Will Lamb...........  5.1  3  3  2  4  1 17 22
Alex Frederick......  1.1  2  1  1  0  2  5  6
Tomas Cruz..........  1.2  1  1  1  1  1  6  7
Jonathan Meyer......  0.1  2  2  2  1  0  3  4
Dominic Leone.......  0.1  1  0  0  0  0  2  2

Win - PRICE (1-0).  Loss - CRUZ (1-1).  Save - ROTH (1).
WP - DYSON(1). HBP - by LAMB (BEARY). BK - DYSON(1). PB - NESTER(2).
Umpires - HP: Scott Erby  1B: A.J. Lostaglio  2B: Greg Street  3B: Randy Harvey
Start: 2:12 PM   Time: 3:15   Attendance: 7105

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