COLUMBIA, SC – Khalil Greene and Michael Johnson hit two run home runs Saturday night and Clemson capitalized on three South Carolina errors to down the Gamecocks 9-7 in a battle of nationally ranked college baseball unbeaten teams.
The second ranked Tigers improved to 5-0 while the fourth ranked Gamecocks dropped to 9-1. Steve Reba, 2-0, the first of four Clemson pitchers, was credited with the win while South Carolina starter David Marchbanks, 3-1, took the loss. Paul Harrelson pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for Clemson, allowing one run, to earn his third save.
The start of the game was delayed two hours and five minutes due to rain. Clemson then jumped out to a 7-0 lead with an unearned run in the second inning, five in the fourth and one in the fifth. Greene’s two run homer after a hit batter leading off the inning started the rally. It was Greene’s first homer of the season. Johnson hit his second of the year following a walk leading off the Tiger seventh inning to provide the final margin of victory after South Carolina had narrowed the Clemson lead to one run with five runs in the sixth.
Yaron Peters hit his third home run of the season to account for the final Gamecock run in the seventh inning. South Carolina threatened to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth inning. Peters singled and went to third with two outs on Steve Thomas’ third consecutive double. However, Landon Powell popped to shortstop to end the game and leave the tying runners in scoring position.
Reba did not allow a hit until the fifth inning but hit three batters and walked four. Trailing 7-0, the Gamecocks scored once in the fifth inning on hits by Thomas and Jon Coutlangus sandwiched around a walk. The Gamecocks knocked Reba out and scored five times in the sixth inning to cut the Clemson lead to 7-6.
Jeff Baker walked to open the Tiger seventh and Johnson homered to put Clemson ahead 9-6.
The Gamecock homer by Peters ended the night’s scoring.
South Carolina out hit Clemson 10-9 but the Tigers committed only one error to three by the Gamecocks. Four of Clemson’s nine runs were unearned.
Greene, Johnson, Jarrod Schmidt and L. J. DeMaiano drove in two runs apiece for the Tigers. Schmidt and Steve Pyzik had doubles. Greene was the only Tiger with two hits.
Thomas had four hits for South Carolina and his three doubles tied a school record. Peters had three hits.
The two teams will switch to Doug Kingsmore Stadium at Clemson at 2 p.m., Sunday for the second of four contests scheduled between the in-state rivals this season.
CLEMSON 010 510 200 – 9-9-1
SOUTH CAROLINA 000 015 100 – 7-10-3
Reba, Hahn (6), Lumsden (6), Harrelson (6) and Pyzik. Marchbanks, Adler (4), Bondurant (5), Taylor (7) and Powell. W—Reba (2-0). L—Marchbanks (3-1). Save—Harrelson (3). 2B—CU, Schmidt, Pyzek; USC, Thomas 3. HR—CU, Greene (1), Johnaon (2); USC, Peters (3).