CLEMSON RALLIES TO BEAT GAMECOCKS 3-2 IN COLUMBIA, POSTS FIRST 9-0 START IN 20 YEARS
- 2022-03-04 23:34:00
COLUMBIA, SC - What a game! First road game for the Tigers, and it was as hostile as it gets. Despite trailing 1-0 and then again 2-1, the Tigers kept clawing, and French delivered the blow with a 2-out bomb to left to tie the game 2-2 in the 8th! For some reason, his bat comes to life in the 8th because he broke the tie on Tuesday with a leadoff HR that he crushed out of the stadium for his first HR of the season!
The Tigers would take their first lead of the game in the 9th thanks to an error that allowed Brewer reach base with no outs. Tyler Corbitt laid down a perfect sac bunt to move Brewer into scoring position, and he almost beat the throw for a single. After Grice struck out to rile up the crowd with 2 outs, Cooper Ingle was intentionally walked for the 3rd consecutive time. Monte Lee called him the best hitter in the nation on Tuesday night after the game, and I guess the Gamecocks think so too because Hawkins was batting behind Ingle, and he is no slouch himself. In fact, Hawkins had 3 HR's in the last 4 games and had reached base twice in his first two at bats tonight. The first two intentional walks paid off for the Gamecocks, but the third did not. Hawkins slapped a single right through the middle to score Brewer from 2nd and give the Tigers their first lead of the game.
Closer Ryan Ammons came in from the pen and hit the leadoff man, who reached 2nd on a wild pitch, so the Gamecocks had the tying run in scoring position with no outs! Ammons got a huge strike out for the first out, followed by an infield pop up and a fly to end the game. Starter Mack Anglin allowed just 2 hits with 9 K's in 6 innings, but one of those hits was a HR. The other run came thanks to a pair of walks and a wild pitch in the 1st, perhaps opening jitters for the sophomore in the Tigers' first road game. He sure did settle down after that! Lindley, Edmondson and Ammons pitched the final 3 innings in scoreless relief.
The Tigers lost one-run games to the Gamecocks in walk-off fashion in Columbia and Greenville last year before winning at home 7-2. This time, the Tigers got their revenge in Columbia with a thrilling one-run win. It's been a revenge tour for the Tigers so far this season. They've already beaten College of Charleston, USC Upstate and South Carolina, who all beat the Tigers last season. Eyster was the Clemson killer for the Gamecocks last season, providing walk-off hits in both of those one-run losses for the Tigers. He drove in the first run of the game with a sac fly but was hitless, reaching base just once after being hit by a pitch. He was in the on-deck circle when Ammons got the fly to end the game! There was a big spot in the 7th, though, when Eyster came up with a man on and 2 outs. Monte Lee brought Alex Edmondson in from the pen to replace Lindley and face Eyster. Edmondson won the battle, getting Eyster to ground out on a 1-2 pitch.
The Tigers are 9-0 for the first time in 20 years! The 2002 team started the season 13-0 and went on to Omaha. Two more Clemson teams have made it to the CWS since then, but neither started 9-0. There's something special about this team! I'll be here in Columbia for game 2 at 4:00 tomorrow at Segra Park. Clemson will be the designated home team for the "neutral game" even though it will be a home crowd for the Gamecocks again. Nick Hoffmann will be on the mound for the Tigers. He has been the Sunday starter for the first two weeks, but I guess Monte wanted to give Saturday starter NIck Clayton a home crowd because he has been the weakest of the three weekend starters.
Post-game interviews are below!
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