CLEMSON BEATS GAMECOCKS 10-2 IN COLUMBIA TO CLINCH SERIES, IMPROVES TO 10-0
- 2022-03-06 06:43:50
COLUMBIA, SC - The Tigers were riding high from their thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Gamecocks in Founders Park on Friday night, but they would have to face a hostile Columbia crowd again at Segra Park on a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon with temperatures in the 70's. The announced attendance for the game was 9,070, which is the biggest regular season crowd ever in the history of the rivalry. The Tigers were the designated home team for the "neutral site" game, and the Gamecocks would quickly grab momentum back in the top of the 1st inning. Regular Sunday starter Nick Hoffmann was on the mound for the Tigers--probably because he wanted Saturday starter Nick Clayton to benefit from the home crowd in Clemson on Sunday. Hoffmann allowed a run in the 1st thanks to a single and a 2-out error by first baseman Bryar Hawkins, who muffed the throw. The early run didn't rattle the Ohio native Hoffmann, however. He settled in and pitched 5 innings without allowing another run, picking up the win and improving to 2-0 on the season.
It took a few innings for the Tigers' offense to get going, but when it rained, it poured. With the bases loaded and one out in the 4th, Ingle scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, and then Fairey drove in 2 more with a single to make it 3-1. From that point on, it was all Clemson. Blackwell singled to drive in Fairey to make it 4-1, and the Tigers would score in each of their last 5 innings. They scored one run in the 5th, one in the 6th, 3 runs in the 7th and one more in the 8th for the 10-2 rout. It was a decidedly home crowd for the Gamecocks in Columbia, but there was plenty of orange in the stands, and they were having a ball and making a lot of noise.
I thought Monte would leave Hoffmann in for the 6th inning since he was cruising and had only thrown 71 pitches, but Ty Olenchuk started the 6th instead. It was a shaky start, as he walked the leadoff man, gave up an RBI single and threw a wild pitch, but he settled down after that and went 1-2-3 with 2 K's in the 7th. Freshman Jay Dill went 1-2-3 with 2 K's in the 8th, and Rocco Reid gave up a single in the 9th but got a double play to go 1-2-3.
Cooper Ingle continued his hitting tear, going 2-4 with a walk and 2 runs scored. He was intentionally walked 3 straight times on Friday night and has only been retired twice in the series, now batting .488 for the season! Monte told me on Tuesday that the sophomore is the best hitter in the nation right now, and he may be right. Hawkins also stayed hot, going 2-4 and reaching base 3 times. Wagner, who was 0-5 with 4 K's on Friday, bounced back, going 2-4 with a double, a walk, 2 runs scored and a RBI. Blackwell was 1-1 with 3 walks and 2 RBI's. The Tigers walked 9 times, while their pitchers allowed just one walk in the game.
It's impressive that the Tigers were able to hang 10 runs on the Gamecocks without a HR and Grice going 0-5 with 2 K's! I think everyone keeps waiting for Grice to hit a big HR, and the South Carolina native might be pressing a bit at the plate. It will be interesting to see if he has that big moment on Sunday! Speaking of Grice, I saw him warming up in the pen before the 8th inning, but Dill took the mound instead. I asked Monte about it after the game, and he said that when they scored a couple more runs in the 7th, he decided to hold Grice in case they need him on Sunday. Speaking of which, the Tigers are in a great spot, having already clinched the series without exhausting their bull pen. Gilbert has yet to pitch in the series, and Edmondson, Ammons and Lindley will all be rested, along with the aforementioned Grice, should Clayton struggle on Sunday, which is a distinct possibility.
The Tigers are 10-0 for the first time in 20 years, and it's also the first time since that 2002 season that they have won their first two games against the Gamecocks, which is pretty remarkable. They'll go for the sweep at 3:00 in Doug Kingsmore Stadium, and I'll have live coverage for you in The Valley forum. Post-game interviews are below!
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