CLEMSON BLOWS LATE LEAD, NO.23 SOUTH CAROLINA EVENS PALMETTO SERIES 11-9 ON SATURDAY
- 2023-03-05 21:03:50
GREENVILLE, SC - It was a wild back-and-forth affair on a gorgeous afternoon with a huge, split crowd on Saturday at Fluor Field in the Palmetto Series. After a pitchers' duel for the first 4 innings, the Tigers struck first with a 2-run single by Fairey after a leadoff single by Blackwell and double by Taylor. The Tigers would load the bases with no outs, and Ingle grounded into a double play to score one more and make it 3-0. Tristan Smith made his first start on the mound for the Tigers, and after retiring the first two batters in the bottom of the 5th, he hit a batter on the first pitch, issued a full-count walk and hit another batter on full count to load the bases. Joe Allen came in from the pen and got an out at the plate to strand the bases loaded and maintain the Tigers' 3-0 lead.
However, the Gamecocks tied the game 3-3 in the 6th when Allen hit the leadoff man followed by a one-out single and a double. Darden came in from the pen and gave up a full-count walk and a single to tie the game. Will Taylor made a great catch against the wall in left to end the inning and keep the game tied.
The Tigers would retake the lead 7-3 in the next inning, starting with singles by Fairey, Bertram and Ingle to score a run. Wright hit a bases-loaded double to score 2 more, and another came in after Cannarella reached on an error. All the momentum was with the Tigers and their fans headed to the 7th inning stretch, but the momentum would be short-lived because the Tigers' bull pen couldn't hold the lead.
Reid started the 7th on the mound and gave up a run on a couple singles and an error by Bertram at second. With the bases loaded and one out, former starting pitcher Jay Dill came in from the pen and gave up a sac fly and a 3-run homer to give the Gamecocks their first lead of the game, 8-7. It would get worse in the 8th when Dill hit a batter followed by a double and another HR to make it 11-7 headed to the 9th.
The Tigers didn't go down without swinging, though. With one out, Wright walked and Cannarella doubled, and with 2 outs, Taylor singled to make the score 11-9. Fairey drew a full-count walk to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in Abrams, who was making his first career start and homered on Friday night, but he grounded out to end the game.
The loss evened the series and snapped the Tigers' 5-game win streak over the Gamecocks, their longest since 1995-96. The series will be decided in the rubber match at 1:30 in Columbia on Sunday. Bakich told us after the game that he hadn't decided on a starting pitcher for Sunday. Caden Grice was ejected in the 9th for arguing a called third strike after he did the same on a low third strike call in the 1st. Bakich did not know if Grice will be eligible to play on Sunday as a result, hinting that Grice was under consideration to pitch. Grice has yet to pitch this season, and Bakich confirmed to me that Grice was a candidate to start on the mound Sunday if he's eligible to play.
Our post-game interviews with Bakich and Fairey are below!
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