This weekend was a big one for the Clemson Tigers Baseball Team, and what a weekend it was as Clemson was able to win the annual series with South Carolina as the two teams traveled across the state in hopes of winning the in-state series. Unlike their previous games, Clemson won this series with their offense and will look to take that momentum as they finish up non-conference play and get ready face their daunting ACC schedule later in the month. Clemson (9-2) got their both wins at the home ballparks of each team winning the game on Friday at Founders back and then winning the rubber match on Sunday home at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers will look to take this momentum as they continue down their tough schedule for the rest of the season.
The first game of the series was played in Columbia as the Tigers faced their first true road game of the season playing at Founders Park. The Tigers controlled that game start to finish with a dominating 7-1 win. The game started with what has been a standard for Tigers games this season and that is stellar pitching. Sam Weatherly got the start for the Tigers and he dominated the Gamecock offense. Weatherly, who has truly become the ace of this Tigers pitching staff, went 7.0 innings of no hit ball and 11 strikeouts. He was then relieved by Geoffrey Gilbert in the 8th who unfortunately lost the no hitter to the Gamecock’s Brady Allen in the 9th on a solo home run, which turned out to be the only hit for the Gamecocks in the game.
The Tigers had a barrage of offense in this game lighting up South Carolina starting pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski for six runs through his six innings of work. Three Tigers had multiple RBI’s in the game as Kier Meredith, Davis Sharpe, and Dylan Brewer each had 2 RBI’s for Clemson contributing to the big offensive day for the Tigers. Clemson was also helped by four Gamecock errors as the Tigers used strong performances in all three phases of the game to lead them to the opening game victory.
The second game of the series, which was supposed to be a neutral game, was played at Segra Park in Columbia. Segra Park, which is home to the minor league Columbia Fireflies, is only a seven minute drive from UofSC’s campus giving the Gamecocks practically another home game. This one did not go the Tigers’ way as they fell to the South Carolina 8-5. Davis Sharpe was only able to go 3.1 innings giving up four runs in his third outing of the year. the Clemson bullpen gave up three more runs after putting the Tigers in a hole heading late into the game. Clemson look to rally late in the game as they were able to put up three runs in the last two innings, but it just wasn’t enough as the Gamecocks were able to sneak away with the win.
Clemson saw another strong offensive showing from Davis Sharpe who after having 2 RBI’s in Friday’s game was able to produce three more in the loss on Saturday. Sharpe, who also the pitcher of record in the game, looked to make up for his blunders on the mound, as he attempted to get the Tigers back in the game. Of course, this was just too little too late as the Tigers were not able to recover from the deficit heading late into the game.
So, the series win and the battle for in-state supremacy all came down to a 2:00 battle at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, and it was the Tigers who were able to come back and win the close game. Spencer Strider, the starting pitcher for the Tigers, gave up two early runs in the second, but after that the Tigers were able to keep the Gamecocks at bay for the rest of the game. The Tigers’ pitching staff pitched 6.0 innings of scoreless ball to give Clemson a chance to come back and win the rubber match of this crucial series. It looked like the Tigers’ offense was going to stagnate until an incredible 7th inning.
The Tigers were able to score four runs in the 7th inning alone which was enough for them to get the 5-2 win. James Parker was the hero for the Tigers because after Bryar Hawkins tied the game; Parker ripped a two out, two run double that scored the go ahead runs that would lead to the Tigers eventual win. This was another example of clutch hitting for the Tigers which allowed for them to the game and series win in what was a well fought three game stretch between both teams.
Sam Weatherly received the MVP trophy on the Clemson side after his stellar Friday performance, while Andrew Eyster won the UofSC side of the award. Clemson will now take this impactful series win into the week and look to keep getting better as they will play a one off game against College of Charleston of Wednesday and then their first ACC series as Boston College will come to town with Clemson looking to get its first ACC wins of the season. All games will be played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and tickets can be purchased online or at the ballpark.