After waiting a little over 2 hours for the game to start due to poor weather conditions, the Clemson Tigers took care of a little business Saturday evening in Columbia.
In what is becoming one of the top rivalries in college baseball, the Tigers took control early, and then held off the Gamecocks late to win the first game of a two game series, 9-7.
Tigers' ace Steve Reba pitched beautifully, showing solid control when necessary as he took a a no-hitter into the 5th inning. And when he was brilliant, he was lucky, as he got away with a couple of breaking balls that hung in the strike zone. He was eventually relieved after giving up 3 hits, 4 walks, and 3 unearned runs through 5 innings.
"Steve Reba gave us everything he had there for the first five innings," Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett said. "He was up around 85 pitches, and he wasn't as sharp as normal, but he has a way of battling his way through it."
Clemson opened the scoring with an unearned run in the top of the 2nd inning. All-American Jeff Baker led the inning off with a single, and he would later score on an errant throw into left field while stealing third base.
The real action however would begin in the top of the 4th. Clemson would plate five runners in the inning thanks in part to some timely hitting and and several costly errors by the Gamecocks. Kyle Frank led the inning off by being hit by a pitch, and then Khalil Greene promptly homered to left to put the Tigers ahead 3-0. A walk, a double, and two errors later, the Tigers took a comanding 6-0 lead.
South Carolina rallied in the bottom of the 6th with 5 runs of their own as the Gamecocks roughed up Tiger reliever Jeff Hahn. Hahn would allow 3 earned runs on 3 hits while failing to record an out.
Clemson responded with 2 big insurance runs in the top of the 7th inning. This time it was 1st baseman Michael Johnson providing the power. Johnson homered to right field to help put the Gamecocks back at a comfortable distance.
‘‘Michael Johnson's hit distanced us a little bit. It was real big,'' Leggett said.
Yaron Peters hit his third home run of the season to account for the final Gamecock run in the seventh inning. However, South Carolina would threaten again in the ninth by putting the tying runners in scoring position with two outs, but C Landon Powell popped out to Khalil Greene to end the game.
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.
With the win, the third ranked Tigers improve to 5-0 on the season, while the forth ranked South Carolina Gamecocks fall to 9-1. The same two teams will face off Sunday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
|David Slevin 2b||5||0||0||0||0||1||2||7|
|Kyle Frank lf/cf||4||2||1||0||0||0||2||0|
|Khalil Greene ss||5||1||2||2||0||1||2||4|
|Jeff Baker 3b||3||3||1||0||2||0||1||2|
|Michael Johnson 1b||2||1||1||2||1||1||13||0|
|Jarrod Schmidt rf||3||1||1||2||1||1||0||0|
|Jeff Hourigan dh||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Zane Green dh||2||0||1||0||0||1||0||0|
|Steve Pyzik c||5||1||1||0||0||1||5||1|
|Chad Coder cf||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|L.J. DeMaino ph/lf||2||0||1||2||1||0||1||0|
|Steve Reba p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jeff Hahn p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tyler Lumsden p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Paul Harrelson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|E - JOHNSON. DP - Clemson 2. LOB - Clemson 8. 2B - SCHMIDT; PYZIK. HR - GREENE; JOHNSON. HBP - FRANK; JOHNSON. SH - JOHNSON; SCHMIDT. SB - BAKER; DEMAINO.|
|HB - REBA 3.|