In a game featuring two heavyweight college baseball teams, the Clemson Tigers once again prevailed over arch-rival South Carolina. Michael Johnson hit two homeruns, and Khalil Greene doubled home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead the Tigers past the Gamecocks 11-10 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The game itself was intense, almost like a super-regional, as drama seemed to follow every pitch. The climax came in the top of the ninth when Clemson left fielder Kyle Frank dropped a pop fly as he floated toward the foul line with 2 outs. Two Gamecock runners would score to tie the game at 10, when the game could have ended right there with the Tigers winning 10-8.
Greene would then add some drama of his own as he came through in the clutch in the bottom half of the 10th inning. Khalil delivered a double off Gamecock reliever Matt Campbell after Frank drew a two-out walk. South Carolina center fielder Jon Coutlangus misjudged the ball, which allowed Frank to score all the way from 1st base, and the Tigers won the game.
"It was a great game with a lot of ups and downs," said Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett.
Clemson once again got off to an early start Sunday afternoon, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning off a Jeff Baker RBI single.
The Tigers would increase the lead to 5 in the bottom of the 2nd, pounding out 5 hits and 4 runs in the inning to take a commanding lead. It would be short lived however, as Gamecock 1B Yaron Peters drilled a 3-run homer to left field to tie the game in the top of the 5th inning. Clemson starter Matt Henrie left the game after giving up 5 earned runs and 8 hits through 4 and 2/3 innings.
Clemson's Michael Johnson would answer with a two run shot of his own in the bottom half of the fifth. It was Johnson's second two-run homerun of the series, and it couldn't have come at a better time, as the Tigers took a 7-5 lead into the latter half of the ball game.
Carolina wasn't finished just yet though, as the Gamecocks put a run up in the 6th, and two more up in the 7th to take a one run lead heading into the bottom half of the 7th inning.
And just when it looked like the Tigers might falter, in stepped Michael Johnson. Johnson calmly delivered a 2-run blast over the centerfield wall with two outs in the 7th to give the Tigers the lead right back at 9-8.
Johnson finished the day with 3 hits, 4 RBI, and 2 runs scored, while Khalil Greene went 4-for-4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI.
Clemson would then add what proved to be a big insurance run in the 8th inning by scoring on a wild pitch from Gamecock reliever Chris Hernandez. After South Carolina tied the game in a wild ninth inning, the Gamecocks would escape the bottom half of the inning by getting out of a bases-loaded, 1-out jam.
Jarrod Schmidt, recovering after struggling with his control in the 9th, pitched a strong 10th inning to pick up the win. He is now 2-0 on the season.
With the win, the third ranked Tigers remain perfect on the season at 6-0, while the 4th ranked Gamecocks fall to 9-2. Clemson will next battle the College of Charleston Wednesday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The Tigers have looked strong in their opening 6 games of the season, as the offense has become much more aggressive, and the pitching staff and defense has been solid all the way around. Jeff Baker, Khalil Greene, and Michael Johnson provide a formidable offensive punch that no team can pitch around, and that should continue to provide dividends as the Tigers look forward to ACC play later in March.
|L.J. DeMaino lf||2||0||0||1||0||1||2||0|
|Chad Coder ph/cf||3||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|Kyle Frank cf/lf||5||2||1||1||0||0||4||0|
|Khalil Greene ss||4||2||4||2||2||0||1||1|
|Jeff Baker 3b||4||1||1||1||1||0||2||1|
|Michael Johnson 1b||5||2||3||4||0||2||7||1|
|Jarrod Schmidt rf/p||4||1||1||0||1||1||1||0|
|David Slevin 2b||5||2||2||0||0||1||3||2|
|Zane Green dh||2||1||1||1||0||1||0||0|
|Russell Triplett dh||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ryan Hub rf||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Steve Pyzik c||4||0||0||0||1||0||6||1|
|Matt Henrie p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Patrick Hogan p||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Thomas Boozer p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Jeff Hourigan p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|E - GREENE. LOB - Clemson 7. 2B - FRANK; GREENE 3; JOHNSON. HR - JOHNSON 2. HBP - FRANK. SH - TRIPLETT. SF - DEMAINO. SB - GREENE; BAKER.|
|WP - SCHMIDT. BK - HENRIE. PB - PYZIK.|