After Clemson stranded two runners on base in the top of the first inning, South Carolina responded with two runs in the bottom of the first inning after the first two batters were retired. Neil Giesler grounded an 0-2 fastball down the third-base line for a single, then Robbie Grinestaff hit a two-run homer to centerfield, his fifth of the season. It was also the first allowed by the Tigers all season.
Clemson evened the score in the top of the third inning on a two-run single through the right side by Tyler Colvin. Brad Chalk walked and Taylor Harbin doubled to set up Colvin's run-scoring hit.
The Gamecocks threatened to take the lead back in the bottom of the third, but Berken worked out of a bases-loaded jam. Cheyne Hurst led off with a double just inside the right-field line and Michael Campbell walked. Giesler moved each runner up on a sacrifice bunt and Grinestaff walked to load the bases. Berken fanned Justin Smoak for out #2, then Reese Havens hit a line drive to left-center, but Chalk made a running catch to save at least two runs.
In the fourth inning, the Gamecocks took the lead without the benefit of a hard-hit ball. Chris Brown bounced a double over Demmink at third base and Mark Stanley walked. Catcher Trent Kline tried to move the runners up on a sacrifice bunt and did just that, while Berken's throw to first was errant, allowing Kline to reach (ruled a single). Brown scored and Stanley advanced to third on the error as well. Hurst followed with a sacrifice fly to right, plating Stanley, and Campbell walked. After Giesler advanced Kline to third on a flyout to center, Kline scored on a passed ball by Adrian Casanova, the first allowed by Clemson in 2006.
South Carolina added to its lead in the sixth inning. Stanley led off with a double in the gap in right-center, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kline, and scored on Hurst's sacrifice fly to shallow left-center.
In the eighth inning, Chris Brown led off with a single to center. Then with one out, Brown stole second as Casanova attempted to come up throwing. But he never got rid of the ball. The Tiger starting catcher was ejected a few moments later for arguing with home plate umpire Tony Walsh. The Tigers got out of the inning without further damage when Kline lined into a double play.
Clemson outhit the Gamecocks 8-7, but only one of the Tigers' eight hits drove in runs. Harbin had a game-high three hits, including a two-bagger. Brown led South Carolina with two hits, including a double. Clemson left nine runners on base.
The Tigers will play the second of four games against South Carolina on Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM.
No. 1 Clemson Falls to South Carolina
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