Tigers pound Gamecocks, 12-2

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The No. 20 Clemson Tigers scored all 12 of their runs and tallied all 11 of their hits in the final four innings to cruise to a 12-2 victory over South Carolina in front of 8,212 fans at Carolina Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Tigers, who finished the four-game regular-season series 2-2 against the Gamecocks, improved to 28-14. The Gamecocks fell to 27-15.

Gamecock starting pitcher Adam Westmoreland retired the first 15 batters of the game. But the Tiger bats awakened in the sixth inning with five runs. The Tigers added three runs in the eighth inning and four runs in the ninth to earn their largest margin of victory over the Gamecocks in Columbia since 1997.

Tiger reliever Matt Vaughn (3-1) earned his second win over the Gamecocks this year. In 3.0 innings pitched, he allowed just two hits, no runs, and one walk with three strikeouts. Freshman Scott Weismann, who was making his first career start, pitched 4.0 superb innings. He yielded only two hits, no runs, and one walk with three strikeouts. Weismann, Vaughn, and Tomas Cruz combined to allow only six hits in the game.

Westmoreland (3-2) suffered the loss despite his impressive showing during the first five innings. He allowed two hits, five runs (one earned), and two walks with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched. Six Gamecock relievers combined to allow nine hits and seven runs in 3.1 innings pitched.

At the plate, John Nester had a game-high three hits and three RBIs. Ben Paulsen went 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs, and three runs, while Kyle Parker went 2-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs, and three runs.

The Tigers finally broke though with five runs in the sixth inning. Brad Miller led off with a walk and Nester followed with a single through the left side. After Addison Johnson moved both runners up a base with a sacrifice bunt, Jeff Schaus lined a 1-2 pitch right at Whit Merrifield. But the centerfielder dropped the ball, as Miller scored on the sacrifice fly, Nester moved to third, and Schaus scampered into second base. Mike Freeman's groundout to short plated Nester, then Paulsen blooped a two-out single to left field to plate Schaus. After Parker walked, Wilson Boyd belted a triple to center on a 1-2 pitch to score Paulsen and Parker.

With one out in the top of the eighth inning, Ben Paulsen blasted a 1-2 breaking ball deep over the fence in right field for a solo homer, his ninth long ball of the season. Parker followed with an infield single and went to second on Boyd's four-pitch walk. After Matt Sanders loaded the bases with another infield single and Miller struck out, Nester blooped a two-out single to right-center to score Parker and Boyd, giving Clemson an 8-0 lead.

The Gamecocks finally dented the scoreboard with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Brady Thomas walked and advanced to second two batters later on Merrifield's two-out, infield single. DeAngelo Mack then belted a 1-2 pitch to right-center for a double to score Thomas and Merrifield.

In the ninth inning, the Tigers added four insurance runs. Schaus led off with a single up the middle. Two batters later, Paulsen walked and Parker followed with a three-run homer to right-center, his 10th long ball of the season. Boyd walked and Miller was hit-by-pitch. Nester then grounded a two-out single through the left side to score Boyd.

Parker received the Bob Bradley Award as Clemson's MVP of the four-game season series against the Gamecocks. In four games, he was 6-for-15 (.400) with two doubles, one homer, seven RBIs, and four runs.

Mack, who led South Carolina at the plate with two hits and two RBIs on Wednesday, received the Tom Price Award as the Gamecock MVP of the four-game season series. He was 6-for-16 (.375) with a double, two homers, and eight RBIs in four games.

Clemson will host #4 Georgia Tech in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium beginning Friday at 6:30 PM.

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