Hinson's three homers pace Tigers

John Hinson went 5-for-6 with a school-record-tying three homers and seven RBIs in No. 20 Clemson's 22-4 win over USC Upstate at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday night.

BOX SCORE: Clemson 22 USC Upstate 4

The Tigers improved to 24-14, while the Spartans dropped to 13-30.

Clemson scored 17 runs in the first four innings and never looked back. The Tigers' 18-run margin of victory was their largest since Clemson defeated Wake Forest 26-1 on May 18, 2006.

When Clemson scored seven runs in the second inning and seven runs in the third, it was the first time the Tigers scored at least seven runs in consecutive innings since May 14, 1991, when Clemson scored seven runs in the fourth and eight runs in the fifth in a 24-8 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament at Greenville, SC.

Hinson broke out of an 0-for-14 slump in a big way, as he became the first Tiger to hit three home runs in a game since Kyle Parker hit three long balls in the second game of a doubleheader at Wake Forest on March 9, 2008. Hinson, who was the 13th Tiger in history to hit three homers in a game, also set career highs for hits and RBIs. The seven RBIs were the most by a Tiger in 2010 and the five hits were the most by a Tiger since 2008.

David Haselden (4-3), the first of eight Tigers who toed the rubber on Wednesday, earned the win. He tossed 2.0 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. The eight Tiger hurlers combined for 10 strikeouts against only one walk.

Philip Brannon (2-7), the first of nine Spartan pitchers, suffered the loss, as he yielded a run and three hits in 1.0 innings pitched.

Clemson took the game's first lead in the first inning. Chris Epps led off with a flyball double to left-center, went to third on Mike Freeman's groundout to second, and scored on Jeff Schaus' sacrifice fly.

The Tigers added seven runs, all with two outs, on just two hits and two costly Spartan errors in the second inning. Brad Miller led off with a walk. Two batters later, Richie Shaffer walked, but he was erased on Wilson Boyd's fielder's choice for out No. 2. With Epps at the plate, Boyd took off for second. Catcher Jeff Medley's throw to second base sailed into centerfield as Miller broke for home and scored, as Boyd strolled into second. Then with two outs, Epps and Freeman walked to load the bases before Schaus reached on a fielder's choice and Freeman was safe at second on a throwing error by shortstop Brody Greer. Parker followed with an opposite-field grand slam to right-center, his 15th long ball of the season. It was also his 41st career home run, his second career grand slam, and Clemson's sixth grand slam of 2010. Hinson made it back-to-back homers with a solo home run to right field.

In the top of the third inning, the Spartans dented the scoreboard with three runs. Andre Harris led off with with an infield single. After the next two Spartans were retired, Jimmy Tanner walked and Tyler Cook hit a three-run homer to left field on a 1-2 pitch, his third long ball of the season.

John Nester led off the bottom of the third with a single to left to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and advanced to third on Shaffer's single to center. After Boyd loaded the bases with a walk, Epps hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Nester, then Freeman hit an opposite-field, three-run homer to left-center, his fifth long ball of the season. Shaffer scored on Freeman's homer, meaning every Tiger starter scored at least one run in the first three innings. After Schaus doubled to left field and Parker walked, Hinson blasted a three-run homer to right field, his second home run of the game.

In the fourth inning, Boyd hit a one-out single to right, Epps laced a single through the right side, and Freeman walked to load the bases. Schaus then lined a double to center to score Boyd and Epps.

In the sixth inning, Freeman and Addison Johnson walked. With two outs, Hinson belted a three-run homer to center, his third long ball of the game and eighth of the season.

Harris came right back and belted a solo homer to center in the seventh inning, his third home run of the season and the first allowed by Dominic Leone in 2010.

In the eighth inning, Freeman walked for the fourth time in the game,went to third on Schaus' single up the middle, and scored on Johnson's single up the middle. After Hinson singled to center to load the bases, Jason Stolz was hit by an 0-2 pitch to bring home Schaus.

Every starter had at least one hit for Clemson, who totaled 18 hits, including five homers and three doubles. Along with Hinson's career night, Schaus went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs, and three runs and Parker went 2-for-3 with a grand slam and two runs. Epps and Boyd added three runs apiece, while Freeman went 1-for-2 with a homer, three RBIs, four runs, and four of Clemson's 11 walks.

Tanner, Austin Liput, and Harris had two hits apiece for USC Upstate, who had eight hits in the game.

Clemson, who snapped a five-game losing streak on Wednesday, will host North Carolina in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium starting Friday at 6:30 PM.

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