Tigers Fall to South Carolina

Aaron Rawl pitched a complete game in leading South Carolina to a 6-4 victory over Clemson Sunday afternoon at Sarge Frye Field. The Gamecocks improved their record to 9-2, while the Tigers fell to 3-3.

The two rivals will face each other again twice more in April. Five of Clemson's six games in 2003 have been against top-20 teams.

Rawl (4-0) picked up the win, stifling the Tiger bats on the afternoon. He allowed four runs on six hits in throwing 135 pitches. Tiger starter Jeff Hahn (1-2) suffered the loss.

The Gamecocks got on the board in the fourth inning. Kevin Melillo led off with a single and went to second on a Bryan Triplett sacrifice bunt. Then Brian Buscher hit what appeared to be a groundout for the second out of the inning, but a balk was called, enabling Melillo to advance to third. It was the first time in 19 innings over three games that an opponent had even reached third base. Buscher then hit a sacrifice fly to plate Melillo.

South Carolina added three more runs in the fifth inning. Michael Campbell, who attended the same high school as Hahn, hit an opposite-field homer off the Tiger starter to leadoff the frame. The Gamecocks added runs on a Melillo sacrifice fly on an 0-2 count and a bases-loaded walk by Buscher.

Clemson had an opportunity to get on the board in the seventh inning. Roberto Valiente led off with a single to left. Three batters later, Collin Mahoney reached on a fielding error by Buscher, advancing Valiente to third. Pinch-hitter Jeff Hourigan then hit what appeared to be a hit to left, but Campbell made a diving catch to thwart the rally.

After South Carolina upped its lead to 5-0 in the seventh inning, Zane Green hit a one-out double off the base of the wall in right center. He had struck out in each of his previous three at bats. Michael Johnson then followed with a towering opposite-field homer to cut the Gamecock lead to 5-2. It was his third long ball of the season, 49th of his career, and eighth in his career against South Carolina. The Tigers were 0-for-9 with runners on base until Johnson's homer.

The Gamecocks added an insurance run in the eighth inning on a leadoff opposite-field homer by Trey McDaniel that just cleared the left-field fence. Later in the inning, Ryan Mahoney, brother of the Tiger catcher, drew a walk in his second plate appearance of the game.

Clemson rallied in the ninth inning. Russell Triplett led off with a line-drive single to left-center and Kyle Frank followed with a homer over the left-center fence, his first of the season.

Clemson will play host to Winthrop Tuesday at 4:00 PM in its next action, the first of six games in six days at home for the Tigers. South Carolina will play host to Gardner-Webb Tuesday at 7:00 PM.

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