Gamecocks Tame Tigers Again

South Carolina hit three 2-run homers, Michael Roth pitched 7 innings without giving up an earned run and Matt Price earned the save as the Gamecocks (8-0) continued their recent run of success against Clemson (6-2) and defeated the Tigers 6-3 in front of a capacity crowd of 8,242 at Carolina Stadium Saturday night.

"It was a great college baseball game," head coach Ray Tanner said. "I'm really proud of our team, it was a great win for us. Especially after getting in the hole three runs and being able to battling back. It was a nice outing by our pitching staff."

Roth, pitching against Clemson for the first time since his historic victory over the Tigers in last season's College World Series, had much of the same success Friday night.

"He has tremendous composure and he will battle," Tanner said. "He can make some pitches as well. You always feel like you have a chance with him on the mound. He's going to do us best to give our team a chance to win. I was extremely proud of his effort tonight."

Though he put the first batter on in several innings and the Tigers had a big second inning, Roth (3-0) controlled the game for most of his seven innings pitched. He sprayed 7 hits and walked three but also struck out six and all three Clemson runs were unearned.

Early in the game it looked like Clemson was poised to stop the recent run of dominance by South Carolina athletic teams. A leadoff walk followed by an error to start the second inning set the bases for the Tigers to go up 3-0 on a Phil Pohl 2-RBI double followed by a Jason Stolz RBI single.

"On the baseball field you have to have a short memory," Roth said. "Once you come in the dugout, you can go through what you did, but you have to forget about it."

And a crowd that was electric all night was not quiet for long.

After Christian Walker was hit-by-pitch to start the inning, Brady Thomas battled back after falling behind in the count and belted a no-doubter that appeared to disappear into the night sky over the right field wall to cut the score to 3-2 Clemson.

"When they had the three-run lead with Weismann out there, who has been pretty good against us, it wasn't very encouraging," Tanner said. "Brady got us back in it with one swing of the bat."

The score remained the same until the fifth when the Tigers threatened to extend the lead after Pohl led off the inning with his second double of the game. But he would only get as far as third base as Roth got Jeff Schaus to pop out to center field to end the inning.

That would prove to be costly.

Clemson starting pitcher Scott Weismann (L, 2-1), who gave up just 3 hits in the first four innings, gave up a line drive base hit to Evan Marzilli to start the bottom half of the inning. Two batters and two outs later, Walker crushed an inside fastball over the left field wall as the Gamecocks took a 4-3 lead.

"My first at-bat I saw three or four fastballs inside and obviously one hit me on the wrist," Walker said. "My second at-bat, the first pitch, he busted me in again and I just kind of had a feeling he was going to try to do it one more time. I opened up my hips a little early and caught it."

That would be enough for Carolina, but the win still wouldn't come easy.

Clemson threatened again in the sixth and with runners at second and third and two outs, South Carolina elected to walk Pohl to load the bases rather than allow him to hurt them again. With two pitchers warming in the pen Tanner chose to stick with Roth and was rewarded for that decision when he struck out Stolz to end the inning and leave the runners stranded.

Clemson again led off the next inning with a hit but a line out and 3-6-1 double play ended it with relatively little threat.

Roth gave way to John Taylor to start the eighth who hit the first batter he faced. Carolina then went to Bryan Harper who did his job and struck out John Hinson.

South Carolina didn't play around with the final five outs needed and went to its All-American closer Matt Price. Price wasted little time in inducing a double play ball to end the inning.

Scott Wingo gave Carolina insurance in the eighth with a two-run home run to right before Price struck out the side in the ninth to give the Gamecocks their third win in a row over Clemson.

"It's a great start; we're not finished by any means," Roth said. "It is great momentum going into tomorrow."

Game two between the two teams takes place Saturday in Greenville at Flour Field with first pitch scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Tyler Webb will take the mound for Carolina. The game will be available on TV on WACH Fox in Columbia and on the web on ESPN3.com.

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