Buckner, Blackwell Strike Out 18 As USC Downs CU

<b>Columbia, S.C.</b> - Billy Buckner and Chad Blackwell combined to tie a school record with 18 strikeouts Saturday and fifth ranked South Carolina scored early to down 18th ranked Clemson 5-2 before 6,307 fans at Sarge Frye Field and improve the Gamecock baseball record to 11-0 ...

Clemson dropped to 4-4.

The scene shifts to Doug Kingsmore Stadium at Clemson at 2 p.m., Sunday for the second of four games scheduled this season between the two in-state rivals. South Carolina's starting pitcher will be junior right-hander Aaron Rawl (3-0). Clemson is expected to go with junior left-hander Tyler Lumsden (0-0).

Buckner allowed three hits, including a two run home run by Travis Storrer, in 7 2/3 innings to notch his third win of the season. Blackwell retired the final four Clemson batters to earn his fifth save. Buckner walked one and struck out 16, including the side in the first, second and seventh innings. Blackwell fanned two.

Buckner took a no hit game into the sixth inning before giving up a two out single to Tony Sipp and Storrer's second home run of the season. The third hit by Clemson came with two outs in the eighth inning at which point Blackwell relieved Buckner. Blackwell struck out Sipp to end that inning` and added one strikeout in the ninth inning.

Blackwell has not allowed a hit or a walk in seven relief appearances. He has 17 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. Buckner has 34 strikeouts in 22 innings.

South Carolina capitalized on the early wildness of Clemson starter Jason Berken (1-1) to score three times in the first inning on just one hit. Berken walked Tommy King and Bryan Triplett to lead off the inning and Steve Pearce doubled over the head of Clemson left fielder Sipp to drive in the first Gamecock run. Triplett scored as Landon Powell grounded out and Pearce scored on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Melillo that Clemson center fielder Garrick Evans dropped for an error.

The Gamecocks added two fifth inning runs. Triplett hit his third home run of the season to stretch his hitting streak to 11 games. Pearce singled and moved to third on a double by Powell. Pearce scored on the second sacrifice fly of the game by Melillo.

Pearce and Davy Gregg had two hits apiece and South Carolina totaled seven hits, just the second time in 11 games that the Gamecocks have not had double digit hits.

The 18 strikeouts by Buckner and Blackwell increased the South Carolina pitching staff total to 138 in 97 innings, an average of 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Gamecock pitchers have walked 15.

South Carolina's team batting average after 11 games is .380. The Gamecocks committed one error Saturday and have made just five errors this season.

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