Gamecocks blow away #2 Clemson 12-0

It was an ill wind blowing for Tiger fans Saturday afternoon, as the Gamecock hits rode the gusty winds at Clemson for three multi-run homers and a 12-0 rout of the #2 nationally ranked Tigers. Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett said following his team's shutout loss, "They're a good baseball team, and they played the perfect storm today."

The #4 ranked Gamecocks made a statement for an adjustment in the national rankings as they made a mockery of their in-state rival's higher ranking with their shut out win on the Tiger's home field. "It was a great game for us," USC head coach Ray Tanner said. "We did everything right. Coming on the road, playing against a team as good as Clemson, you've got to be at your best. We were almost perfect today. We played as good as we can play."

USC starting pitcher Harris Honeycutt ran his all-time record at USC to a sterling 12-0 that matched the game score. Gamecock fan favorite David Able, acting as my statistician in the press box during the game, pointed out that Honeycutt equaled his all-time strikeout count with seven K's in the game, matching his outing against the Tarheels on May 11 of 2004. Tanner said, "The storyline was really how well Honeycutt pitched. He was pretty impressive. He was really sharp, made some great pitches when he needed to."

Referring to Honeycutt's striking out Clemson batters looking, Tanner said, "I think he just surprised some guys." Honeycutt was relieved after seven innings by Curtis Johnson. He carried a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings, and only allowed 2 hits and no runs for the game. He walked four.

"I felt great out there," Honeycutt said. "I feel great right now. The whole team feels pretty great right now. It's definitely a wonderful win today. I was trying to hit spots, paint the corners, throw my pitch and see what happens." Referring to being given the opportunity to start, Honeycutt said, "I was very excited. It was a wonderful opportunity to come out here at Clemson. Just a great rivalry, and hopefully we got started out on the right foot out here. The defense did really good out there."

Phil Disher and James Darnell had three run homers to opposite fields, and Justin Smoak added a two run homer of his own to add to the damage. Referring to Disher's hit, Leggett said, "I was really surprised that one to right center went out. The wind was really blowing, and he must have hit that ball very well. They put a lot of leadoff men on and put a lot of pressure on us today." Tanner said of Disher's homer, "It really amazed me he was able to hit that ball in a way that it was able to get out (against the wind.)"

Starting Clemson pitcher David Kopp and reliever DJ Mitchell both suffered from the Carolina barrage, with Kopp being held accountable for the first seven runs, and Mitchell giving up the second and third homers. Justin Sarratt came on in the ninth inning to become the third Clemson pitcher of the day.

Honeycutt summed up the win against the Gamecocks' arch-rival. "Every win counts, but it's always good to beat Clemson," he said with a big grin on his face.

An official capacity crowd of 5,617 that was probably in actuality in excess of 7,000 was on hand to watch the battle of Top 5 in-state rivals. The two teams will face each other again in Columbia tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. USC improves their records to 9-1 on the season, while Clemson falls to 8-2.

Offensive Player of the Game: Phil Disher

Disher finished the game 2-5 at the plate with 4 RBI's and 2 runs scored, including a three run home run in the top of the 3rd that stretched USC's lead to 5-0.

Defensive Player of the Game: Harris Honeycutt

Honeycutt pitched 7 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and only 2 hits allowed on the day, as he kept the Clemson hitters off balance with his combination of pitches.

Key Moment: The Gamecocks plated two runs in the top of the first inning thanks to RBI's by Justin Smoak and Phil Disher, and USC never looked back after gaining the early momentum.

Theme Song for the Day: "Against the Wind"

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