Tigers Avoid Season Sweep with 14-5 Win

The Clemson Tigers prevented the four game season sweep by defeating South Carolina 14-5 on Wednesday night in Clemson. The Gamecocks were looking for their first sweep of the Tigers since 2000 when they swept Clemson 2-0.

D.J Mitchell was the winning pitcher for the Tigers, going six innings while only giving up one run off four hits and striking out six. Mitchell kept the Gamecocks off balance all night, mixing up his fastballs with a good changeup and a slider. Blake Cooper took the loss for the Gamecocks.

After giving up two runs in the first inning, Cooper then pitched three solid innings before being relieved. He allowed five hits while striking out four but was pulled after throwing 73 pitches in four innings.

"We've got to have him available on Sunday," Tanner said. "I wanted to leave him out there, but we've got to him have him available for the Alabama series. He's a probable starter on Sunday."

Justin Smoak's twenty-three game hitting streak, which began back on March 18th against LSU, came to an end on Wednesday. Smoak says now he can just focus on playing one game at a time.

"We've just got to focus on Alabama now." Smoak said. "We came here tonight and played a great Clemson ball club. They just got the best of us tonight."

The Tigers were more aggressive at the plate and seemed to settle into their lineup. Clemson had 16 hits on the evening and broke the game open with a four run fifth inning. After scoring two in the first, Clemson really got it going when LF Wilson Boyd hit a line drive into right center and RF Harley Lail took a bad angle on the ball. Wilson's triple off of Alex Farrato scored two, to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead.

Clemson scored again off a wild pitch from Farrato. Kline had a chance to throw Boyd out at the plate, but he over threw Farrato. The Tigers plated another run when Marquez Smith singled to right off of pitcher Craig Thomas to score Andy D'Alessio.

"They've been swinging a lot better lately, and with their pitching staff, if they score runs, they're going to win." Tanner said.

USC answered with two runs in the 7th when Lail reached on an error, scoring Andrew Crisp. Lail later scored when Jones singled up the middle. Clemson, however, answered with seven runs in the bottom of the 7th. After Jones dropped a fly ball and Havens threw a double play ball in the dirt, Clemson DH Ben Paulsen hit a three run home run to right off Craig Thomas, giving the Tigers a 9-3 lead. Sean Wideberg walked in a run, and after another walk by Nick Godwin, a single by Taylor Harbin made it 13-3.

"It's very disappointing not to get the sweep." Smoak said. "You have to give it to Clemson, they're a great ball club. We came into tonight and just didn't get it done."

Travis Jones led the way for the Gamecocks at the plate, going 3-5 with three RBIs, but also struck out twice. Lail had a single and a triple and was the only other player with multiple hits. The Gamecocks had only eight hits as a team on the evening.

Jones provided a little entertainment for the Clemson crowd in the 5th. After taking what he thought was a ball, Jones proceeded to rub a line in the dirt with his bat just off the outside corner of the plate. The umpire then gave Jones a talking to and called him out on the next pitch, even though the ball looked up and in.

The Gamecocks hope to get back on track quickly and will look to do so against Alabama this weekend. Harris Honeycutt will start on Friday, with Arik Hempy getting the nod on Saturday. Cooper or Mike Cisco will start on Sunday.

NOTE: Justin Smoak received the Tom Price Award as MVP for SC in the series.

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