1 Homer 2 Homer 3 Homer More! 7-1 USC

Last season many stories were written describing the last season at Sarge Frye field, only to have one more season played at the venerable old ballpark after construction delays on the new park. James Darnell made sure the last Carolina-Clemson game at The Sarge was memorable for Gamecock fans, driving in five runs on two home runs to lead USC to a 7-1 pasting of their arch-rivals.

South Carolina fans have three bench marks for a successful baseball season – did they make it to Omaha? Did they win the SEC? And did they beat Clemson, that tried and true standard for all USC athletic endeavors, but especially so in baseball, where the two clubs are both routinely found ranked among the nation's elite. This season has been a little under an expectation thus far for Carolina and way under expectations for the Tiger faithful, but it is still Carolina-Clemson, above all things. The win gives the Gamecocks three straight victories this season over the Tigers, and wins in six of the last seven games. Carolina is now 22-10 on the year, while the loss drops Clemson to 18-14 on the season.

The Carolina faithful roared their approval again and again as pitcher Nick Godwin got stronger by the inning, throwing orange kryptonite after the first inning when his team mates gave him a lead they would only pad as the game went on. Godwin said, "It was nice. I thought we were going to be in for a ballgame earlier, because I was struggling early, but I settled down and got my groove, and usually once you get in a groove, you can get going for a little while, and it worked out for me tonight."

Godwin limited the Tigers to one run on four hits in eight innings of work. He had a career high eight strikeouts and no walks. The senior right-hander is now 3-2 on the year. SC skipper Ray Tanner said he decided ten days ago that Godwin would start Wednesday night against Clemson. "He's a senior. You want an opportunity for a young man like that. He's done all the right things and just didn't get his chances," Tanner said. "Maybe he should have."

Justin Smoak said of his team mate, "I've been really impressed with Godwin. He's one of the guys that work really hard. He's an older guy, he's a team leader, and it's just really special to see him go out there and give that type performance, because we've got a lot of good players, a lot of good team character on this team, and he's definitely one of them."

Clemson scored first in the top of the first on Doug Hogan's two-out solo homer, but it was the Tigers only score of the game. It was all Carolina after that. In the bottom of the first, Reese Havens walked, Justin Smoak got a base hit, and then Darnell sent the garnet-clad majority of the 5,763 fans in attendance into frenzy with his three run shot over left center to give the Yardcocks a lead they would never surrender. Darnell was a perfect four for four on the night, with five RBIs, and now has 12 home runs on the season.

That lead would increase to 6-1 in the third inning as the Gamecocks would chase Clemson starting pitcher Craig Gullickson. Smoak doubled, and then Darnell sent the Gamecock fans into frenzy with his second homer of the game. Clemson Skipper Jack Leggett had seen enough, and pulled Gullickson after only 2.1 innings. It didn't matter. Phil Disher wanted in on some of this fun, and greeted reliever Casey Harman with a homer of his own; making it the second straight day the Gamecocks had hit back-to-back home runs. Kyle Enders and DeAngelo Mack did it on Tuesday night as well vs. Western Carolina.

Darnell came to South Carolina from California, but he "gets" the rivalry, and has relished the success he has had against the Tigers. "I've been fortunate to do well against Clemson since I've been here, and every single time I've hit a home run or done something, it's a special feeling," he said. "Clemson always has a great team and they always come and give us a really competitive game. Last year they got us in the fourth game, so it's real important for us to go out there and win the next one as well. It's a special series. The fans on both sides are amazing."

Justin Smoak took the first pitch deep over left center to tie the all-time home run record for the Gamecocks in the fifth, tying him with Hank Small with 48 total runs as a Gamecock. The two players separated by a generation wore the same number, and both were 6'3" and 205 when they played in the garnet and black. He said he knew he tied the record when he hit the bomb. "It's a big, big, big honor for me," Smoak said. "I cracked a smile and did a fist pump going around first base and I normally don't do that. I feel honored to be hitting in this line up. You got so many people who can absolutely rake, so it makes you feel good as a hitter."

Junior left-hander Craig Thomas worked the final inning and allowed just one hit while striking out one to close out the game for the Gamecocks.

Leggett was pained talking about his team after the game. "It's still the growing pains. It's still painful," he said. "We just haven't been able to get anything offensively the last 5 or 6 games, and we're just working from behind all the time, and that makes it difficult for a young team to try to battle back, especially when we're not showing the bats very well."

South Carolina returns to the road for SEC action this weekend with a three-game series at Auburn. Saturday's game will available on a tape delay basis on CSS-TV.

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