Gamecocks Complete Domination of Tigers 6-0

The South Carolina Gamecocks (27-10) continued their in-state dominance over the Clemson Tigers (18-19) on the baseball diamond with a 6-0 victory over the Tigers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium Wednesday night. South Carolina also out-hit Clemson 13-3. The win gave the Gamecocks the season sweep over the Tigers.

Senior RHP Nick Godwin (WP, 4-2) continued his weekday magic earning the win, throwing 7.2 shut out-innings, giving up just three hits. Godwin faced just 29 batters, striking out seven. The senior starter was given the Tom Price Award after the game, which is given to the South Carolina MVP of the four contests between the Gamecocks and Tigers each year. Godwin faced the Tigers twice this year picking up two wins with a 0.57 ERA through 15.2 innings on the mound. Godwin gave up just seven hits and one run to Clemson all year, as the Tigers batted just .132 against him. Godwin also had an unreal 15 strikeouts against the Tigers this year. USC head coach Ray Tanner was ecstatic with Godwin's performance tonight and throughout the season.

"Nick Godwin, you can't say enough about him," Tanner said. "He's pitched two games against them, and I didn't feel that good about matching up again. But he makes pitches. He's been able to locate his fastball, sliders, change-up. He's been exceptional, so I'm very proud of the effort he gave us (and) has given us all year. Statistically, he's been our best pitcher." The Gamecock bats gave Godwin plenty of run support as a five-run, five-hit fourth inning was plenty for Godwin to leave with the win and the sweep.

After catcher Kyle Enders started off the inning with a ground out to second base, Justin Hopper and Scott Wingo hit back-to-back solo home runs, to put the Gamecocks up 3-0. Hopper's home run was the first of his young career. The two blasts marked the second time in as many weeks the Gamecocks hit back-to-back jacks.

The Gamecocks were not done yet, as Reese Havens and Whit Merrifield followed that with back-to-back doubles, scoring another and putting the Yardcocks up by four. James Darnell then followed a Justin Smoak fly out with the third double of the inning, giving the third baseman his second RBI of the night.

USC notched their first run of the day in the previous inning when a Darnell sacrifice fly to center scored Merrifield, who singled to open the inning. Smoak set up the score with a single that moved Merrifield from first to third.

Havens and Merrifield led the Gamecocks with three hits a piece, while Hopper and Darnell added two of their own, as the Gamecocks' eighth, ninth, first, and second hitters combined to go nine-for-16 with three RBI and two home runs.

"It was awfully surprising for me to see Hopper and Wingo go out of the yard," said Tanner. "I guess it was Hopper's first home run and Wingo's second. When you get a couple of guys like that to hit balls out of the park you say, ‘Hey, maybe we'll have something going here tonight.'"

Wingo also had an impressive night in the field with seven assists, the most for a Gamecock player this season, and four putouts.

Justin Sarratt (LP, 1-2) made his first career start on the mound for the Tigers and lasted just 3.1 innings, giving up nine hits and five earned runs. Former Gamecock Trey Delk came on in relief for Sarratt and pitched 5.2 innings without giving up an earned run.

Wilson Boyd was given the Bob Bradley Award which is given to the Clemson MVP during the South Carolina-Clemson series. Bradley hit .375, leading the Tigers with six hits during the four games.

The Gamecocks' big three, Havens, Smoak and Darnell, combined for 22 hits (three short of the entire Clemson team), five home runs, and 17 RBI. Smoak collected eight hits against the Tigers, hitting two home runs with a .444 batting average. Havens had eight hits as well and led both teams with a .500 average. Darnell led each team with eight RBI, collecting six hits and two home runs.

The Gamecocks dominated the Tigers in every way possible, finishing with a .333 batting average to Clemson's .194 during the series. The Gamecocks scored 28 runs to the Tigers' three, hit eight home runs to the Tigers' one, and collected 23 more hits than the Tigers. South Carolina pitchers combined for a 0.50 ERA, while Clemson pitchers gave up 20 earned runs for a 5.29 ERA.

USC has now won seven of the last eight against their in-state rival, and the season sweep was the first for either team since 1985. The sweep was also the first for either team since they went to the current four-game format in 2001. The loss was Clemson's 11th straight, the longest losing streak in the ACC, as the Tigers' win percentage dipped below .500.

"I can't even fathom that," Tanner responded to the stat. "By the same token, I wouldn't be surprised if they win 12 in a row either. They haven't been blown out. They might have had a tough game here and there. It's one run here, an untimely hit, but they've been in just about every game, including tonight."

The Gamecocks have been on the other end of a streak, as tonight's win was their seventh in a row. USC will now turn its attention back to SEC play, as the red-hot Ole Miss Rebels head to Columbia, having won nine of their last eleven. The first game of the three-game series will take place on Friday night at Sarge Frye Field at 6 PM.

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