March 7, 2010
Columbia, SC –
Behind five home runs and 14 hits, #9 Clemson trounced #15 South Carolina 19-6 in front of 8,214 fans at Carolina Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It was Clemson’s most runs scored against the Gamecocks since 1962 and the Tigers’ largest margin of victory since 1997. The Tigers, who won the series 2-1, improved to 9-1, while South Carolina fell to 6-4.
The Tigers jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and never looked back, as it scored two runs in the fourth, three in the sixth, and eight combined runs in the final three innings. The Tigers totaled five home runs, including two grand slams. Clemson also walked 11 times, one reason the Gamecocks used eight pitchers in the game.
Chris Epps went 3-for-6 with a grand slam, a career-high five RBIs, and two runs to lead the Tigers. Epps was also given the Bob Bradley Award as Clemson’s MVP of the three-game series against the Gamecocks. He was 7-for-14 with two homers, one double, six RBIs, six runs, two walks, and one steal in three games.
Tiger starter Scott Weismann (2-0) earned the win, as he allowed five hits, three runs (two earned), and two walks with five strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched.
Gamecock starter Tyler Webb (0-1) suffered the loss, as he gave up one hit, four runs, and four walks in 1.1 innings pitched.
The Tigers took advantage of Webb’s control problems to grab the first lead in the top of the second inning. Brad Miller lined out to right field, John Nester walked and Mike Freeman hit his first pitch over the wall in right field for a solo homer, his second long ball of the season. Two batters later, Kyle Parker drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on Wilson Boyd’s bloop single to left field, giving Clemson a 6-0 lead.
The Gamecocks answered with a run in the bottom of the second inning with some help from the Clemson defense. Nick Ebert drew a one-out walk, then Adam Matthews hit a potential double-play grounder, but Miller booted the ball at shortstop and both Gamecocks were safe. Two batters later with two outs, Adrian Morales singled down the left-field line to score Ebert.
Clemson added to its lead in the fourth inning. Epps led off with a single through the right side, moved to second on a balk, and advanced to third on Freeman’s bunt single. Epps scored on Jeff Schaus’ groundout. Later in the inning with two outs, Freeman scored on a wild pitch, upping Clemson’s lead to 8-1.
The Gamecocks cut into the Tiger lead in the fifth inning. Jeffery Jones walked with two outs and Kyle Enders bounced a single through the left side. Ebert then laced a triple off the wall in center to score Jones and Enders.
Clemson came right back and added three runs to its lead in the sixth inning. Freeman led off a single to right-center and Schaus followed with a walk. After the next two Tigers were retired, Shaffer hit a three-run homer to left-center, his first career long ball.
In the seventh inning, pinch-hitter John Hinson lined a one-out single to right-center and Epps walked. After Freeman reached on a fielding error by Ebert at first, Schaus walked with the bases loaded to plate Hinson.
In the top of the eighth inning, Boyd led off with a single to left and went to second on a balk. Two batters later, Boyd advanced to third when Miller reached on an error. Pinch-hitter Will Lamb then plated Boyd on a sacrifice fly to left field. After Hinson singled to left, Epps laced a single up the middle to score Miller.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Christian Walker reached on an error and Morales walked. Scott Wingo followed with a three-run homer to right field, his second long ball of the season.
In the ninth inning, Addison Johnson hit a solo homer to right field, his first long ball of the season. Pinch-hitter Spencer Kieboom and Shaffer walked, then Miller singled to load the bases. Phil Pohl unloaded the bases with an opposite-field grand slam to right field, his first long ball of the season and first career grand slam.
Ebert led the Gamecocks’ 10-hit attack with two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs, while Wingo added a three-run homer. Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 24 games as well.
Jackie Bradley, Jr. received the Tom Price Award as South Carolina’s MVP of the series. Bradley went 6-for-12 with one homer, four RBIs, and three runs in three games.
Clemson will host Gardner-Webb at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday at 4:00 PM.
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