Recap: Gamecocks blank Clemson in Palmetto Showdown opener
South Carolina squared off with Clemson Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Game 1 of the weekend rivalry series. Clarke Schmidt was on the hill for the Gamecocks. How did the Gamecocks fare?
FINAL: South Carolina 2, Clemson 0
USC (7-3) – 000 002 000 = 2-3-1
CLE (6-3) – 000 000 000 = 0-5-2
WP – Clarke Schmidt (2-0)
LP – Charlie Barnes (0-1)
SV – Tyler Johnson (4)
HR – None
RBI – None
LOB – USC 6, Clemson 11
A – 6,212
Time – 2:57
Gamecock Pitchers: Clarke Schmidt (5.2 IP, 100 pitches), Josh Reagan (2.1 IP, 34 pitches), Tyler Johnson (1.0, 19 pitches)
-- Both pitchers worked out of trouble in the first innings. Clemson starter Charlie Barnes gave up a leadoff single to TJ Hopkins and hit Matt Williams, but fanned Alex Destino and Madison Stokes to escape trouble. In the bottom half of the first, Clarke Schmidt wiggled out of a two-out jam caused by an error and walk. A well-struck liner to center ended the threat.
-- Clemson again got a runner to 2B in the bottom of the second on a leadoff walk and stolen base. But Schmidt struck out the next two batters looking to end the inning and give him three strikeouts in the first two innings.
-- Schmidt got two quick out in the bottom of the 3rd before issuing considering walks. But his fourth strikeout of the night ended the inning.
-- The top of the fourth ended on a weird note when Stokes struck out swinging and was called for batter’s interference on Alex Destino’s attempted steal of second base.
-- In the bottom half, Schmidt allowed 2 walks and a single as Clemson loaded the bases with 1 out. But Schmidt again escaped unscathed as a roller through the box was gobbled up by SS Madison Stokes, who stepped on second and fired to first to complete inning-ended 6-3 DP. Clemson had 7 LOB through 4 innings.
-- Schmidt allowed another leadoff single in the bottom of the 5th, but the third 6-3 DP of the night erased by the runner and Schmidt ended the inning with his fifth K of the night.
-- The Gamecocks benefitted from a pair of Clemson errors to finally break the scoreless deadlock in the top of the sixth. Hopkins led off by reaching on error by the Clemson shortstop. He was sacrificed to second and moved to third on a single to left. After a strikeout, Stokes lofted a short fly into RF towards the line. The Clemson right fielder tried to make a sliding catch but the ball deflected off his glove, allowing both runners to score and give USC a 2-0 lead.
-- The advantage was almost sliced in half in the bottom of the sixth but a long fly ricocheted off the top of the left field wall, falling inches short of a homer. Following the two-out double, LHP Josh Reagan replaced Schmidt and got a 3-1 groundout to end the inning.
-- The Gamecocks had an opportunity to expand its lead in the top of the 8th when they put two runners into scoring position with two outs on a walk, sacrifice bunt, walk and groundout. But Stokes flied to right to end the threat. Reagan gave up a 1-out single in the bottom of the 8th, but a strikeout and FC 6-4 ended the inning. Clemson had 10 LOB going to the 9th.
-- With USC ahead 2-0, Holbrook made the call to fireballer Tyler Johnson to try to close this one out with his fourth save of the young season. Johnson walked a batter with one out, bringing the tying run to the plate. But a P-6 and diving catch in LF ended the game and gave the Gamecocks the Game 1 win.
HOW THE RUNS SCORED:
USC 6th – Hopkins reached on fielding error by shortstop (E6), Bride bunted for sacrifice (1-3), Williams singled to left, Destino struck out looking, Stokes reached on dropped fly by RF (E9)(Williams and Hopkins scored), Cortes struck out swinging. 2 RUNS, 1 HIT (USC 2-0).