John Jones went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI and Chris Cullen added three hits, including a pair of two-out singles as 17th-ranked South Carolina defeated Albany 6-2 on Saturday afternoon at Founders Park.
Freshman right-hander Braden Webb earned the win for the Gamecocks after going five innings and allowing two runs on one hit with five strikeouts and three walks. Junior left-hander Josh Reagan earned his first career save with 1 2/3 perfect innings of relief. He struck out four batters. Albany starter Marcus Failing suffered the loss. He allowed three runs — two earned — on five hits in five innings of work.
Jones’ solo home run to left field put the Gamecocks on the board in the second inning as he crushed the first pitch he saw from Failing for his first career homer.
South Carolina manufactured a run in the third to take a two-run lead. Cullen led off with a base hit, his first career hit in a Gamecock uniform. With one out and Cullen on third base, Marcus Mooney set down a perfect suicide squeeze to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 advantage.
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Albany tied the game at 2 in the top of the fourth. After a leadoff walk to Karson Canaday, Connor Powers lifted a homer to right field that just cleared the wall.
The Gamecocks regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Cullen connected with a two-out single to left field to score Jonah Bride. It was Cullen’s second hit of the game and first career RBI. Cullen came through again with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as his third single of the day scored Jones, making it 4-2 Gamecocks.
Jones made it 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-out, two-run single. Jones drove a 3-2 pitch up the middle to score both Mooney and Dom Thompson-Williams as the Gamecocks built a four-run cushion.
John Jones’ two run single in the seventh inning extended Carolina’s lead to four runs.
Carolina allowed just two hits to the Great Danes and have allowed just three runs on six hits in the series.
▪ The attendance was 7,825.
▪ Junior right-hander Reed Scott retired all seven batters he faced for 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief.
▪ John Jones is 4-for-6 with four runs and six RBI in the series.
▪ Chris Cullen was 3-for-4 in his first career start with a run and two RBI.
▪ TJ Hopkins recorded his first multi-hit game as a Gamecock going 2-for-4 at the plate.
Head coach Chad Holbrook: “It was a good win for us. I thought we pitched extremely well. Braden got in a little bit of a stretch where he couldn’t locate his off-speed pitches. Connor Powers, I have to give him credit, was hunting a fastball because he couldn’t get his breaking balls over. He put a good swing on it and got Albany those two runs to tie up the game. I like the way our guys responded. We didn’t explode offensively or anything but we competed. We scored in five of our eight innings and had a chance to do a little more damage. All in all, it’s a 6-2 win in which we pitched pretty well, played great defense and had no errors. We found a way to win without Dom (Thompson-Williams) or Alex (Destino) getting a hit. I was pleased with what I saw and we played. We’ll see if we can come out here tomorrow and get the third one.”
South Carolina and Albany will conclude the three-game series at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Founders Park. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”
Clemson 9, Maine 4
Behind five runs in the second inning and four runs in the third inning, Clemson defeated Maine at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson. The Tigers, who evened the series 1-1, improved to the same record on the season, while the Black Bears dropped to 1-1. It also marked Clemson’s first victory in the head coach Monte Lee era.
Clemson sent 10 batters to the plate in a five-run second inning and used two doubles, four walks and a hit-by-pitch to take the lead for good. The Tigers added four runs in the third inning, highlighted by Seth Beer’s two-run single, his first career hit.
In his first appearance since being diagnosed with and recovering from nodular sclerosing Hodgkin’s lymphoma, senior right-hander Clate Schmidt (1-0) earned the win by allowing four runs and one walk with five strikeouts in five innings pitched. Maine starter Chris Murphy (1-1) suffered the loss, as he yielded one hit, four runs and four walks in one inning pitched.
The Tigers and Black Bears will play the finale of the three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Live video is available for free on TigerCast at ClemsonTigers.com.