Fifteenth-ranked South Carolina belted out 14 hits with sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt pitching seven scoreless frames and allowing just one hit as the Gamecocks defeated Penn State 7-1 at Founders Park on Friday afternoon.
Schmidt’s stint was the longest of his career and he tied a career-high with eight strikeouts to secure the victory. He is 2-0 on the year. Junior right-hander Colie Bowers closed out the game with six strikeouts in two innings of relief. Penn State’s starter, Taylor Lehman, suffered the loss and is now 0-2 on the year. He allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings of work.
John Jones put the Gamecocks on the board in the bottom of the first inning with a two-out homer to left field to give Carolina a 1-0 lead.
The Gamecocks increased the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the second. With LT Tolbert on second following a leadoff walk and wild pitch, Chris Cullen brought Tolbert home with a double to left field. Marcus Mooney followed with a bunt for a base hit. On the play, Penn State second baseman Christian Helsel’s shovel throw went past the first baseman allowing Cullen to score. Jones would drive in his second run of the game with a two-out single to score Mooney.
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Clark Scolamiero and TJ Hopkins both singled to start the bottom of the sixth and Dom Thompson-Williams drove Scolamiero in with a double down the right field line. Jones then drove in two more runs with a bloop single to make it 7-0. The Nittany Lions scored their lone run with two outs in the top of the ninth on a solo home run by Jim Haley.
A three-run second inning gave the Gamecocks a four-run cushion.
All nine Gamecocks in the starting lineup reached base at least once and tallied at least one hit. Seven of the nine scored runs also.
John Jones recorded a career-high four RBI and leads the team with 13 on the year. Jones went 4-for-4 on the day with a home run, three singles and a walk.
Clarke Schmidt set a career-long outing of seven innings and tied his career-high of eight strikeouts.
Jonah Bride was hit by a pitch and has been hit a team-high seven times on the year.
Dom Thompson-Williams was 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored and Marcus Mooney finished 2-for-3 with a run scored as well.
Head coach Chad Holbrook: “It was obviously a good win for us. I thought the pitcher from Penn State had a really good arm, maybe a little bit more than what we thought from the scouting report. Our guys battled him pretty well. (John) Jones got us off to a good start in the first inning. Then we put three more across there in the second and felt pretty good about the game at that point. Clarke Schmidt was outstanding. He had a very efficient seven innings, 81 pitches and he struck out eight. He was very polished with his command for the most part. He was in control of the game from the beginning. When he throws the ball the way that he is capable, he’s tough to handle. It was great to see him throw the ball that way tonight. I was proud of Colie (Bowers) for coming in and getting six strikeouts in two innings. His changeup is a very good pitch. He threw the ball well. Obviously (John) Jones stood out, going 4-for-4 with four RBI, but some of our other guys had some good at-bats too. We’ll take it, and we look forward to coming to compete at the park tomorrow.”
The Gamecocks and Nittany Lions return to Founders Park for Game 2 of the three-game series at 2 p.m. Saturday. 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 6, James Madison 1
Behind three home runs — including two by Chase Pinder — and Charlie Barnes’ strong performance on the mound, Clemson defeated James Madison. The Tigers, who took a 1-0 lead in the series, improved to 3-1 on the season, while the Dukes fell to 2-3.
Chris Okey gave Clemson a 1-0 lead with a homer to center, his first long ball of the year, in the second inning. Pinder’s first homer of the game was a solo shot in the fifth inning, then he belted a three-run homer down the left-field line on an 0-2 pitch in the sixth inning to give Clemson a 6-1 lead. Pinder became the first Tiger with three homers in the team’s first four games of a season since Wilson Boyd in 2008.
Sophomore lefthander Charlie Barnes (1-0) tossed six strong innings to earn the win. He gave up just two hits, one run and three walks with seven strikeouts. Alex Eubanks pitched the final three innings to record his first save as a Tiger. Duke starter Aaron Hoover (1-1) suffered the loss, as he yielded three runs on four hits in four innings pitched.
The Tigers and Dukes will play Game 2 of the three-game series at 2 p.m. Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Live video is available for free on TigerCast at ClemsonTigers.com.
USC Beaufort 2, Ave Maria 0
The USCB baseball team continued its hot start, beating Ave Maria in the opener of the three-game Sun Conference series at Bowie's Ballpark.
John Gora pitched eight strong innings and Kal Davis and Josh Reinhart each drove in a run as the Sand Sharks improved to 12-2 overall and 6-1 in Sun Conference play.
Gora (3-0), the reigning Sun Conference Pitcher of the Week, struck out four and walked one in eight scoreless innings, allowing five hits. He gave up a leadoff single in the ninth before Forrest Kirsch came on to get a double play ball and a flyout to nail down his second save.
The Sand Sharks grabbed an early lead in the first inning, when Thomas Estopare singled with two outs, stole second, and scored on Davis’ bouncer up the middle. USCB added to the lead in the fourth, as Nick Payne doubled with one out and scored on Reinhart’s two-out single.