Clemson right-hander Clate Schmidt pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings and combined with left-hander Pat Krall for a two-hit shutout as the Tigers defeated 13th ranked South Carolina 5-0 on Saturday afternoon at Fluor Field in the Reedy River Rivalry contest. The Gamecocks dropped their first game of the season and fell to 10-1, while Clemson improved to 7-2.
Schmidt (3-0), the brother of Gamecock right-hander Clarke Schmidt — who earned the win in the series opener on Friday — was effective and did not allow a hit until the sixth inning. He struck out six and walked four to earn the win. Krall pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out four to earn his first save. Gamecock right-hander Braden Webb (2-1) took the loss. He allowed four runs — two earned — on four hits with a career-high seven strikeouts and five walks in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Clemson went ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. A double by Reed Rohlman and walks to Eli White and Weston Wilson loaded the bases with two outs. After working the count full, Tigers’ catcher Chris Okey drew a walk to score the first run. The Tigers tagged on an unearned run in the second to take a 2-0 lead. A two-run triple by Okey gave Clemson a four-run lead in the fifth inning.
Carolina threatened with one out in the sixth inning, loading the bases as Dom Thompson-Williams walked, Jonah Bride doubled and John Jones walked. But Krall entered for Schmidt and kept the Gamecocks at bay, as he struck out Alex Destino and Chris Cullen. Clemson scored once more in the sixth inning on a solo homer by Chase Pinder.
The series will conclude at 2 p.m. Sunday at Clemson’s Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The contest can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” It will also be streamed live on ESPN3.
LATE FRIDAY South Carolina 8, Clemson 1
Clarke Schmidt got the ball rolling with his stellar start for South Carolina. Schmidt, the Gamecocks sophomore right-hander, handcuffed his brother Clate’s Tiger team on five hits over eight innings of scoreless ball. Alex Destino went 5-for-5 with four RBIs in South Carolina’s victory.
Schmidt said he was eager to show older brother Clate what he could do. Clate Schmidt fought nodular sclerosis, a form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, last summer and announced in August he was cancer free.
“It makes that win much more sweeter when you’re facing your brother and you grow up being so competitive,” South Carolina’s Schmidt said. “When you get a win like this one, there’s no better feeling.”
Clarke Schmidt finished with a career high nine strikeouts in eight innings of work, his longest college outing, and improved to 3-0. He set the tone early in the first inning: After Clemson’s first two hitters reached base, Schmidt struck out the heart of the lineup in Reed Rohlman, Chris Okey and Seth Beer — all swinging and missing at strike three.
“Clarke really bowed his neck there and got us out of that inning,” South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook said. “After that, he kind of settled down.”
Still, the Gamecocks (10-0) led just 1-0 heading into the fifth. But they sent 10 men to the plate in a five-run inning to break things open, helped by three Clemson errors including a catcher’s interference call on Okey.
The Tigers (6-2) could not respond, spoiling the rivalry return of first-year Clemson coach Monte Lee — a Gamecocks assistant from 2003-08.
“That fifth inning, we made a couple of mistakes and they made us pay — which good teams do,” Lee said.
The Gamecocks have won seven of the past 10 games with the Tigers, whose lone run came on Beer’s home run in the ninth off reliever Reed Scott.
Lee said he thought his players got frustrated after some early mistakes in the fifth led to runs. The Tigers, he thought, had the chance to minimize South Carolina’s scoring, but could not get their focus back. “We can’t let the frustration of being down a couple of runs affect us,” the coach said.
USC Beaufort 4, Florida Memorial 1
USCB ran its winning streak to seven games and continued the best start in program history with a victory over visiting Florida Memorial at Richard Gray Sports Complex.
The Sand Sharks (17-2, 9-1) padded their lead atop the Sun Conference standings by claiming the opener of the three-game league series.
John Gora (4-0) turned in another strong outing on the mound to earn the win, and Blake Drew pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save of the season and the 12th of his career, moving ahead of Kyle McCullough as USCB’s all-time leader.
Gora repeatedly worked out of jams, allowing one unearned run and nine hits over seven innings to lower his season ERA to 0.25. The senior left-hander struck out three and walked two.
Leadoff man Matt Kianka went 3-for-4 with an RBI, Kal Davis was 2-for-2 with an RBI, and Nick Payne drove in two runs to lead the offense.
Davis opened the scoring with an RBI single in the third, and the Sand Sharks added another run on Kianka’s RBI single an inning later.
The Lions (4-12, 1-3) broke through in the fifth with the help of a USCB error, but Payne’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning made it 3-1 and the junior catcher added an RBI double down the left-field line in the seventh to plate an insurance run.