For the first time since 2014, the Clemson Tigers baseball team has lost its annual series with the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The series started in Clemson on Friday evening. There were concerns that the game would be postponed due to rain in Clemson, but the skies cleared and the game was played.
The Tigers had their regular Friday starter, right-handed pitcher Brooks Crawford, on the mound for Friday’s home contest. The Tigers put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning on a home run from first baseman Grayson Byrd.
In the second inning, the Gamecocks hit two home runs to plate five runs. Gamecocks’ right fielder Andrew Eyster hit a two-run home run. With two outs and two runners on, Crawford gave up a three-run homer to Gamecocks’ center fielder TJ Hopkins. These are the only runs South Carolina would score in the game.
Clemson managed to score a run in the third and fourth innings, the first of these came on a Michael Green single that scored freshman utility player Davis Sharpe. The fourth run of the night for the Tigers came on a deep sacrifice fly to left field hit by Sam Hall.
Mat Clark came into the game to pitch for the Tigers in the third inning. The lefty went 4 ⅓ innings and allowed just two hits in the game. However, Clark’s outstanding performance was not enough for the Tigers to overtake the Gamecocks, and they lost game one of the series 5-4.
Game two was played on Saturday at Fluor Field in Greenville and the Tigers were looking for redemption.
The Tigers tied the game up in the top of the second, when they scored two runs on one hit and an error given up by the Gamecocks. The Tigers added another two runs in the top of the third inning. Grayson Byrd hit an RBI double and pitcher Davis Sharpe score Byrd on an RBI single.
The three runs in the Tigers fourth inning came from a two-run home run by Sam Hall and a RBI single by catcher Kyle Wilkie. The Tigers would plate four more runs in the game on their way to an 11-5 win.
The series rubber match started at noon on Sunday in Columbia. The Tigers started the game off hot, with Sam Hall reaching on a single and Kyle Wilkie scoring him three batters later on a RBI double. It was all downhill from there.
The starting pitching woes would continue for the Tigers. Freshman Justin Wrobleski allowed five runs on five hits and pitched only one-third of an inning. The pitching woes would continue in the fourth inning when the Tigers gave up another five runs. The Tigers’ pitching staff gave up 14 runs on 17 in the game. Clemson used six different pitchers over the course of the game. The Gamecocks cruised to a 14-3 win.
South Carolina outscored the Tigers 24-18 during the series.
The series continued a trend of Tigers starting pitchers finding themselves in tough spots early in the game. The bullpen, especially in game one, is as good as its been all year. The Tigers were not able to plate enough runs to compensate for the runs the starting pitching gave up.
The Tigers’ next game is Tuesday, March 5 at Fluor Field in Greenville. They are playing the Furman Paladins. The Tigers open ACC play Friday, March 8 when they host the North Carolina Tar Heels at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.