On Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium the South Carolina Gamecocks took the first game of a three-game series against the Clemson Tigers, defeating the Tigers 2-0. Both runs were unearned and resulted from costly errors by the Tigers’ defense.
After the game Clemson head coach, Monte Lee, starting pitcher Charlie Barnes, and Chris Williams spoke with the media. Here is what we heard:
“Well I give South Carolina credit. Tight ball game on both sides,” Lee said. “Both sides pitched very, very well. Got to give them credit for taking advantage on a couple of miscues on our part in one inning and basically the one inning where we made a couple of mistakes and a couple of errors cost us two runs.”
Going into the top of the sixth inning still scoreless, Clemson’s shortstop, Logan Davidson bobbled a ball that allowed the leadoff batter, TJ Hopkins to reach base. Later that inning with runners on the corners, right fielder K.J. Bryant dropped a fly ball hit by Madison Stokes that allowed both runs to score.
“It’s unfortunate because I thought Charlie Barnes pitched exceptionally well,” Lee said.
Barnes did pitch a great game going 7.1 innings, only allowing three hits, two walks and striking out seven.
“Pretty much everything was working,” Barnes said after the game. “I tried to come in and attack the zone. My changeup was good. My fastball was good and that’s really the two pitches I used the most.”
When asked what was going through his mind when the fly ball was dropped Barnes responded, “The biggest thing for me was to come back and get the next hitter. We couldn’t let one error turn into five or six runs. That’s kind of what happened to me last year. And so I really tried to avoid that this year. I wanted to come out and make sure I got the next hitter and eliminate any damage.”
Chris Williams also made his first surprise appearance at the plate Friday night after dealing with a hand injury that was supposed to leave him out of the lineup for at least four to six weeks. He went one-for-one with a single in Friday’s game.
“It felt really good,” Williams said about his at-bat. “All this week I’ve been preparing for this moment and like Coach Lee says, I talked to him after practice and I wanted to let him know that I was ready for any opportunity that I could have and getting that opportunity was great and it felt good to be back on the field.”
Although the two unearned runs were the only runs the Gamecocks could get across the plate, the Clemson offense really struggled and could not execute on their own chances.
“You know we had our opportunities,” Lee said. “Four out of the first five innings we had the leadoff guy reach base and we were unable to score. We hit into three double plays. Hit into the big double play in the fourth inning. Thought the fourth inning was our opportunity right there to get Schmidt possibly out of the game.”
Both teams will travel to Flour Field in Greenville, S.C. for the second game of the series today. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.