COLUMBIA — Seth Beer’s affect on a Clemson-South Carolina game played out again.
After hitting a home run and throwing out the potential game-tying run at the plate on Saturday in Greenville, the Tigers’ left fielder sent Sunday’s game into extra innings with a game-tying home run off USC reliever Josh Reagan in the top of the ninth inning on a 3-2 count with two outs.
The bomb cleared the right field wall for a solo shot as the Tigers rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Gamecocks in 11 innings on Sunday at Founders Park in Columbia.
“They started playing the music, and when I stepped in the box, I felt like I was under water. I did not hear anything,” Beer said afterwards. “I got focused. I felt relaxed. I really did not think about it. I just tried to react to the pitch and thankfully it was in a spot where I could make some damage with it.”
Clemson (8-3) scored the game-winning run in the 11th, its first of the game, when Logan Davidson drew a walk to lead off the inning, stole second and then was bunted over to third base by designated hitter Reed Rohlman. Tyler Haswell then threw the ball in the dirt while trying to intentionally walk Beer. The pitch went between catcher Chris Cullen’s legs, allowing Davidson to come home. for the eventual game-winner.
The Tigers extended the lead to 5-3 when Chase Pinder singled through the left side to score T.J. Greene, who was pinch running for Beer. The win allowed Clemson to win the weekend series for a third straight year.
“We were very fortunate today,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said.
The Gamecocks (7-5) had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning after Matt Williams singled to right center and Jacob Olson was hit by a pitch with no outs. Lee brought in pitcher Ryley Gilliam to get out of the jam and he obliged by getting Justin Rowe to pop up on a bunt attempt, which catcher Chris Williams made a diving catch for the first out.
Andrew Cox, who homered in the fourth inning, made a diving stab to his right for an unassisted out on Jonah Bride at first base for the second out. After intentionally walking L.T. Tolbert to load the bases, Gilliam caught Madison Stokes looking at an off-speed pitch on a 2-2 count to end the threat, while sending the game into extra innings.
“I just basically knew I had to stick with the process,” Gilliam said. “Stick with the first pitch, breath in between each pitch, make pitches and stay in control. That is the biggest part in coming into situations like that, just the control aspect. If you are not in control in moments like that, it is going go haywire.”
Clemson got runners on first and second in the top of the 10th inning with no outs, but Chris Williams grounded into a double play at third base, and after USC intentionally walked Robert Jolly, Patrick Cromwell flew out to center to end the inning.
The Gamecocks had the winning run at second in the bottom of the 10th inning, but Matt Williams hit into a double play as Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson fielded a sharply hit ball near the bag at second, stepped on it and threw it over to first to complete the double play.
Alex Schnell, who came in and relieved Gilliam with one out in the 10th, earned his first win of the season.
Beer tied the game, 3-3, with a bomb to right field on a 3-2 pitch from Josh Reagan, who battled back from 3-0 to make it a one-pitch situation, but Beer won the battle to tie the game, and the Tigers eventually won the game.
“My team throughout the whole game picked me up in certain situations, and picked our offense up one through nine so it was just big experience and it is definitely a big-team win for us,” Beer said.
Clemson’s next game is on Wednesday vs. Michigan State at Greenville’s Fluor Field. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.