By Lee Lance.
Game two between the Tigers and the Gamecocks got started an hour late, at three o’clock instead of the scheduled two o’clock, but it took the Tigers even longer than that to get started on the afternoon.
Once things got rolling though, the Tigers poured on ten runs on 15 hits and beat South Carolina’s ace pitcher Matt Price, among others, 10-5.
The Gamecocks were the first team to dent the scoreboard, and it didn’t take them long as Jackie Bradley blasted a two out, two strike home run to left field in the first inning. First baseman Christian Walker followed that up with a single, but Tiger starter Kevin Brady got Brady Thomas to fly out to center field to end the inning and the threat.
Heading to the bottom of the first inning already down 1-0, the Tigers didn’t do much to help their cause, going down in order Epps(fouled out), Miller(ground out), and Schaus(lined out).
The score remained the same through inning number two, and the top of inning number three, then the Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the third.
With two outs courtesy of a fly out by Phil Pohl and a ground out by Stolz, Epps got things going by hitting a single through the right side. Brad Miller followed that up with another single through the right side, pushing Epps to second.
Jeff Schaus then doubled down the right field line, scoring both Miller and Epps and giving the Tigers the 2-1 lead. Richie Shaffer would walk next, then Hinson grounded out to first base, ending the inning with the Tigers up 2-1.
Kevin Brady stayed in control of Gamecock batters through the fourth inning, but then had to be pulled after warming up for the fifth inning due to injury. Sophomore righty Jonathan Meyer came in to start the fifth, and picked up right where Brady left off, sitting down the Gamecock batters in order while striking out one.
Meyer did the same in the sixth inning, setting South Carolina batters down in the order he saw them, 1-2-3 before Clemson dinged the scoreboard again in the bottom half of that inning.
With both Kieboom and Lamb grounding out to start that inning, Pohl hit a two out single up the middle. Stolz then came up and drilled a double down the left field line to move Pohl to third. Epps then walked to load the bases for Brad Miller. After Miller walked in a run to make it 3-1 Tigers, the Gamecocks turned to their third pitcher of the afternoon, lefty Bryan Harper.
Harper did his job and struck out Jeff Schaus looking with the bases loaded, but the Tigers had taken the 3-1 lead.
The two run lead was short-lived, however, as the first Gamecock batter of the seventh inning, Walker, blasted a home run to dead center field, cutting the lead to 3-2. Tiger pitcher Meyer then struck out Thomas before walking Morales and being retired for righty David Haselden.
With runners on first and second, Haselden faced Mooney first, and Mooney sacrifice bunted back to the pitcher’s mound, moving the runners to second and third. The Gamecocks then pinch hit Michael Roth for Williams, but Roth grounded out to first. Thomas scored on the play.
On the next batter, Haselden threw a wild pitch by Kieboom, allowing Morales to score and put the Gamecocks up 5-3 before Matthews flied out to end the inning.
The Tigers got back one run in the bottom half of the seventh on an unearned run by Shaffer on a fielding error off of a Kieboom single to left field, but still trailed 5-4 heading to the top of the eighth inning.
Tiger lefty Joseph Moorefield started the inning and did a remarkable job, sending the Gamecocks back the the dugout in the order they came to the plate, strike out, line out, and strike out.
Heading to the bottom of the eighth still down by six runs, the Tigers lit up their bats and torched two Gamecock pitchers, Matt Price and Jose Mata, for six runs.
Stolz got the inning started with a single through the right side, and advanced to second on a ground out by Epps. With one out and Stolz on second, Brad Miller singled to shortstop Peter Mooney who would botch the fielding attempt and allow Stolz to score.
Schaus then came up with Miller on first and hit his second double of the game, this one to right-center scoring Miller. The next Tiger batter, Richie Shaffer, flied out and then the Gamecocks intentionally walked Hinson to the open first base.
Spencer Kieboom then walked too, pushing Schaus over to third and HInson up to second and loading the bases. Will Lamb then singled to right center, where another fielding error occurred that allowed him to advance to second and Kieboom to advance to third, scoring both Hinson and Schaus in the process.
The Gamecocks would then make another pitching change, bringing in senior righty Jose Mata. The first batter Mata faced was true freshman Jon McGibbon, who was pinch hitting for Pohl. McGibbon blasted a double to center field, picking up an RBI and giving the Tigers a 10-5 lead.
After Stolz singled back to second base, advancing McGibbon to third, he then stole second. With runners on first and second base, Epps grounded out to end the bottom of the eighth inning, but the damage had been done. The Tigers now led, 10-5.
The Gamecocks never really threatened in the ninth, and the Tigers took game two 10-5 on 15 hits, committing just one error on defense.
Tiger pitchers combined to give up just five hits to South Carolina batters.