GREENVILLE — Here is a look back at Clemson’s 6-3 win over South Carolina on Saturday afternoon at Fluor Field.
Clemson freshman Clate Schmidt pitched 7.0 strong innings in his second career start and the Tiger bats backed him up as Clemson evened the series with #7 South Carolina at Fluor Field.
The game changing moment came in the bottom of the eighth inning. With the Tigers holding a 5-3 lead, Matt Campbell came in to relieve Schmidt and walked the first batter he faced to bring LB Dantzler to the plate. Dantzler worked a full count before grounding into a double play, which seemed to take some of the air out of the Gamecock faithful at Fluor Field. The play was even bigger considering the next two South Carolina batters doubled to left field.
The big news on Saturday was the impact play of the Tiger freshman. Schmidt was outstanding on the mound in his second career start. In 7.0 innings, the righty allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts on 96 pitches. Shortstop Tyler Krieger added two hits and made several great plays in the field while outfielder Steven Dugger also recorded two hits and game-high two RBI.
The turning point in the game came in the fifth inning. Leading 2-0, Clemson added three big runs (all on two outs) on four hits and chased South Carolina starter Colby Holmes from the game. Following a leadoff groundout, Krieger got things started with a single followed by another base knock by Thomas Brittle. After an out, Wilkerson singled to score one and Kennedy walked causing the Gamecocks to bring in reliever Adam Westmoreland. Dugger welcomed Westmoreland with a single up the middle that plated two runs and gave Clemson a commanding 5-0 lead.
What went right?
Schmidt gave the Tigers all they could have wanted from him knowing he was facing a rival in just his second start. Schmidt looked comfortable from the start and the coaching staff has to be impressed with how he bounced back after giving up back-to-back homers in the sixth by striking out the next two batters. The Clemson bats also came to life, scoring some early runs and keeping pressure on South Carolina throughout the game.
What went wrong?
The Tigers played a pretty good game and it’s hard to find many things that went wrong. Clemson did have a couple of base running blunders with a runner being thrown out at third and guys not moving up on balls in the dirt. Also, there were a couple of plays that were a little adventurous with guys either almost running together or seemingly not communicating well.
They said it.
Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett
“We did some good things. We have been a little frustrated offensively the last couple of days and we had a good approach today against and experienced pitcher. We put the ball in play on the ground and we got some big hits with two outs and big hits with men on base.”
“We made some really good defensive plays. Overall, it was a really good team effort defensively. When you pitch well, you have good pace and you are around the zone, you usually play a lot better defense so Clate was a big part of the defense today.”
Clemson Pitching Coach Dan Pepicelli
“I guess the most impressive part after he gave up the two home runs, he comes back with really good command of the slider with a whole lot of conviction of what he was doing and a whole lot of belief, which maybe you would not see in a freshman that gives up two home runs.”
“’Let’s be patient here because he is in a really good place. He is in Clate’s World right now.’”