April 23, 2014

Liberty rallies for 4-3 win over Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium (VIDEO)

Tyler Slaton had a pair of hits Tuesday night  (file photo)

Tyler Slaton had a pair of hits Tuesday night (file photo)

Liberty overcame an early 3-0 deficit to defeat No. 20 Clemson 4-3 Tuesday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. It was the first meeting at Doug Kingsmore Stadium between Liberty (32-9) and Clemson (24-16) since 1999.

The Tigers took advantage of five walks in the first inning to score two runs, then added another run in the second inning to build a 3-0 lead. But the Flames scored two runs in the third inning after the first two batters of the frame were retired, then Dalton Britt scored on a wild pitch and Danny Grauer followed with a solo homer in the fifth inning to give the Flames the lead over the Tigers, who scored just three of their 17 baserunners in the game.

Reliever Shawn Clowers (5-0) earned the win by pitching 2.2 scoreless innings. Ashton Perritt tossed a scoreless ninth inning to record his ninth save of the year. Tiger starter Clate Schmidt (4-6) suffered the loss, as he gave up four runs on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.

The Tigers played without shortstop Tyler Krieger who was injured Sunday and had an MRI Tuesday morning on his shoulder.  Krieger had started the first 101 games in his career.

The Tigers host Western Carolina on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Fans can get a Family Four Pack of tickets (two adults, two youth) for only $20 at ClemsonTigers.com or at the gate. Additional tickets can be purchased for $5.

Story & video by Clemson Sports Information

Tiger reliever Garrett Lovorn talks about his outing

Box Score

Six run sixth propels Gamecocks by Davidson 8-0 (AUDIO)

Greiner had two RBIs Tuesday night

Greiner had two RBIs Tuesday night (File Photo)

USC broke up a tight game with Davidson Tuesday night at Carolina Stadium by scoring six runs in the sixth inning on their way to an 8-0 victory.  The win improves the Gamecocks to 31-10 and extends their winning streak to three games.

The Gamecocks led 1-0 until their sixth inning rally which consisted of four hits, a passed ball  and a Wildcat error.  Grayson Greiner had a RBI double, Patrick Harrington a RBI single for his first career hit, and DC Arendas singled home a run with a bunt to account for three of the hits.  Gene Cone got the other run home on a double play ball to short that the second baseman threw wide of first for an error.

Greiner later added a sacrifice fly in the 8th for the Gamecocks final run of the night.  Marcus Mooney had the Gamecocks’ first RBI with a double in the third.

Reed Scott started for USC and scattered 5 hits over 4 complete innings.  Taylor Widener worked the next three innings and did not allow a hit while striking out four.  He earned the win to improve to 3-0.  Josh Reagan, John Parke and Hunter Privette finished up the Gamecocks’ 12th shutout of the season.

Gamecock coach Chad Holbrook said after the game he does not expected second baseman Max Schrock to play again this season.  Schrock has had multiple injuries this season and is now dealing with a back issue.  He also said outfielder Elliott Caldwell and reliever Vince Fiori will be out the rest of this week thru the Alabama series with injuries.

AUDIO: Chad Holbrook reviews the win over Davidson [8:28]

The Gamecocks play host to USC Upstate Wednesday night.

Box Score



Virginia running back Turner giving USC and Clemson strong consideration

AJ Turner

AJ Turner

RB AJ Turner (5-10 190) of Clifton, VA has seen his stock elevate this week with numerous major offers.  He now has USC, Clemson, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Boston College, Maryland, East Carolina, Connecticut and Old Dominion to choose from, and more offers should be coming.

Turner is in contact with Everette Sands from USC and Brent Venables from Clemson and said both schools are in play for him.

“I think both are great programs and a really good fit for me,” Turner said.  “They have met the criteria I have:  good academics and academic support;  a campus ministry because I’m big on church; good football program with stability and plays in bowl games;  the distance from home, a little far but I can deal with that rather than being on the other side of the country;  and playing time, I would definitely have a shot at playing at those schools.”

Venables was by the school Monday and Turner said he talked to him on the phone Monday night.  “He expressed a lot of interest,” Turner said.  “I can really sense his passion for football and the university.  In a coach, I definitely want qualities like that.”

Turner said it’s been a little while since he last talked to Sands but he’s expecting him to visit his school in the nest week or so.  “We have a great relationship,” he said.  “They were the first ones to offer.  He also fits that character of being real and frank.  I went to their one day camp last summer and got a private tour afterwards.  We joke around a lot and talk a lot about life.  They are really interested.  They are only taking one back and he thinks I’m that back. Despite our age difference, we’re really good friends.”

Turner said he does not have any favorites at this point and is waiting on more offers so he can check out as many options as possible.  He has visited Virginia Tech, Virginia and Maryland.  He might visit USC Thursday night and Friday but that is not definite at this point.  He said he will also get to Clemson at some point.  He does not plan to make an early decision.

Last season Turner rushed for 1258 yards and 31 touchdowns.  He had 1697 total yards.

SEC spring football updates

Senior Dylan Thompson will be the starting quarterback in 2014. [File Photo]

Senior Dylan Thompson will be the Gamecocks’ starting quarterback in 2014. [File Photo]

Story by Daniel Schwartz

Spring football practices are finishing up across the country which means coaches are finalizing their depth charts for the upcoming season. For many players, the spring game is the final opportunity to prove themselves worthy of a starting position until August. We have gathered information from spring games around the SEC to provide an update on which players to look out for in the 2014 football season. Look out for ACC spring football updates later in the week.

Florida has hired former Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to provide a spark in an offense that finished last in the SEC in scoring offense in 2013. The new look up-tempo offense ran 111 plays during its spring game as returning junior quarterback Jeff Driskell completed passes to 15 different receivers for 171 yards and a touchdown.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier left no doubt that senior quarterback Dylan Thompson will fill in as the starter in 2014 to replace Connor Shaw. Thompson completed 8 of 11 passes for 129 yards and 1 touchdown during the Garnet and Black spring game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Mitch was also impressive completing 7 of 10 passes for 108 yards.

Georgia‘s senior quarterback Hutson Mason made his case as Aaron Murray’s replacement last season when he filled in for an injured Murray in the final 3 games. In the Bulldogs’ spring game Mason passed for 241 yards and a touchdown, while senior receiver Chris Conley caught 6 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Tennessee enters its second season under head coach Butch Jones as they try to improve upon finishing 9th in the SEC in rushing offense a year ago. The Vols will look early and often to incoming freshman running back Jalen Hurd who carried the ball 11 times for 66 yards and a touchdown in front of a spring game crowd of 68,548. Tennessee will also expect freshman wide receiver Josh Malone to contribute early as he caught 6 passes for 181 yards and 3 touchdowns in the spring game.

Vanderbilt‘s rushing offense finished dead last in the SEC in 2013 averaging just 139 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry. Freshman running back Ralph Webb showed signs of optimism for the Commodores in their Gold and Black spring game rushing 11 times for 114 yards, including a 60 yard td run. Sophomore quarterback Patton Robbinette led the Gold team on a game winning drive in the 4th quarter and will lead the Dores’ offense 2014.

Missouri There is no question that sophomore Matty Mauk will take over at quarterback for Missouri in 2014 after throwing for over 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns in relief of the injured James Franklin in 2013. The question lies with whom he will be throwing to. Sophomore wide receiver Eric Laurent could be the prime target after hauling in a 93 yard touchdown pass from Mauk in the Tigers’ spring game.

Kentucky will hold its Blue and White spring game this Saturday, April 26. Amongst the recent news that quarterback Jalen Whitlow will transfer, head coach Mark Stoops will pay heavy attention to the rest of his competing quarterbacks sophomore Patrick Towles, redshirt freshman Reese Phillips, and freshman Drew Barker.

Texas A&M did not hold a spring game due to the renovations being made to Kyle Field, but the Aggies have plenty of starting positions up for grabs. Besides replacing Heisman trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, A&M must replace leading receiver Mike Evans, leading rusher Ben Malena and starting left tackle Jake Matthews. Head coach Kevin Sumlin will not name a starting quarterback until August.

Alabama seems to rarely have trouble replacing its standout players that have graduated and entered the draft. This year the reigns at quarterback will be handed down to senior Blake Sims who was less than stellar in the Crimson Tide spring game. Sims connected on 13 of 30 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, but threw 2 interceptions as well. Junior running back TJ Yeldon was his usual self rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries while junior receiver Amari Cooper hauled in 3 catches for 45 yards.

Auburn returns starting quarterback Nick Marshall, who a year ago led the nation’s number one rushing offense to an SEC championship and the BCS national championship game. This season head coach Gus Malzahn hopes to incorporate the passing game into the offense in a much bigger way. In the Tigers’ spring game Marshall completed 13 of 22 passes for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 59 and 27 yard scoring passes to receiver Quan Bray. A new face to look out for is receiver D’haquille Williams, who was the top-rated JUCO player in the country. Williams had 5 catches for 88 yards and 1 touchdown in the spring game.

LSU must replace quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the two frontrunners thus far are freshman Brandon Harris and sophomore Anthony Jennings. Harris had the more impressive spring game throwing for 195 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding 75 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. Sophomore receiver Travin Dural had a standout performance catching 5 passes for 130 yards and a couple of touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball junior linebackers Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones both returned interceptions for touchdowns.

Arkansas will hold its spring game on Saturday, April 26. The Razorbacks return their starting quarterback Brandon Allen, as well as their two leading rushers Jonathon Williams and Alex Collins.

Ole Miss senior quarterback Bo Wallace threw for 152 yards and 1 touchdown without committing a turnover in the Rebels’ spring game. Returning leading rusher junior I’Tavius Mathers carried the ball 5 times for 121 yards including a 96 yard run.

Mississippi State has developed a position battle at quarterback as sophomore Damian Williams challenges returning starter junior Dak Prescott. Prescott threw for 131 yards in the spring game while throwing and rushing for touchdowns. Williams received the bulk of the work completing 21 of 32 passes for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Fred Brown had 10 catches for 219 yards and 2 scores.

Clemson officially announces McDaniels’ departure to the NBA

KJ McDaniels is headed to the NBA

KJ McDaniels is headed to the NBA

Here’s the official release from Clemson regarding KJ McDaniels’ decision to forgo his senior season and enter the NBA Draft:

Tiger forward K.J. McDaniels announced Tuesday he is forgoing his senior season and declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity these past three seasons to grow as a player and person at Clemson,” McDaniels said. “None of this would have been possible without the guidance and support of my coaches, teammates and family. This was not an easy decision, but I am excited to take the next step toward fulfilling my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.”

McDaniels was a first-team All-ACC selection and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013-14. He led the Tigers in points (614), rebounds (255), blocks (100), steals (41) and three-pointers (42) – the only player in the country to lead his team in all five categories. He joined Wake Forest’s Josh Howard as only the second player in ACC history to lead a team in all five of the aforementioned statistics for an entire season.

“I want to thank K.J. for his contributions to our basketball program these last three seasons,” said Head Coach Brad Brownell. “K.J. is a hard-working, humble young man who always put team first. He has had a tremendous impact on our program and improved as much as any player I’ve ever coached. I’m extremely proud of his development and excited for his future at the next level.”

The Birmingham, Ala., native earned the league’s top defensive honor by leading all ACC players with 2.8 per game. He became only the third player in Clemson history to block at least 100 shots in a season, joining all-time Tiger greats Tree Rollins and Sharone Wright. McDaniels was the catalyst behind the Tigers’ defense that ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in defending the three (.285), No. 5 in opponent points per game (58.4) and No. 8 in blocks per game (6.1).

McDaniels led all ACC players with six games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season. He posted 13 total 20-point games after entering his junior season without one in 58 career outings. McDaniels finished his career with 1,035 points, 450 rebounds and 178 blocked shots. He is seventh in school history in total blocks.