May 6, 2015

Belk puts its money behind college football season opener in Charlotte

Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks open the season at Bank of America Stadium against North Carolina.

Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks open the season at Bank of America Stadium against North Carolina.

The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) announced today that Belk, Inc., will be the title sponsor of the 2015 football game between the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in Charlotte, N.C. The 2015 Belk College Kickoff will be held at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, September 3 with the opening kickoff set for 6:00 p.m. and televised nationally by the ESPN family of networks.

Belk also serves as the title sponsor of the Belk Bowl, which is hosted in Charlotte and features teams from the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference facing off as part of college football’s bowl season.

“College football is at the heart of Southern lifestyle and Belk is excited to partner with the Charlotte Sports Foundation as the title sponsor of the Belk College Kickoff Game,” said Jon Pollack, Belk executive vice president, sales promotion, marketing and eCommerce. “The Belk College Kickoff Game is a great opportunity to engage fans and customers in the Southeast, as well as celebrate and support the Charlotte community.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Belk to bring top level college football games to Charlotte,” said Will Webb Executive Director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation. “We can’t wait for the Tar Heels and Gamecocks to take the field, and their fans to experience our great city.”

The first opportunity to buy the best seats for both games begins Monday, May 12 at 10AM with the Belk Pigskin Package. The 2-pack guarantees fans the same seats for the Belk College Kickoff Game and Belk Bowl and starts at just $119. For more information, please contact the Charlotte Sports Foundation’s Ticket Office at

Tigers’ 9th inning rally falls short in 5-3 loss to Louisville (VIDEO)

Rohlman had two run single in the 9th (File Photo)

Rohlman had two run single in the 9th (File Photo)

Corey Ray’s two-run homer in the seventh inning broke a 1-1 tie and lifted No. 3 Louisville to a 5-3 victory over Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday night. The Cardinals, who evened the series 1-1 and recorded their first-ever win over Clemson in eight tries, improved to 36-11 overall and 20-3 in the ACC. The Tigers dropped to 24-22 overall and 13-12 in ACC play.

Ray’s run-scoring single in the first inning gave Louisville the lead, then Weston Wilson hit a two-out double in the second inning and scored on Glenn Batson’s single. Ray gave the Cardinals the lead for good with one out in the seventh inning with an opposite-field, two-run homer to left-center, his 10th long ball of the season. Two batters later, Zach Lucas belted a solo homer.

The Tigers trailed 5-1 going to the bottom of the 9th before scoring a pair of runs on a single by Reed Rohlman  to make it a 5-3 game.  They had the tying run at the plate in the person of Chris Okey but he grounded out to third to end the game.

Sean Leland (4-0) earned the win in relief, as he pitched 2.0 scoreless innings. Zack Burdi recorded his sixth save of the year by pitching the final 1.1 innings. Tiger starter Zack Erwin (4-4) suffered the loss, as he gave up four runs on 11 hits in 6.2 innings pitched.

The series concludes Monday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Youth 12 and under receive free admission by showing their report card. Also, join us for an exciting 10-minute postgame fireworks show.

Box Score

Jack Leggett, Steven Duggar, Glenn Batson

Punchless Gamecocks fall to Auburn 3-0 to lose series (AUDIO)

Schmidt had no offensive support

Schmidt had no offensive support

In a crucial SEC series against a team it had dominated the past 17 years,  USC came up short against Auburn  further damaging hopes for the NCAA Tournament.  The Gamecocks were blankedt Sunday afternoon 3-0 managing just three singles off three Tiger pitchers, the second time the season USC has been shut out.

It’s the first series loss by the Gamecocks to Auburn since 1997 when the Tigers also won two of three in Columbia and only the second time the Tigers have shutout the Gamecocks in their series history.   The Gamecocks lost the series despite their three starting pitchers yielding just three earned runs.

USC starter Clarke Schmidt and two relievers were good enough to put their team in position to win.  But the hitters flailed away against the Auburn trio of Dalton Rentz, Justin Camp and Trey Wingenter.  The top five in the Gamecock order were a combined 0-17.

USC had early scoring chances getting runners to first and second in both the second and third innings but each time failed to get the clutch hit.  The Gamecocks also threatened in the fifth with runners on second and third with two outs.  But Max Schrock grounded out to the first baseman to end the threat.

Gamecocks played solid defense Sunday

Gamecocks played solid defense Sunday

Their last real scoring threat game in the seventh with a runner on second and two outs but Gene Cone flied to left for the final out.  The Gamecocks left eight runners on and were 0-5 with runners in scoring position.

Auburn scored a run in the fifth then added two more in the sixth on a double by Kyler Deese.  The Tigers had 10 hits on the day, three by first baseman Robert Daniel.

USC is now 27-21 and 10-14 in the SEC.  With six league games left against top five teams in Texas A&M and LSU, the Gamecocks are all but locked in to playing in one of the single elimination first round games of the SEC Tournament later this month.

The Gamecocks return to action at home Wednesday night against Wofford.

Box Score

AUDIO: Chad Holbrook [8:27]

AUDIO: DC Arendas & Clarke Schmidt [2:52]

Clemson’s Jarrett, Pinion and Steward hear name called in NFL Draft Saturday

Grady Jarrett is headed to Atlanta.

Grady Jarrett is headed to Atlanta.

Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was the first Tiger off the board in the third day of the NFL Draft Saturday. Jarrett went to the Falcons in the 5th round, the 137th overall pick. He will join Vic Beasley, the Falcons first round pick, in Atlanta.

Also in the 5th round, with the 165 overall pick,  Clemson punter Bradley Pinion  went to the San Francisco 49’ers. He was the first specialist taken in this year’s NFL draft. Pinion is the first Clemson punter to get drafted since Chris Gardocki went to the Bears in the third round of the 1991 draft.

And linebacker Tony Steward was the final Clemson player selected in the draft. He went to Buffalo in the 6t round, the 188th overall pick.

Clemson had five players selected in the 2015 NFL draft.



Bullpen can’t hold lead as Gamecocks fall to Auburn 6-2 (AUDIO)

Widener had a career high in strikeouts

Widener had a career high in strikeouts

USC starting pitcher Taylor Widener gave his team a chance at victory Saturday afternoon leaving in the sixth inning with a 2-0 lead after allowing just one hit and striking out a career high seven batters.  But a procession of Gamecock relievers could not protect that lead, and Gamecock hitters failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities,  as the Tigers stormed back for a 6-2 win at Carolina Stadium to even the SEC series at 1-1.  Game three will be Sunday afternoon at 2:00.

USC  pitching coach Jerry Meyers wore out a path to the mound making one call to the bullpen after another in an effort to piece together enough pitching to hold the lead.  Six game relievers trotted out and each of the first five allowed at least one run.  Canaan Cropper was the final  Gamecock reliever and he was able to get the last two outs in the top of the 9th without allowing a run.

USC scored single runs in the second and third innings for an early 2-0 lead.  Connor Bright grounded out to third to drive in the run in the second, and Elliott Caldwell drew a one out  bases loaded walk in the third for the second run.  But the Gamecocks left the bases loaded after Alex Destino fouled out to third and DC Arendas grounded back to the mound.

Martin is out on a play at second

Martin is out on a play at second

USC also had a scoring chance in the 5th but stranded a runner at third.  The Gamecocks did not get a runner into scoring position over the final four innings.

The Gamecocks took that lead into the 7th with Vince Fiori on the mound.  He was lifted with one out and runners on second and third for Cody Mincey who promptly yielded back to back singles to tie the game before getting a double play ground ball to end the inning.

After allowing a leadoff walk in the 8th, Mincey was replaced by Josh Reagan.  He was greeted with a single by Anfernee Grier that put runners on the corners.  Robert Daniel got the go ahead run hone with a sacrifice fly.  Brandon Murray replaced Reagan and induced a hard hit ground ball to Max Schrock at second, but he misplayed the ball for an error and the runner scored from second for the Tigers’ fourth run.

Auburn  added two more runs in the 9th and the Gamecocks went down in order to close out the game.

USC falls to 27-20 overall and 10-13 in the SEC.  Auburn improves to 31-17 and 11-12 in league play.

Box Score

AUDIO: Chad Holbrook [5:36]