Drew Wharton’s walk-off triple in the ninth inning clinched the Palmetto Series for the Clemson Tigers, defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks, 8-7, Sunday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Wharton’s triple scored Robert Jolly, who advanced to first on the 21st walk of the series by South Carolina pitching.
South Carolina had tied it in the ninth after LT Tolbert doubled, and Chris Cullen’s sacrifice-fly RBI made the score 7-7.
Logan Davidson finished the series reaching base 14 times drawing eight walks and collecting six hits, including a run-scoring double in the fourth, earning him the Bob Bradley Award as the Clemson MVP of the weekend.
Patrick Cromwell added three hits, including a first-inning solo home run, giving him a team-high 5 RBIs for the series. The Clemson third baseman knocked in two more with a single in the fifth, his second straight day with a two-out RBI.
After Clemson built a 6-0 lead after four, South Carolina came roaring back with a three-run homer from TJ Hopkins in the fifth, and added another run in the sixth with an RBI-groundout from Carlos Cortes. Davidson extended the lead back to three with a solo homer in the bottom half.
The Gamecocks pulled within two again in the eighth on Cortes’ run-scoring infield single, but Matt Williams, a hero from earlier in the series, ended the inning with a pinch-hit double play groundout.
Ryley Gilliam recorded the last five outs to earn the win, despite blowing the save in the ninth inning. Carmen Mlodzinski suffered the loss in relief for the Gamecocks.
John Gilreath struggled for South Carolina in his first weekend start, throwing four wild pitches in 3 and 2/3 innings, and allowing six runs. Jake Higginbotham allowed three runs in five innings and left with the lead, but settled for a no decision.
Adam Hill earned the Tom Price MVP Award representing South Carolina, with his 14-strikeout performance in the series’ opening game.
South Carolina Head Coach Mark Kingston lamented his team’s lack of timely hitting, as the Gamecocks finished the weekend hitting 3-for-24 with runners in scoring position:
USC Head Coach Mark Kingston
USC INF LT Tolbert
Clemson Head Coach Monte Lee credited his team’s patience at the plate, including the one walk to set up the game-winning hit:
Clemson Head Coach Monte Lee
Clemson Players (Patrick Cromwell, Drew Wharton, Logan Davidson)
Clemson won the Palmetto Series for the fourth straight season despite losing the opening game each of the series the last three years.
The Tigers (10-1) return to action Tuesday at home against Wofford, while the Gamecocks (7-5) head to Charlotte Tuesday for a neutral-site contest vs. Appalachian State at BB&T Field in Charlotte.