Long ball and long relief. That was the difference for USC in the 5-4 win over Clemson Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. A two run homer by Andrew Eyster and a three run blast by TJ Hopkins in a five run second inning rallied the Gamecocks from a 2-0 deficit. And three relievers made that lead stand up over the last 6.2 innings.
Gamecock starter Carmen Mlodzinski game up a two-run homer to Grayson Byrd in the first and left the game in the third with a broken left foot. Freshmen Wesley Sweatt, Cam Tringaly and Brett Kerry finished up and allowed single runs in the third and fourth innings.
Kerry, who also was recruited by Clemson, struck out seven of the 12 batters he faced including the side in the eighth, all looking. In the ninth, facing the top of the order, Kerry gave up a one out single then struck out the last two batters swinging for his second save. Sweatt earned the victory. Clemson starter Brooks Crawford took the loss.
The Gamecocks are seeking to break a four year losing streak in the series. They’ve now won the first game in the series four straight years. Saturday’s game will be at Fluor Field in Greenville where the Tigers have won the last three meetings. USC will start freshman lefthander Dylan Harley against freshman righthander Davis Sharpe.
USC coach Mark Kingston
USC centerfielder TJ Hopkins
USC pitcher Brett Kerry
Clemson coach Monte Lee