Andrew Eyster lined a one-out double to center over a diving Bryce Teodosio, and Brady Allen scored the winning run from second, as USC beat Clemson 3-2 in 11 innings Saturday night at Fluor Field in Greenville in the first game of the annual three game series. Allen led off the 11th with a double off Clemson closer Geoffrey Gilbert. Two batters later, Eyster got his chance to be the hero, and he delivered with a scorching shot that rose over Teodosio’s head and rolled to the wall allowing Allen to race home for the victory.
The game was close and dramatic throughout. USC took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st off Clemson starter Davis Sharpe on a Wes Clarke RBI single. Clemson tied the game in the 4th on a James Parker single, but the Gamecocks responded in the bottom of the inning with Jeff Henrich singling in the go-ahead run.
The Gamecocks took that 2-1 lead to the top of the 9th and had closer Brett Kerry on the mound. He got ahead of the leadoff hitter Parker 0-2 but gave the Tigers’ leading hitter too good of a pitch on his next offering, and Parker drilled it over the wall in left field tying the game at 2-2. Gilbert struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to force extras.
Neither team got a runner to scoring position in the 10th, but Clemson had a threat in the top of the 11th. Dylan Brewer led off with a walk and Bryar Hawkins singled thru the right side to put runners on 1st and 2nd. With Parker coming to the plate, Kerry was lifted for freshman Will Sanders, and he induced a 6-4-3 double play with Brewer stopping at third. He then got Jonathan French to ground out to short to end the threat and set the stage for the Gamecocks’ walk-off moment.
Sanders earned his first career win and Gilbert took the loss. Clemson starter Sharpe allowed 2 runs and 7 hits while striking out 10. Clemson pitchers struck out 21 Gamecock hitters. Gamecock starter Thomas Farr pitched 6 innings and allowed 1 run on 5 hits while striking out 7. USC pitching totaled 16 strikeouts.
Parker had 3 hits and 2 RBI for the Tigers, including the homer, and is now hitting .500 n the season. Allen, Heinrich and David Mendham each had 3 hits for the Gamecocks. Clarke went 1-5 and saw his averaged drop to .611.
USC is now 5-0 while Clemson falls to 3-1. Game two will be Sunday afternoon at 1:30 PM in Columbia. Brannon Jordan will start for USC and Ty Olenchuk for Clemson.