The brooms were out at Doug Kingsmore Stadium at Clemson Sunday, figuratively if not literally, in anticipation of the Tigers sweeping USC in a baseball series of more than two games for the first time since 1996. The home team did not disappoint the DKS record crowd of 6636 as they beat the Gamecocks for the third straight day 5-2. Total attendance for the series was 23,948.
For the first time in the series, Clemson was the first to lead, and the Tigers never let the Gamecocks catch up. A three run fourth inning put Clemson on top, and they iced the game with two runs in the eighth. The Gamecocks managed single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Dylan Brewer had the big hit in the fourth inning, a two-run single after the Tigers had scored an unearned run on a bases loaded hit by pitch. Braylon Wimmer had an RBI single for the Gamecocks in the fifth and Carson Hornung had an RBI single in the sixth to make it a 3-2 game.
The Tigers padded their lead in the eighth with a solo homer by Cooper Ingle, the first of his career, and later added an unearned run on a single by Jonathan French.
The Gamecocks were able to get the tying run to the plate against reliever Ryan Ammons in the top of the ninth. With two outs and runners on first and second, Wimmer hit a sharp ground ball to second and the force was made at the bag for the final out.
Clemson reliever Jackson Lindley earned the win to go to 2-0. Ammons earned his fourth save. USC reliever Aidan Hunter took the loss.and is 2-1.
The Gamecocks outhit the Tigers 10-6 with freshman shortstop Michael Braswell collecting four of them but hitting with runners on base and in scoring position was foreign to them all series. Sunday they were 4 for 20 with runners on and 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position. For the series, the Gamecocks finished 10 for 53 hitting with runners on base, and 6 for 31 with runners in scoring position.
Clemson wasn’t much better, going 7 for 37 with runners in scoring position, but the Tigers pitching, and defense were superior.
The USC pitchers walked 19 Clemson batters, hit three and threw eight wild pitches. Clemson scored five runs in the series off wild pitches and hit batters. And the Gamecocks committed seven errors behind their pitchers which led to six unearned runs for Clemson in the series, a third of their runs scored in the series. So, 11 of Clemson’s 18 runs came as a result of USC errors, wild pitches or hit batters.
Clemson’s pitching followed the philosophy of pounding the zone with strikes. The Tigers walked eight Gamecock hitters in the series and hit three, all in the opening game. Defensively, the Tigers made three errors which led to just one unearned run.
Offensively, Clemson was led by Bryar Hawkins with five hits, three runs and a RBI. He was named the winner of the Bob Bradley Award as Clemson’s Most Valuable Player in the series. The Tigers were able to win with arguably their best hitter Caden Grice going 1 for 14 at the plate.
Friday night’s starter Will Sanders, who struck out a career high 14 Tigers, won the Tom Price Award as the Gamecocks’ Most Valuable Player. Braswell also was a standout for the Gamecocks. He went 8-for-13 at the plate with a pair of doubles. On the mound, he struck out a pair on Sunday in a late inning appearance.
Clemson improves to 11-0 while the Gamecocks fall to 7-4. And the weekends don’t get any easier for USC as they have series coming up with Texas, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.