Clemson catcher Cooper Ingle drove the first pitch he saw from Will Sanders Friday night just over the glove of leftfielder Carson Hornung for a home run, and the Tigers went on to defeat the Gamecocks 5-2 in front of 5456 fans.
The Tigers extended their winning streak in the series to five, their longest since 1996. They also snapped their four game losing streak this season to improve to 5-4. The Gamecocks lost for the first time and are 9-1.
The Tigers added a second run in the bottom of the first on a double by Cam Cannarella and scored single runs in the second and third innings for a 4-0 lead off Sanders.
Clemson starter Austin Gordon didn’t allow a runner to reach third during his 4.2 innings of work. He was lifted with two outs in the fifth with Gamecocks on first and second. Jackson Lindley replaced him, and a throwing error on the catcher on a pickoff attempt at first advanced the runners to second and third. Lindley struck out Will McGillis to end the threat.
The Tigers tacked on their final run in the sixth with a pinch hit solo home run by Gavin Abrams off of Sanders. The Gamecocks ace was relieved after six innings. He gave up nine hits, five runs, four of them earned, struck out nine and walked one. Sanders also allowed two homers and three doubles.
The Gamecocks got on the board in the seventh on a LeCroy single. They made it 5-2 in the ninth off reliever Casey Tallent on a one out sacrifice fly by Hornung. Former Tiger Dylan Brewer then singled to bring McGillis to the plate as the tying run, but Tallent induced a ground ball to first to end the game.
Lindley (1-1) earned the win for Clemson and Sanders (1-1) took the loss. Game two of the series will be Saturday afternoon at Fluor Field in Greenville. The Tigers, who will be the visitors, will start lefthander Tristan Smith. The Gamecocks will counter with righthander Noah Hall.