Clemson pitcher Ryley Gilliam’s throwing error on a pick-off attempt opened the door for TJ Hopkins’ walk-off sacrifice fly, giving the Gamecocks a 3-2 victory over the Tigers Friday night in Columbia.
Jonah Bride led off the ninth inning with a walk, and advanced to third after Gilliam threw wildly to first, crossing up first baseman Chris Williams who was drawn in to guard against a bunt.
Hopkins’ heroics capped a Carolina comeback started by Matt Williams’ pinch-hit game tying homer in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Defensive miscues were a theme for Clemson, as Grayson Byrd’s dropped two-out pop up with two men on base sent home South Carolina’s first run in the fifth.
The lead didn’t last long, as Adam Hill, who struck out a career-high 14 batters for his second straight game, surrendered a lead-off walk and a two-run homer to Clemson’s Seth Beer to give the Tigers a 2-1 advantage.
Hill has struck out 28 batters in his last two games spanning 14 innings, with Beer’s home run as his only hit allowed.
Beer continues to be a thorn in the Gamecocks’ side, having homered in three straight games against USC, giving him four in his career.
Hopkins said after the game he’s happy he delivered South Carolina’s first home win against Clemson since 2016:
South Carolina Players Press Conference (TJ Hopkins, Matt Williams Adam Hill & Eddy Demurias)
Clemson Head Coach Monte Lee said his team couldn’t make the plays necessary to win:
Clemson Head Coach Monte Lee
Clemson OF Seth Beer
Gamecocks Head Coach Mark Kingston said they had the right guys come through at the right time:
South Carolina Head Coach Mark Kingston
South Carolina (6-4) and Clemson (8-1) play game two of the series on Saturday at Fluor Field in Greenville. Cody Morris (2-0) goes for the Gamecocks against the Tigers’ Brooks Crawford (1-0).