The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Clemson wins rivalry series with 1-run victory over Gamecocks

Toby Corriston
Clemson outfielder Will Taylor hits a home run against South Carolina in Doug Kingsmore Stadium on March 3, 2024.

The No. 10 Clemson Tigers defeated the No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks 5-4 in the second game of the rivalry series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday, securing the series win over their in-state rival.

Home runs in the sixth and eighth helped propel Clemson to victory, thanks to efforts by third baseman Nolan Nawrocki and second baseman Blake Wright.

With Clemson (9-1) leading 4-3 heading into the eighth inning, Wright hit a homer to center field to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead. Although the Gamecocks responded with a home run of their own in the top of the ninth, pitcher Austin Gordon and the Tigers’ defense ultimately did enough to come away with the win.

“We knew we were in for a battle to begin with,” Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said. “The margins in these types of games are always one pitch.”

Clemson got on the board in the bottom of the first when veteran outfielder Will Taylor hit a home run. Taylor then plated another off a ground ball by Jimmy Obertop just three innings later.

On the ensuing at-bat after Taylor’s score, junior transfer Andrew Ciufo delivered for the Tigers, hitting an RBI single down the right field line to bring in Wright and tie up the match 3-3 heading into the fifth.

After a scoreless fifth, Nawrocki tallied the second Clemson home run to put up a one-point, 4-3 lead in the sixth. Two innings later, Wright’s homer secured the game for Clemson, improving his batting average to .302 for the season.

“I was just looking for something that I could hit,” Nawrocki said after the game.

As a redshirt freshman, Nawrocki holds a .379 batting average.

A back-and-forth battle throughout, South Carolina (8-3) set the pace after it took the lead early in the first from a homer by Cole Messina that brought in two runs. The Gamecocks scored another in the third but remained off the board until the ninth, where they scored the final run of the game with a solo home run.

Clemson’s Aidan Knaak started on the mound. While the true freshman gave up four hits and three runs, he struck out five batters in his 5.0 innings pitched.

“He operates his life the way you’d expect of a veteran and upperclassman,” Bakich said of Knaak. “He has the potential to be a successful pitcher at Clemson.”

Clemson relied heavily on its pitching staff after Knaak was relieved at the end of the fifth. Gordon finished out the game with a save on the mound for Clemson. Drew Titsworth, Nick Clayton and Matthew Marchal also saw action on the mound, exemplifying Bakich’s use of extensive rotation.

Sunday’s win continued the Tigers’ momentum from Saturday night when they defeated the Gamecocks 5-4 off Ciufo’s 12-inning, walk-off home run at Segra Park in Columbia.

Friday night’s game, which was set to be played at South Carolina’s home field, was postponed due to rain. A date has yet to be announced for when the series finale will occur; however, Bakich said the team is targeting an April date for the make-up rivalry matchup.

Sunday’s win marks the program’s ninth win of the season as they gear up to host Kansas State on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Kiley Bouchard
Kiley Bouchard, Senior Reporter
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *