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Clemson baseball takes game one of South Carolina series

Matt Mynes // Photo Editor

Clemson pitcher Austin Gordon takes the mound against No. 23 South Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on March 3, 2023.

The Clemson baseball team used an early surge of runs to defeat No. 23 South Carolina 5-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday, taking game one of the rivalry series.

After a 1-2-3 inning defensively to open the game, the Tigers started the first inning with a bang when catcher Cooper Ingle had a home run on the first pitch to give Clemson an early 1-0 lead. 

Clemson was not done yet, as third baseman Blake Wright and center fielder Cam Cannarella hit back-to-back doubles to put Clemson ahead by two runs after the first frame. Both players finished the game with multiple hits. 

“It’s a great tone setter by Cooper Ingle to lead off the inning with a first-pitch home run,” Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said of his team’s start to the game. “And then with Blake and Cam, back-to-back doubles…(I) just like the way we set the tone on the opening game of a series.”

Clemson would tack on two more runs in the second and third innings on an error and a fielder’s choice, giving Clemson a 4-0 lead early. 

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings by both teams, Clemson got on the scoreboard again in the sixth when Gavin Abrams belted a pinch-hit home run into right field, placing the Tigers ahead 5-0. 

South Carolina responded in the top of the seventh when third baseman Talmadge LeCroy hit an RBI single to cut the Tigers’ lead to 5-1. Still trailing by four runs in the ninth inning, the Gamecocks were able to put the pressure on Clemson as they had runners on first and third with only one out.

However, Tigers relief pitcher Casey Tallent was able to work out of the traffic, only allowing one run to score and helping Clemson secure the 5-2 win. 

The team was able to put a four-game losing streak behind them and get back on track against a good South Carolina ball club. 

“Playing the Gamecocks, you forget about everything that’s happened,” Wright said. “And every team goes through a tough stretch, but it definitely made us stronger.”

Equally as impressive for the Tigers was that they kept a South Carolina team that has averaged over 11 runs per game heading into the series at rest. This defensive showing was in large thanks due to starting pitcher Austin Gordon, who logged 4.2 innings on the mound and allowed three hits, striking out two hitters along the way.

Gordon credited his pitching coach, Jimmy Belanger, for his impressive showing on Friday.

“We just made some tiny adjustments,” Gordon said of his ability to have a bounce back performance. “We worked a couple of new pitches in there just to have more of a mix, and I think it worked pretty well.”

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Thomas Romano, Asst. Sports Editor
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