Clemson drops first game to South Carolina
The “Reedy River Rivalry” kicked off a weekend series for the Tigers against South Carolina. Friday, the Tigers faced off on their home turf at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in front of 5,933 Clemson and South Carolina fans.
Clemson dropped the first game for the fourth year in a row. However, Clemson has rallied to come back and defeat the Gamecocks in the two following games.
Grayson Byrd would hit a two-run homer to give the Tigers an early lead but South Carolina would hit back to even the score at the top of the second inning on a Jacob Eyster two- run homer and would soon then follow with a three-run homer by TJ Hopkins that would extend the Gamecocks lead to five. Clemson would only bring in two more runs for the entire game.
Clemson would leave eight runners stranded, had 12 strikeouts and were caught stealing twice coming up with no stolen bases throughout the entirety of the game.
The Tigers were faced up against a tough pitcher, a pitcher who Monte Lee said he recruited hard. Brett Kerry gave the Tigers fits when he came up on the bump. Kerry gave up one hit over three-and-one third innings. The Gamecock bullpen gave up just one run and five scattered runs throughout the course of the game. Kerry struck out seven of the 12 batters he faced during his time on the bump.
Brooks Crawford started on the bump for the Tigers but early difficulty would lead to the senior being replaced by reliever Mat Clark who was absolutely on point for the Tigers. Clark would pitch for 4 ⅓ innings, giving up just two hits, striking out six and walking one. “Mat Clark is one of those guys that if you looked at his stats, if you just look at his stats, you would think he’s 6’5 and throws 92. But man, can he pitch. He’s as cool as a cucumber out there. I don’t know if his heart beats when he’s out there.” Head Coach Monte Lee said after the game.
Brooks Crawford only pitched two innings and threw only 55 pitches in the entire game. Lee mentioned post-game that Crawford was extremely sharp in the first of the first inning but couldn't bury the breaking ball, which is the big key for the Tigers, keeping the ball in the park against a strong club that is the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Clemson will face off in game two against South Carolina at Flour Field at 1 p.m Saturday and will conclude the series Sunday in Columbia at noon.
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