COLUMBIA, S.C. (The Big Spur) - South Carolina is in a familiar position winning the series-opener against Clemson, but the Gamecocks don’t always have the best luck in closing out the series with a win. The Gamecocks (5-0) have won nine of the last 11 series-opening games between the two sides dating back to 2010.
This is the last game of the weekend between the teams, and head coach Mark Kingston will turned to typical Saturday starter Brannon Jordan for the start. Jordan got a no decision in his first start of the season giving up four runs, three that were earned, in four innings pitched against Dayton.
The Gamecocks will go with a bit of a different lineup today as Jeff Heinrich goes to the bench and Josiah Sightler goes into the outfield.
CF Brady Allen
DH Wes Clarke
RF Dylan Brewer
DH Davis Sharpe
3B Bryar Hawkins
SS James Parker
C Jonathan French
LF Alex Urban
2B Pierce Gallo
1B Caden Grice
CF Bryce Teodosio
NINTH INNING: Myers can’t catch a soft liner to center from Parker. E8. French Ks on a bunt, but Urban lines a single to right and that’ll end the day for Peters, giving way to Sanders. Sanders gets a weak ground ball, but it’s too far to Wimmer’s left. He gloves, and wheels and throws to second to get the force out. Heck of a play, and one that he missed earlier in the game. Clemson asks for it to be reviewed for Callil coming off the base. It’s reviewed, and upheld quickly. And Sanders gets a pop out to Eyster in left to end the inning. Two nights in a row. ... Top of the order up for the Gamecocks. Allen works a leadoff walk against new RHP Estridge. Milone up. No bunt yet. Probably not going to see it because that would just mean they put Clarke on base. First pitch called a strike that looked down to me. Fastball paints the outside corner. Full count. He flies out to the track in center. Got a real good piece of that, but not quite enough. Clarke up. I think you have to pitch to him. You can’t put the winning run in scoring position. First pitch high and out of the zone. A 1-1 fastball misses just outside. Another misses high and away. He walks on a pitch in the dirt. Mendham fans at a first pitch changeup. Fouls off another. He goes down on strikes. That Andrew Eyster guy. A 1-0 pitch lined to right field. Ball game. Dude is just phenomenal. Carolina wins 8-7.
EIGHTH INNING: This is a big spot for Peters facing the top of the order. But, shoot. Strikes out Brewer swinging at a fastball then Sharpe looking. Hawkins pops out to right to end the inning. That was easy. ... Pandya in and gets Burgess to pop out to center to start the inning. Wimmer tries to drop another bunt, but he’s thrown out by a half step. Callil fouls to to third to end the inning. Score tied 7-7.
SEVENTH INNING: Luensmann in. Myers to center, Eyster to left, Allen to right. Luensmann misses just high and just outside with a full count pitch to Brewer. Sharpe up, and he hits a rocket at Mendham, who picks it on the one-hop and fires to Callil for one. The relay back to Luensmann just wasn’t going to work. One on, one down, 2-0 count to Parker. Make it 3-0. Line drive single to left puts two on with one down, and Daniel Lloyd will come in to face French. Yeck. Mendham misses a pop foul. A 2-2 pitch misses just outside. Wanted that call. French walks on a pitch up and out of the zone on the 10th pitch of the at-bat. Infield single that doesn’t stay in Wimmer’s glove. I didn’t think there would be a problem transitioning back to the infield for him. I was wrong. Pinch hitter Reid lines a single to center to bring in two more runs. Tigers now on top with runners on the corners and one down. Peters in, and Wagner pushes a bunt at the first baseman. Mendham tries to flip home, and it’s not in time. Another run in. Peters Ks a man, then Burgess back picks the guy at second base. Tough inning, but nice job by Peters again. ... RHP Hughes into pitch. He’s, uh, deliberate. Allen pops out to right. Milone reaches on an E5. That brings up Clarke, who goes behind 0-2. But then rips a fastball that got too much of the plate to center. Just a single. :shrugs: Mendham digs in. Changeup, changeup. 0-2. He bounces a 1-2 pitch to the right side. Hits off Sharpe’s glove and goes into shallow right. That plates a run, and puts two on with one down for Eyster. Goes ahead of Eyster 0-2. Fastball sounds heavy from here. Eyster hits a ground ball back up the middle. Would have been a tough play anyway, but ball hits the bag and bounces into center. That ties up the score. Myers, who was previously in for defense, up. He tries to bunt but that doesn’t work. Grounds into a routine 4-6-3 double play for most, but he’s fast enough to beat out the relay. Problem is, the umpire adjudged (and confirmed on review), that Eyster took out the shortstop. Automatic out at first. Score tied 7-7.
SIXTH INNING: One pitch, one out for Mahoney. Wagner, who came in for Grice last inning and is playing third base (Sharpe moved from DH to 1B), is coming to the plate and goes 1-1 in the count. Slow roller towards third. Milone doesn’t look like he gets a good handle out of the glove. He looks like he’s throwing the ball with his palm. Mendham can’t pick it out of the dirt. Teodosio fouls out to first base. That’ll do it for Mahoney, who gives way to Jackson Phipps for the lefty on lefty matchup with Brewer. Five pitches, three strikes. Phipps does his job. ... Burgess bounces out to third, but Wimmer gets on base pushing a bunt up the first base line. Dude can hit a ball 400 feet and drop a perfect bunt. Wimmer gets picked off by the pitcher. Goes down as a caught stealing because he was breaking for second base. Callil goes down on strikes to end the inning. Carolina leads 5-3.
FIFTH INNING: Jordan back to the mound, and falls behind Brewer 3-0. Works it to 3-2, but misses and that’ll end his day. Mahoney entering, and he gets Sharpe to pop out to Wimmer at second. Perfectly executed hit-and-run by Hawkins puts runners on the corners with one down. Parker up. He goes down swinging at I think was a splitter maybe. Changeup perhaps. Two down. Runner takes second with no throw as Mahoney goes 0-2 to French. Mahoney’s 95 mph FB misses just low to go 2-2. He drives the same pitch that Parker went down on over Eyster’s head in right field. Plates two with the double. Urban’s ground out to second ends the inning. ... Braylen Wimmer, first pitch fastball, bomb to straightaway center. Callil grounds out to turn it over to the top of the order. That’ll end the day for Olenchuk, who leaves without the opportunity to get a win. Mat Clark enters. He gives up back to back singles to Allen and Milone to left field, bringing up Clarke. Clark on the mound is going at him with 88 mph fastballs, and Clarke swings through two of them. Count goes 2-2 on a FB outside that just missed. They try to bust him in with a fastball. It gets in, but Clarke gets it out. This guy. Man alive. What he’s doing is really impressive. Mendham bounces out to short. Eyster up, and lines a 2-2 double to right field. Sightler hits another ball on the screws to right, which is caught. Another good piece for him, but another out. #ChickenDingers, tho. Carolina leads 5-3.
FOURTH INNING: Jordan back to the mound and starts Urban off with a breaking ball for a strike. Then he fouls a fastball back. Wimmer, moving to his right, fields a ground ball but can’t get his footing to get a throw off. Weird, weird play. It’s a hit. Thigh high fastball swung through by Gallo for the first out of the inning bringing up Grice. I don’t know where that 2-1 pitch missed, but Blue said up. Jordan comes back to strike him out on a fastball, and Callil can’t handle a short hop throw from Burgess, so Urban is safe at second when he shoulda been out. Jordan ahead of nine-hole hitter Teodosio 1-2. 3-2. Don’t lose this guy. Goes down looking at a fastball on the inside corner to end the inning. ... Brewer makes a diving catch on a 2-2 liner off the bat of Eyster to begin the inning. Sightler hits a fastball on the screws, but right at Brewer. Burgess fouls away three 0-2 pitches, including just missing a double to the right field corner, but goes down swinging at a breaking ball to end the inning. Score tied 1-1.
THIRD INNING: Bad start for Jordan to the inning, walking nine-hole hitter Teodosio on a full count pitch after having him 2-2, then falling behind Brewer and giving up a double off the right field wall. Burgess with a helluva block on an 0-2 pitch to Sharpe to keep the runners where they are. Callil catches a pop up. One down. Jordan’s throwing a lot of the 12-6 type of curve balls today, and he’s got Hawkins looking at one for the second out. Parker up. Big time spot here for both guys. After falling behind 3-1, the Gamecocks put Parker on intentionally. Meade out for a visit, and Jordan goes 0-2 with a breaking ball and fastball strike to French. Then elevates a fastball and gets him swinging to end the inning. Big fist pump from Burgess as Jordan calmly walks off the mound. ... Olenchuk making it look really easy. Gets a ground ball by Allen to third, then strikes out Milone on three pitches. He’s pounding the zone working in and out. I’ll take credit for the jinx. Offspeed pitch, down in the zone, halfway up the batters eye in center. Tie ball game. Looked like a changeup. Goes ahead of Mendham 0-2. He hits one to the track, but caught in left to end the inning. Score tied 1-1.
SECOND INNING: Jordan back to the mound, and gets a quick pop out to Milone, who makes the catch just in front of the mound. Goes 0-2 to Gallo. He puts together a nice at-bat, but eventually strikes out. Grice goes down 0-2 taking a breaking ball then a fastball. Then swings through a fastball. ... Eyster goes down on a plus fastball from Olenchuk. He’s put a couple MPHs on his fastball since I saw him last. Sightler goes down on strikes, too. Burgess and Wimmer both drop two-strike singles to the outfield, but Callil goes down on a three-pitch strikeout to end the inning. Clemson leads 1-0.
FIRST INNING: Brannon Jordan to the mound and it’s easy to see that this umpire has an actual strike zone. Brewer works the count to full, taking a couple of pitches, including a 2-2 pitch that was close. But gets Brewer swinging through a fastball, then Sharpe to ground out to second. Walks Hawkins on four pitches, though. Really weren’t close. Allen challenged early and can’t get there. Parker with a line drive to deep left center. He tries to make a diving catch but ball bounces off of his glove. Sightler can’t corral it, and he certainly doesn’t look like an outfielder over there. Tigers go on top early. Jordan goes ahead of French 1-2 in the count. Dribbler back to the mound flips to first for the out. ... Allen up, and he’s first pitch swinging somewhat of a hard one-hopper back to the mound, but Olenchuk makes the play easily. Milone hits a ground ball down the third base line. Nice defensive stab, but very wide throw. Grice, all 6-foot-6 of him, can’t hold the bag. Error. Clarke goes down looking at a changeup on a 2-2 pitch. Mendham, after a 2-2 balk, bounces out to first to end the inning. Clemson leads 1-0.