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Seddon Helps South Carolina Clinch
By John Whittle
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
(photo by Ryan Bethea)
South Carolina clinched the series and won for the 12th time in
15 games against Clemson with a 10-2 thumping on Saturday
afternoon at Fluor Field.
The Gamecocks (9-0) scored five runs, four
unearned, in the top of the third inning, five more in the top
of the ninth and used a shutdown relief performance from junior
Joel Seddon (pictured) to take another rivalry series.
The Tigers (6-3) have dropped 22 of the past 30
games in the series and the past two have come in part due to
their own mistakes. Four errors and eight walks plagued coach
Jack Leggett’s club and the Gamecocks took advantage of every
opportunity. South Carolina scored six unearned runs in the
game, and frustrations ran high at the end when a hard slide
into third base caused a shouting match and a lot of
finger-pointing between the two teams.
“They’re an explosive team,” Leggett said. “If
you give them an opening, give them an extra out over the course
of an inning, it can cost you. It cost us in the third inning
and cost us at the end.”
A day after committing four errors in a 9-6 loss
to the Gamecocks, two Tigers errors opened the floodgates in the
top of the third inning. Second baseman Steve Wilkerson booted a
ground ball to begin the inning that started the rally, which
saw the Gamecocks score five runs on five hits.
Sophomore Marcus Mooney’s two-out single plated a
pair of runs and gave his team a 4-0 lead. Junior Tanner
English’s push bunt for a single chased Clemson starter Matthew
Crownover with two outs in the top of the third inning.
Crownover allowed five runs
(one earned) on six hits and three walks. He struck out three on
56 pitches over 2.2 innings. The left-hander picked up the loss,
dropping his record to 2-1 on the season.
“It’s such a fine line. We’re evenly matched,”
South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook said. “We have some really
good players in our dugout and they do as well. The ball has
bounced our way, so to speak.”
Clemson scratched across a run in the bottom of
the fourth and fifth innings off South Carolina starting pitcher
Jack Wynkoop to cut its deficit to 5-2. Junior Jay Baum notched
an RBI single to open the scoring for the Tigers. Freshman Chris
Okey registered a run-scoring ground out for his team-leading
12th RBI of the year.
Tigers sophomore Zack Erwin kept his team in the
game after coming in to relieve Crownover. The left-hander
didn’t encounter major trouble in 5.1 innings, allowing three
hits and struck out seven. He did, however, walk the first two
hitters of the ninth inning before leaving the game and was
charged with two earned runs.
The Tigers were within striking distance and had
the go-ahead run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh
inning with one out. Closer Joel Seddon, who entered the game
with a runner on base and no outs in the inning, coaxed an easy
double play ball that was botched by Mooney.
After a walk loaded the bases, Seddon struck out
junior Steven Duggar and Wilkerson - the third inning error
culprits - to end the inning and preserve the lead. The Tigers
wouldn’t threaten again as the Gamecocks clinched the season
“We just couldn’t quite get the big hit when we
needed it,” Leggett said. “Our golden opportunity was when we
had the bases loaded with one out and came up dry there. If we
scratch something across there, maybe things are a little
different for us. We have to go back to work tomorrow and that’s
all there is to it.”
Seddon finished the game
allowing two walks and striking out two over the final three
innings. He picked up his third save of the season in as many
opportunities. Saturday was the first time he allowed a base
runner in 5 innings on the season.
“Joel has been terrific,” Holbrook said. “He’s a
veteran, he’s older, been in the program and knows what’s going
on. He’s got good stuff and he’s a tough nut. It’s what you want
in the back of the bullpen.”
South Carolina added plenty of insurance runs in
the top of the ninth when junior Connor Bright lifted a
sacrifice fly to right field to score Schrock. DC Arendas and
Mooney worked bases-loaded walks.
Wilkerson made Clemson’s fourth and final error
when he took a routine ground ball off the chest that allowed
two runs to score. As Leggett protested Arendas being called
safe at the plate, Okey threw to third base to nail Mooney for
the final out of the inning.
Baum, Clemson’s third baseman, stood over the top
of Mooney taunting him before coaches and players joined umpires
in restoring order.
“It’s Clemson and South Carolina,” Holbrook said.
“Emotions are going to get high from time to time.”
South Carolina will start freshman Wil Crowe
while Clemson will counter with junior Jake Long in Sunday’s
series finale at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C.