South Carolina’s shutout streak may have ended after five games and 52 innings, but the Gamecocks extended their season-opening winning streak to eight games.
Rallying from a five-run deficit behind the big bat of junior catcher Grayson Greiner, No. 3 USC defeated No. 11 Clemson 9-6 Friday night before a sellout crowd at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks (8-0) have now won 11 of the last 14 games against the rival Tigers (6-2) dating back to the 2010 College World Series.
With his team trailing 6-1 in the fifth inning, Greiner blasted a grand slam over the left-field wall off Clemson starter Daniel Gossett. The following inning, after an RBI fielder’s choice by Connor Bright, Greiner brought home the go-ahead run with an RBI single for a 7-6 lead. With three hits on the night, he raised his average to .379 to go with a team-high three home runs and 15 RBIs on the season.
Junior center fielder Tanner English added a solo home run in eighth. The comeback made a winner of reliever Cody Mincey (1-0), who pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings before giving way to closer Joel Seddon. The junior got three quick outs to record his second save.
Clemson reliever Clay Bates (0-1) took the loss.
The teams play Saturday at 2 p.m. at Greenville’s Fluor Field. USC left-hander Jack Wynkoop will face Clemson left-hander Matthew Crownover. The Tigers, who have lost six straight games at Carolina Stadium, will be the home team.
The Tigers jumped out to a 5-1 lead with four runs in the fourth inning off USC starter Jordan Montgomery. The big blows were Tyler Krieger’s bases-loaded double and Garrett Boulware’s RBI double on consecutive at-bats. They added another run in the fifth on Montgomery’s error on a throw to third trying to cut down a runner on a sacrifice bunt.
USC took a 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a couple of Clemson miscues. Max Schrock reached safely when Boulware, the catcher, couldn’t handle a little nubber out in front of home plate. After a wild pitch by Gossett sent Schrock to second, Kyle Martin delivered a two-out RBI single to center.
The Tigers quickly tied the game at 1-1 in the second inning on Weston Wilson’s two-out RBI single that scored Steven Duggar, who led off the inning with a single. That snapped USC’s streak of scoreless innings at 52 as well as Montgomery’s scoreless streak dating back to last season at 34 2/3.