New coach. Same result.
Clemson earned the series win over South Carolina for the fourth consecutive season, topping the Gamecocks 8-7 Sunday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in the rubber match between the in-state rivals.
Drew Wharton hit an RBI triple off the wall in right field in the ninth inning to give the Tigers the walk-off victory. USC won Game 1 Friday afternoon in walk-off fashion.
The Tigers won two out of three games against USC each of the past four years. South Carolina won the first game, only to lose the next two, the past three years.
Monte Lee is now 3-0 in series against South Carolina as the head coach of the Tigers. Mark Kingston falls to 0-1 in his first year as USC’s coach.
The Tigers (10-1) scored six runs in the first four innings and built a 6-0 lead before the Gamecocks (7-5) clawed their way back into the game.
But USC was unable to overcome the big early deficit, six walks and six wild pitches in the loss.
“Want to give credit to coach Mark Kingston, his staff and their team today,” Lee said. “What an unbelievable job of fighting back. We were up 6-0 and they kept chipping away, chipping away, putting together an unbelievable top of the ninth inning there to tie the ballgame. ... But how about our guys? We just seem to find a way. ... Our guys compete pretty hard as well.”
South Carolina plays Appalachian State on Tuesday in Charlotte. Clemson hosts Wofford.
“I learned a lot about my team today,” Kingston said. “I learned that when we fell behind 6-0 we’re not going to give up to anybody at any time, and I think that’s important. The message I just gave the team is that we’re obviously disappointed with the loss, but we learned a lot about ourselves today. A lot of teams in this ballpark, falling behind 6-0, would not have done what we did. So we learned a lot of good things.”