South Carolina ace Clarke Schmidt was determined to not let USC’s 15-0 loss to North Carolina on Wednesday night carry over into the weekend series against Georgia.
The sophomore pitched one of the best outings of his career Friday night against the Bulldogs, throwing a complete game and allowing only one run to lead the Gamecocks to a 3-1 win.
The Georgia native struck out 10, and held the Bulldogs to five hits. The only run Schmidt allowed came on a solo homer in the fourth inning.
“This was a big game to me being in my home state, and I wanted to show everybody that this team and that 15-0 loss we had in the midweek, we were going to put that behind us and we were going to play with a chip on our shoulder,” Schmidt said.
He retired 14 hitters in a row after allowing back-to-back hits in the fourth inning before giving up an infield single with one out in the ninth.
The Bulldogs had the tying run at the plate in the form of Daniel Nichols with two outs in the ninth when Carolina pitching coach Jerry Meyers came to the mound to meet with Schmidt.
Nichols had already homered off of Schmidt, who was afraid he was being pulled, but he stayed in and got a groundout to finish off the complete game. It was his second complete game in his past three starts.
“At first I was praying he wouldn’t take me out and hoping he wouldn’t take me out, and I think he saw that in me,” Schmidt said. “I know earlier in the game he put a good swing on a ball, and I’m not just going to let that go by. I wanted that guy. That’s the competitive drive in me.”
Schmidt’s outing was just what South Carolina needed after USC walked 10 batters and allowed eight of them to score in Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Tar Heels.
“When you lose a tough game like that, it kind of hurts in your side a little bit and makes you pitch with a chip on your shoulder,” Schmidt said. “We played with a chip on our shoulder.”