CLEMSON, S.C. – South Carolina junior right-hander Clarke Schmidt pitched 5.2 scoreless innings and combined with relievers Josh Reagan and Tyler Johnson for a five-hit shutout and a dropped fly ball in the sixth inning led to a pair of runs as fourth ranked South Carolina (7-3) defeated Clemson (6-3) 2-0 on a chilly Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Schmidt battled despite not having his best control. He allowed four hits and seven walks but struck out five and dug deep to get three key double plays in the win. He is now 2-0 on the year. Reagan struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fourth save of the season. Clemson starter Charlie Barnes suffered the loss and is 0-1 on the year. He allowed two runs, both unearned, on three hits in 7.1 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Schmidt got double plays in the first, fourth and fifth innings to keep the game in hand for the Gamecocks. The biggest was in the fourth after Clemson had loaded the bases with one out. A grounder up the middle by K.J. Bryant was fielded cleanly by shortstop Madison Stokes, who threw over to first for the 6-3 double play to keep the game in check.
A pair of Clemson errors in the top of the 6th inning would lead to both runs for the Gamecocks. TJ Hopkins reached base to open the frame on a fielding error by Clemson shortstop Logan Davidson. After a sacrifice bunt from Jonah Bride moved Hopkins over to second base, Matt Williams would bounce a single into left field to give the Gamecocks runners on the corners. With two outs, Madison Stokes lifted a fly ball into short right field. Clemson right fielder K.J. Bryant would get underneath but drop the fly ball allowing both runners to score and give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead.
Clemson threatened once more in the ninth inning. Weston Jackson walked with one out. With two outs and Jackson still on first base, Clemson designated hitter Reed Rohlman belted a liner into the gap in left-center, but center fielder TJ Hopkins made a diving catch for the final out to preserve the Carolina victory.
The two-out dropped fly ball in right field by Bryant led to both runs for the Gamecocks.
Carolina pitchers came up with big pitches with Clemson runners on base as Clemson finished 0-for-14 at the plate with runners on base and left 11 on base for the contest.
South Carolina shut out Clemson for the first time since an 8-0 victory in Columbia o March 3, 2013. That season, the Gamecocks shut out Clemson twice with a 6-0 victory also on March 1 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Matt Williams’ sixth inning single extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Clarke Schmidt lowered his ERA to 0.48 for the season. He has 19 strikeouts in 18.2 innings pitched with a .164 opponents batting average. He has allowed just one earned run for the season.
Tyler Johnson now has four saves in four relief appearances with a 1.69 ERA and just one run allowed in 5.1 innings of work. Josh Reagan has allowed just one run in nine innings of work in six relief appearances with opponents batting .129 against him.
QUOTABLE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK We were fortunate to win tonight. I honestly thought that Clemson battled and competed in the batter’s box probably a little bit better than we did tonight. We had a couple of breaks go our way. They made a couple of errors in the inning we scored two runs. Our pitchers were outstanding. We pitched out of some tough jams, got some big double plays but all in all it’s a big win. Anytime you come to Clemson and win, it’s a big win. I think we can play better. I think we can compete better in the batter’s box and be a better hitting team then what we showed tonight. That being said, Charlie Barnes was fantastic. He was terrific and I think him and Clarke were terrific. It’s what college baseball is all about. Reagan and TJ were awesome as well. We will have to play much better the rest of the weekend if we want to win another game this weekend.