April 17, 2002
CLEMSON S. C.- Steve Thomas batted 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI and Blake Taylor earned his SEC-leading ninth save as the seventh ranked South Carolina baseball team upset first ranked Clemson 8-6 at Doug Kinsmore Stadium Wednesday evening. The victory moves South Carolina’s record to 29-8 on the year, while the loss drops the Tigers to 31-5.
Freshman RHP Aaron Rawl relieved Gamecock starter Gary Bell and picked up his first career victory, hurling 3.1 innings of relief and allowing one earned run and two hits. Steve Reba took the loss for the Tigers and he is now 8-1 on the year.
The Gamecocks opened the scoring in the first inning as Thomas hit a first pitch fastball off of Clemson starter Jeff Hourigan over the left field fence to put USC up 1-0 in the first. Brian Buscher added a run in the second as he belted another solo home run to left center, putting USC ahead 2-0.
Clemson came back in the bottom of the inning as Michael Johnson hit a home run to right field to move the score to 2-1.
Carolina got another run back in the third as Buscher knocked in Yaron Peters with a single to left center. Clemson came back again in the bottom of the inning with a run of their own as Chad Coder scored off a groundout to make the score 3-2.
Drew Meyer’s RBI single to score Landon Powell in the top of the fourth increased USC’s lead to 4-2 and ran Hourigan from the game. The Tigers bounced back in their half of the inning to take their first lead with three runs off of Bell. Clemson took its first lead of the game with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Hourigan, in the game as a designated hitter, scored on a Bell wild pitch. Collin Mahoney and David Slevin each added RBI singles putting Clemson on top 5-4.
The Tiger lead would be short however, as the Gamecocks reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth. Drew Meyer hit a slow roller down the first base line bobbled by Reba that Meyer beat out to first, and scored Powell to move the game to a 5-5 deadlock. After Meyer stole second, Thomas knocked a two-out RBI double down the left field line to score Melillo and Meyer and give the Gamecocks a 7-5 lead.
Rawl got himself out of a jam in the bottom half of the inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, Rawl struck out Chad Coder and got Collin Mahoney to ground into a 5-3 double play to end the inning.
Khalil Greene came back for the Tigers in the bottom of the sixth as he knocked a home run to center field off Rawl to bring the Tigers one run closer.
Carolina would score once more in the top of the eighth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Tiger reliever Paul Harrelson walked Justin Harris to score pinch runner Tim Seaton and give the Gamecocks a two-run lead.
Taylor entered in the top of the eighth and was able to retire six of the eight hitters he faced in two innings of work to earn his ninth save.
USC will be back in action Friday evening in SEC play as the Gamecocks host the LSU Tigers. First pitch on Friday night is set for 7 p.m.