June 21, 2002
South Carolina continued its journey through the loser’s bracket into the College World Series championship game Friday with a 10-2 win over in-state rival Clemson behind the eight hit complete game pitching of junior left-hander Steven Bondurant.
The win was the second in three days over the Tigers who ended their season with a 54-17 record. South Carolina advanced to a Saturday showdown with Texas by improving to 57-17, the most wins ever by a Gamecock team. Texas swept through the other World Series bracket with three consecutive wins and enters the championship game 56-15.
The Longhorns defeated Rice and Stanford twice to reach the final game while South Carolina had to play five games to get there. After being shut out 11-0 by Georgia Tech in their first game the Gamecocks bounced back to defeat Nebraska 10-8, Georgia Tech 9-5, Clemson 12-4 and Clemson again 10-2. South Carolina evened its season rivalry with Clemson at three wins apiece and assured the Gamecocks of not losing a series to any opponent this season.
Bondurant pitched his second complete game to improve his personal record to 7-4. He struck out seven and walked four, three of them in the third inning when Clemson scored its first run. The other Tiger run scored in the ninth inning. Three of the four hits in the ninth were infield hits.
After a scoreless first inning South Carolina took a 3-0 lead in the second. Steve Thomas walked and moved to third on a one out double by Garris Gonce, the first of his three hits. Brian Buscher was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Landon Powell drove in the first two runs with the first of his two hits. Kevin Melillo, who had three hits, singled to score Buscher.
A two out bobble by Clemson shortstop Khalil Greene, the first of three errors by Greene, allowed Trey Dyson to reach with two outs in the third inning. Gonce singled with Dyson advancing to third. He scored and Gonce moved to second base on a wild pitch by Clemson starter and loser Matt Henrie. Buscher singled to score Gonce and South Carolina led 5-0.
Clemson got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third on two walks and a single by Jeff Baker that scored David Slevin. Bondurant walked a third batter in the inning but pitched out of the jam by striking out Roberto Valiente.
The score remained 5-1 until the eighth when South Carolina scored five times after two were out and sent 10 batters to the plate. With one out Justin Harris doubled. Yaron Peters struck out but Thomas was hit by a pitch and Dyson lined an infield hit off the glove of Clemson second baseman Slevin to load the bases.
Harris and pinch runner Tim Seaton scored on a hit by Gonce. Buscher walked and Dyson scored on a bases loaded walk to Powell. Melillo drove in the final two runs with his third hit of the game.
Pinch hitter L. J. DeMaino led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a bunt single, Clemson’s fifth hit of the game and first since the fifth inning. Jarrod Schmidt popped out and pinch hitter Garrick Evans fanned but Seth Miller singled and David Slevin beat out an infield hit to load the bases. Zane Green’s infield hit scored DeMaino.
Bondurant retired Greene on a fly to right field to sew up the Gamecock victory. Nine of South Carolina’s 13 hits were by the bottom four hitters in the batting order, led by three each by Powell and Melillo and two by Gonce. Harris also had two hits. Harris, Gonce, Powell and Melillo had doubles.
Green had two of Clemson’s eight hits and Greene had a double, extending his NCAA career record for two base hits to 95.
South Carolina, which leads the nation in defense, played its 34th errorless game of the season.
SOUTH CAROLINA 032 000 050 – 10-13-0
CLEMSON 001 000 001 — 2- 8-3
Bondurant and Powell. Henrie, LaMuraa (3), Lumsden (8), Hourigan (8) and P)yzik, Miller (8). W–Bondurant (7-4). L–Henrie (13-13-5). Save–None. 2B–USC, Gonce, Powell, Melillo, Harris; CU, Greene.