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March 4, 2016

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt struck out a career-high nine batters in eight scoreless innings of work and Alex Destino went 5-for-5 with four RBI as 13th-ranked South Carolina defeated Clemson 8-1 on Friday evening in front of a sellout crowd of 8242 at Founders Park.

A five-run fifth inning broke open a one-run game and was enough for Schmidt, who pitched the longest outing of his career. With the win he is now 3-0 on the year. Clemson starter Charlie Barnes suffered the loss and is 1-1 for the season. He allowed six runs, three earned on seven hits in five innings of work.

South Carolina went ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. John Jones doubled into the gap in left-center and scored on Alex Destino’s base hit into right field.

It would remain that way until the fifth inning when the Gamecocks increased the lead to six runs. Marcus Mooney would single with one out and Danny Blair reached on a catcher’s interference to give Carolina a pair of runners. A throwing error by Clemson first baseman Chris Williams on a fielder’s choice went past shortstop Eli White and allowed Mooney to score the second run of the game. Jonah Bride would drive in the third one with a RBI single to right-center scoring Blair. After Jones was hit by a pitch, Destino would drive in two more with a RBI single to left-center. LT Tolbert would drive in the fifth run of the inning to make it 6-0 on a two-out RBI single.

Carolina added two runs in the eighth inning as Bride drove in his second run of the game and Destino tallied his fourth RBI of the contest.

The five-run fifth inning gave Carolina a six-run cushion on its way to the victory.

South Carolina doubled up Clemson on hits as the Gamecocks belted out 12, while the Tigers tallied just six for the evening.

• Today’s attendance was a sell out at 8242. This is the first sell out of the season and 44th in Founders park history.
• Clarke Schmidt recorded a career-high nine strikeouts, while setting a career-high in innings pitched with eight.
• John Jones and Dom Thompson-Williams have each reached base in all 10 games this year.
• Jones owns a six-game hitting streak, as does Thompson-Williams. Jonah Bride has hit safely in six games as well.
• South Carolina has tallied 10 or more hits in seven of 10 games this year.
• South Carolina pitchers have struck out 10 or more batters in seven of 10 games this year.
• South Carolina has allowed five runs or less in all 10 games this year.

Head Coach Chad Holbrook

“It was a big win for us against a really good Clemson team. They’re very offensive. I looked at their lineup before the game and knew our hands were going to be full. Clarke [Schmidt] pitched around some trouble early in the first inning. Then after that he settled in, from a command standpoint. He was so wired and jacked up for the game tonight that he was a little bit wild there in the first couple of innings, but after he settled down he started commanding his fastball, slider and breaking ball better. He showed that he is a terrific pitcher. It’s good to get the weekend off to a good start. Clarke doesn’t get to pitch every game, so we’re going to go with the freshman tomorrow out in Greenville. He has a good arm too, and we’re going to have to throw well to keep those guys at bay. We just got a little momentum going there in the fifth inning and our crowd was terrific. They got into the game, our players got into the game and that five run fifth inning gave us some breathing room. We pitched our way through a good game and got a win.”

Game two of the three-game series between the Gamecocks and Tigers will take place at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. at 2:30 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”