Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday's highlights, March 3

Game of the day No. 1
South Carolina 2, Clemson 0
A pair of Clemson errors in the sixth inning produced the game's only runs at Doug Kingsmore Stadium as the Gamecocks (7-3) took the opener of the three-game matchup of Top 15 teams. USC starter Clarke Schmidt flirted with disaster all game, walking seven batters in 5 2/3 innings. But the Gamecocks wriggled off the hook time and again -- three times because double plays started by Gamecocks shortstop Madison Stokes.

As expected, pitching was the story of the game. Clemson (6-3) outhit USC 5-3, and Tigers' starting pitcher Charlie Barnes deserved a better fate. He walked two and struck out seven in 7 1/2 innings.

The Tigers got the potential tying run to the plate against USC closer Tyler Johnson and had 2016 national player of the year Seth Beer on deck, but USC's T.J. Hopkins made a diving snag of Reed Rohlman's fly ball to left center to end the game.

Play shifts to Fluor Field in Greenville for a 1 p.m. matchup. The game will be streamed on the Internet through and The series concludes at 1:30 p.m. in Columbia.

Game of the day No. 2
College of Charleston 3, The Citadel 2
The Cougars' Bailey Ober and the Bulldogs' J.P. Sears hooked up in a superb pitcher's duel, but a three-run home run by Logan McRae in the bottom of the eighth lifted CofC (5-4) to victory in the Charleston rivalry.

Ober allowed six hits, walked none and struck out 12 in eight innings, but was trailing 2-0 when he threw his last pitch. That's because Sears struck out 15 in seven innings for the Bulldogs (3-5).

In the Cougars' eighth, Luke Manzo singled and was on third with two outs when Danny Wondrack was hit by a pitch. McRae, who had struck out his three previous at-bats, homered to left field. Nathan Ocker struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the victory.

The teams play at Joe Riley Park Saturday, then return to Patriots Point on Sunday for the series finale.

Across the state
* Alex Cunningham struck out a school-record 14 batters in 6 2/3 innings, but Coastal Carolina (6-5) needed a three-run rally in the eighth to beat San Francisco, 7-5, in the Tidelands Health Classic in Conway.

* Adam Scott struck out 17 in 8 1/3 innings as Wofford beat Pittsburgh, 4-3. Max McDougald and Alex Malsch had three hits apiece for the Terriers (3-6).

* A.J. Priaulx's double scored Brett Auckland in the bottom of the ninth to lift Presbyterian (6-5) to a 3-2 win over Tennessee Martin in the First Pitch Invitational at Fluor Field in Greenville.

* In the nightcap of the First Pitch Invitational, Michigan State's Danny Gleaves homered in the seventh inning to lift the Spartans over Furman, 3-2.  MSU plays in Greenville annually because Greenville Drive owner Craig Brown is a Michigan State grad. Jake Crawford had two hits and a walk for Furman, (6-3). Play shifts to Furman's Latham Stadium Saturday before returning to downtown Greenville on Sunday.

* Ryan Brown had four hits and Taylor McCuen drove in four runs as North Greenville beat Belmont Abbey, 11-7 in a Conference Carolinas series opener. The Crusaders (13-4 overall, 3-1 CC) rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win.

* Trejon Smith continued his torrid hitting, going 4-for-4 as Newberry pounded Brevard, 17-1, in South Atlantic Conference play.  Smith is hitting .600 (21-for-35) over his last eight games for the Wolves (10-8, 1-0 SAC), who are on a six-game winning streak.

* Coker (11-5, 3-1 SAC) continued to play well for first-year coach Luke Harrigan, beating Lincoln Memorial, 4-2, to open a South Atlantic Conference series in Harrogate, Tenn.

* USC Aiken scored two runs in the ninth inning to top Armstrong State, 9-7, and remain unbeaten in Peach Belt Conference play. The Pacers (13-3, 4-0) hit three first-inning home runs and built a 7-0 lead, but the host Pirates rallied to tie the score, aided by Ryan Patterson's second grand slam in as many games.

* Bailey Connell singled, homered and drove in four runs as Lander (8-9, 3-1 Peach Belt) took the opener of a conference series with North Georgia, 9-5.

* Chase Watts' third hit of the game produced the winning run in the 11th inning as Erskine (13-4, 4-0) Conference Carolinas) beat Southern Wesleyan, 6-5, to stay unbeaten in league play. Jason Molden's grand slam in the bottom of the ninth extended the game for the Warriors (4-13, 1-3).

* USC Beaufort (11-4) swept a doubleheader at Stillman.The Sand Sharks have won 10 of 11 games since a  1-3 start.

* Chase Allen hit a pair of home runs, but Limestone (12-7, 2-2 Conference Carolinas) lost at Pfeiffer, 6-3. The Saints have hit 39 homers in 19 games.

* USC Salkehatchie (9-13) missed a chance to pull to  to .500 on the season, losing a pair of one-run games to Olney Central at the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach. The Indians dropped the opener, 4-3, in nine innings and lost the nightcap, 1-0. All the scoring in the opener came in the ninth inning.

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