Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wrapping up the weekend, April 16

Benedict coach Selwyn Young picked up his 200th career victory on Saturday during
the Tigers' doubleheader split with Paine. ( file photo)

Game of the day
South Carolina 6, Mississippi State 1
A five-run eighth inning allowed South Carolina (21-13, 8-7) to avoid an SEC series sweep at home. Former Hanna High star Adam Hill pitched effectively, but was the latest Gamecocks starter to fall victim to almost non-existent support from the offense. Freshman Carlos Cortes hit his third home run of the series, Madison Stokes had three hits and L.T. Tolbert added two. Perhaps the best news for the Gamecocks was closer Tyler Johnson pitched the ninth, striking out two of the three batters he faced. It was the second appearance of the week for Johnson, who before Tuesday had not pitched since the Clemson series in early March because of arm issues.

Series of the weekend
Coastal Carolina takes 2 of 3 at South Alabama

The Chanticleers had three tight Sun Belt Conference games for the second straight weekend and left Mobile in sole possession of first place in the East Division. Coastal won Thursday's opener, 4-3, on Kevin Woodall's 10th-inning homer. The host Jaguars scored three runs in the second, but Coastal tied the score with three in the fifth.  On Friday the Chanticleers scored four in the eighth and held on for an 11-9 victory. South Alabama salvage salvaged Saturday's finale by scoring three in the eighth and in the ninth for a 4-3 walk-off win.

Rising: Voorhees went 2-0 this week to extend its winning streak to 11 games.  

Falling: Newberry was on an 11-game winning streak a week ago but went 0-4 this week to fall three games back of Catawba and Lincoln Memorial in the South Atlantic Conference standings.

Elsewhere across the state
* Winthrop (20-16, 8-4) moved into a first-place tie in the Big South Conference with a three-game road sweep over previous leader Liberty.  Presbyterian (20-18, 8-4) gained a share of the lead with its 2-1 series win at Longwood.

* If Mercer wins the regular-season championship in the Southern Conference, the Bears may reflect fondly on the help Wofford (20-17, 5-4) and Furman (14-20, 4-8) gave them this weekend. The Terriers won two of three at UNC Greensboro and the Paladins went 3-0 at Western Carolina. Those results, combined with the Bears' 3-0 weekend at VMI gave the Bears a three-game lead over UNCG and a four-game edge over Western at the mid-point of the conference season.

* Clemson (30-6, 14-3) split its first two games at Florida State (22-15, 8-9). The Tigers scored two runs in the ninth inning Saturday for a 12-10 victory after the Seminoles wiped out a 10-1 deficit. It was the Seminoles who jumped to an early lead Sunday, and they held on for a 7-3 win. Seth Beer homered in each game for the Tigers, who fell a half-game behind Louisville in the ACC Atlantic Division standings entering Sunday's series finale (7 p.m., ESPNU).

* Benedict coach Selwyn Young got his 200th career victory when the Tigers (20-11, 10-5) beat Paine in the opener of Saturday's doubleheader. Benedict dropped two of three in the series to fall two games behind Albany State in the SIAC East standings. The Tigers and Paine are tied for second.

* Claflin (12-27, 6-9) swept a three-game series with Clark Atlanta to move into a fourth-place tie in the SIAC East.

* The Friday games of the weekend series for Benedict and Claflin were played at Fluor Field in Greenville as part of the HBCU Classic to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day. The goal of providing more exposure for the programs seems to have been met. Announced attendance for each game was more than 1,700. The teams sometimes struggle to crack 100 in attendance.

* Spartanburg Methodist (30-16, 10-4) won three of four over USC Sumter (24-23, 5-11) to remain one game behind USC Lancaster (36-11, 11-3) and and assure that next weekend's series at Doomsday Corner in Lancaster will determine the NJCAA Region 10 regular-season champion. The Pioneers can win the region only by winning the series. Florence-Darlington Tech (31-15, 10-6) could get the other first-round bye in the tournament with four-game sweep at USC Sumter and three losses by either Lancaster or SMC.

* USC Beaufort (29-15, 12-9) clinched a spot in the Sun Conference Tournament by winning two of three at Thomas.

* Mount Olive's three-game sweep at Erskine (24-17, 13-11) allowed the Trojans to formally wrap up the top seed for the Conference Carolinas Tournament. North Greenville (34-12, 17-7) moved past idle Belmont Abbey into second place by sweeping Pfeiffer.

* Newberry (28-18, 13-8) was swept at Lincoln Memorial to fall out of a four-way tie for first place in the South Atlantic Conference standings.

* USC Aiken (30-11, 14-7) won two of three over Francis Marion (28-16, 9-2) and stayed within two games of first-place  North Georgia with two weeks of Peach Belt Conference play remaining.

* It was a lost weekend for teams on the Charleston peninsula. The Citadel (11-22, 3-6) lost two of three at Samford and is now tied with VMI and Furman for sixth in the SoCon standings. College of Charleston (17-19, 7-5) was swept at Northeastern. The teams entered the weekend tied for the CAA lead. The Cougars fell behind Elon and into a tie for third with Delaware. Charleston Southern (17-18, 6-9 lost two of three at home against Gardner-Webb in Big South play.

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