Tigers Take the Series for Fourth Straight year in Walk-Off Fashion

Photo by Cade Crenshaw @ESPCade

CLEMSON, SC -- The Tigers didn't take long getting things started in this one. In the bottom of the first inning, after two fly outs from Davidson and Beer, Patrick Cromwell sent a dinger over the left field wall to give Clemson a 1-0 lead. Both the Tigers and Gamecocks would leave two runners stranded on base in the first inning.

After giving up a home run in the first inning, Gilreath responded well by striking out the side in the bottom of the second. Clemson was able to drive in two more runs in the bottom of the third off of a Chris Williams single and Robert Jolly ground out to third that scored Williams from third base.

The score was 3-0 Clemson heading into the bottom of the fourth. Justin Hawkins, the USC-Sumter transfer, would get on base with a one out double down the left field line. After a Teodosio strike out, Logan Davidson would come back up to bat for the third time. He would hit a ground ball, stand-up double down the left field line to score Hawkins from second.

Gilreath would intentionally walk Seth Beer in the next at-bat and would end up paying for it. On a wild pitch to Cromwell, Beer advanced to second and Davidson to third. Cromwell would end up sending a line drive to right field which would plate Davidson and Beer, making it 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

That would be the end of the day for Gilreath who finished with 3.2 innings pitched throwing 82 total pitches. He gave up SIX runs, all earned, on SEVEN hits and THREE walks while striking out FIVE batters.

The Gamecocks would finally find some life in the top of the fifth when their two leadoff batters, Justin Row and Noah Campbell, both hit singles to put runners at first and second for TJ Hopkins at-bat. Hopkins would put his second pitch in the at-bat over the left field wall, giving South Carolina their first runs of the game and making things a little more interesting. Higginbotham retired the next three batters to keep the Gamecocks at bay heading to the bottom of the fifth with the score 6-3 Tigers.

Spencer Strider came out of the bullpen for relief of Higginbotham to start of the sixth inning. Jonah Bride would start the inning off reaching first on a walk and would then advance to third on a double to right-center field from Olson. Carlos Cortes would send Bride home on a ground-out to first base, drawing the Gamecocks another run closer, 6-4.

Eddy Demurias started the bottom of the sixth in relief for Chapman. On just his second pitch of the inning, he gave up a home run to right field by Logan Davidson, pushing the Tigers lead back to three runs, 7-4.

In the top of the eighth, Carson Spiers would come in to relieve Strider. He retired Bride to start the inning but would give up a double off the left field wall in the next at-bat to Olson. Monte Lee would end his day and put in Ryne Huggins to relieve, facing Carlos Cortes to start. Spiers threw a wild pitch on an 0-2 count, advancing Olson to third. Cortes would single to second and score Olson later in the at-bat, cutting the Tigers lead to 7-5.

That would end Spiers day at the mound as Clemson would bring on Ryley Gilliam to try and close the game out. Matt Williams, pinch hitting for Row, would be his first at-bat. Williams would ground into a double play to end the top half of the inning with the Gamecocks still trailing 7-5.

After walking Logan Davidson and advancing him to second on a 1-0 count wild pitch to Seth Beer, he would intentionally put Beer on first. The Gamecocks would take him out of the game and put in Mlodzinski to relieve, inheriting two outs and two runners on first and second. Cromwell would ground into a fielder's choice, putting Beer out at second.

Campbell would lead off the top of the ninth reaching first on a fielding error by Jordan Greene at 2B. Hopkins would strike out and Stokes would be walked in his at-bat, leaving runners on first and second with one out. Tolbert was up to bat next and hit a double off the right centerfield wall driving in Campbell and sending Blair to third, closing the gap 7-6.

Cullen hit a sac-fly to centerfield for the second out but driving in the tying run from third to make it 7-7. The Tigers would retire the next two batters and go into the bottom of the ninth with hopes of a walk-off win to take the series.

With one out, a Chris Williams fly out, Robert Jolly would come to the plate and get walked in five pitches, sending him to first with just one out. Then it was Drew Wharton's turn. Wharton was 0-4 on the day coming up to the plate. He went down 0-2 in the count off a foul ball and a swing and a miss but would draw two balls after that.

With the count 2-2 and a runner on first with just one out, Wharton would smash a ball into right field and hit the right field wall for a triple, plating Jolly at home and winning the game for the Tigers, 8-7.

This is the fourth straight series win for the Tigers and third for head coach Monte Lee. In the last three series, Clemson has dropped the Friday night game and come back to win the next two. In postgame, Lee stated that he knew Jolly would score off Wharton's hit saying, "When the ball passed their right fielder twice, I new he would score."

Clemson is now 10-1 on the season and 6-1 in one-run games. The Gamecocks drop to a mediocre 7-5 on the year. It was a tough fought game by both teams and an impressive effort by South Carolina to come back from a 6-0 deficit in the top of the fifth and trailing 7-5 in the top of the ninth, to tie it at 7 before ultimately losing in the bottom half of the ninth.

Photo by Austin Silvey @SilveyESP

Adam Hill was named the series MVP for the Gamecocks.

Photo by Austin Silvey @SilveyESP

Logan Davidson was named Bob Bradley Award MVP for Clemson in the series.

He went 3/6, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 5 R, 8 BB and 2 SB.

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