Baseball: Gamecocks sweep Clemson

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - Trent Kline was ready for extra innings.

Kline, South Carolina's catcher, thought he had grounded into a double play to end the ninth inning. Instead, Kline's hard shot went for a game-winning single in the Gamecocks' 3-2 victory Sunday that gave them a sweep of their two-game series with Clemson.

Clemson's Taylor Harbin, who started at second base the past three years, was switched to shortstop this week because of a neck injury to regular Stan Widmann. But the usually sure-handed Harbin couldn't come up with Kline's hard shot and James Darnell came around with the winning run.

"I know I hit it well and I thought, 'Hopefully, I didn't hit into a double play,' " Kline said. "We were fortunate it turned out the way it did."

The Gamecocks (10-1) trailed 2-1 in the eighth, but rallied with runs in the final two innings off Clemson's closer, Daniel Moskos (2-1).

Moskos walked Darnell to lead off the ninth and, after South Carolina sacrificed him to second, intentionally walked Jon Willard to set up Kline's hit.

The ball rolled to Harbin's right and by the time he recovered, it was too late to catch Darnell.

Darnell said as soon as he saw the Kline's hit near the ground, "I thought I better get home as fast as I can."

Phil Disher had two RBIs, giving him six in the two games and 19 so far this season.

Combined with Saturday's 12-0 shutout at Clemson (7-3), the Gamecocks won the first two of their annual four-game series with the Tigers for the third time in four seasons.

"It's huge. Anytime you beat Clemson it's a big win, no matter how you do it," Kline said. "I've been out before and people have been telling me, 'If you beat Clemson, our season's complete.' "

That's usually how it is in this state, which splits down orange and garnet lines between Clemson and South Carolina supporters.

"There's just no better way to beat them," Darnell said.

It was the second straight sold-out crowd the teams played before. There were 6,217 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday and 5,913 here at Sarge Frye Field. The excitement was intensified with both clubs ranking among the top five in several college baseball polls.

"It was just a fun weekend for us," Disher said.

Will Atwood (1-0), South Carolina's third pitcher, worked the ninth to get the win.

"If you're going to be a real good club at the end of the year, you're going to have win some games late and come from behind," South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. "Right now, I'm pleased with our approach."

The Gamecocks came in to this one after Saturday's blowout, their first shutout at the state rival's place since 1974.

And South Carolina looked ready to keep things going in front of the home crowd with three hits in the first inning that led to Disher's fifth RBI of the weekend and a 1-0 lead.

But with two on, Clemson starter Ryan Hinson got James Darnell to ground into a force play before striking out Andrew Crisp to end the threat.

Cisco's effort - he carried a perfect game into the fifth inning - made it seem the Gamecocks' run might hold up.

South Carolina preserved the shutout in the fifth when Marquez Smith was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall.

In the seventh, however, Clemson tied it up on Smith's RBI single past shortstop. The Tigers took the lead an inning later when freshman Addison Johnson's single drove home fellow freshman J.D. Burgess, playing because of the neck injury to Widmann.

South Carolina tied it 2-all in their half of the eighth. Following a two-out walk to Chisenhall and single by Justin Smoak, Disher blasted a shot to left center.

But Johnson, Clemson's left fielder, relayed to Harbin who threw out Smoak trying to score from first.

Both starting pitchers had strong outings. South Carolina's Cisco allowed one run over 6 2-3 innings while Hinson gave up only one hit after the first inning and had five strikeouts in six innings of work.

Hinson doesn't expect the defeats to haunt the Tigers.

"It's two tough losses in a row," Hinson said. "But to be a good team, you've got to take tough losses, run with them and rebound."


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