South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks rally behind Petry bomb, fall in extra innings

South Carolina baseball couldn't get the bats going until late in Saturday's game against the rival Clemson Tigers, and they couldn't pull off the win in extras.
South Carolina baseball
South Carolina baseball / BART BOATWRIGHT/Staff/File

South Carolina baseball fans were bummed that the Gamecocks' home game in the 3-game rivalry series with Clemson was postponed due to rain on Friday night. However, they didn't have to wait very long for more rivalry baseball in Columbia as the neutral site game in the series was being played at Segra Park (home of the Columbia Fireflies).

The Gamecocks and Tigers engaged in a pitcher's duel on Saturday.

Starting pitchers Eli Jones and Tristan Smith each pitched into the 5th inning without giving up more than 2 runs. Jones was pulled after 4 1/3 innings, having surrendered 2 on a double by Clemson All-American Cam Cannarella. Smith struck out 9 Gamecocks through 5 full innings, and his only run allowed came on a solo shot from shortstop Will Tippett.

The two bullpens were great in relief of the starters into the 8th inning as Chris Veach and Matthew Becker combined to give up no hits over 2 2/3 innings for Mark Kingston's team, and Ethan Darden pitched 3 scoreless frames for Clemson head coach Erik Bakich.

In the bottom of the 8th, though, Becker surrendered a 2-run home run to Jacob Hinderleider to extend the lead to 4-1. The Carolina bats came alive in the 9th after a Will Tippett single and Blake Jackson pinch-hit triple off of sidearmer Lucas Mahlstedt. After Dylan Brewer popped out, Ethan Petry hit a bomb to right field to tie the score 4-4.

The two bullpens shut down the opposing lineups deep into extra innings. Garrett Gainey was a stopper, sitting down 11 straight Tigers (6 strikeouts) before Andrew Ciufo ended the game with a walk-off home run to left center field on his only poor pitch of the night.

It should have never gotten to that point, though. The Gamecock offense was not good enough before the 9th inning and then couldn't push a run across in the first three innings of extras, either.

For the game, Carolina left 12 runners stranded on base. Parker Noland left 5 runners on, and he and Carolina's two All-Americans (Ethan Petry and Cole Messina) combined to strike out 9 times.

South Carolina baseball will look to rebound in the Upstate on Sunday when the Gamecocks and Tigers play again at 2:00. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.


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