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Clemson Wins the Palmetto Series

By Sinderella

The Clemson Tigers win the 2024 Palmetto Series over the South Carolina Gamecocks. Unfortunately, we did not get a three-game series, as the Friday game was rained out. Who knows what happens if the game is played, but what we did get is two absolute battles between two Top 25 teams with Omaha aspirations. Clemson won both games by the same 5-4 scores, Saturday in 12 innings and Sunday in the regulation 9. This series lived up to the hype and continues to prove that this rivalry is the best in college baseball.

Game 1:

Eli Jones (1-0, 1.00) got the ball for South Carolina vs Tristen Smith (0-0, 3.12) from Clemson. Both pitchers allowed a few hits and free bases, but not many runs as they gave up three combined. This series was believed to come down to who was able to bring guys in when they got into scoring position, as both struggled to do so throughout the early season.

Well, it was an issue for both teams in both games, and instead it turned into a home run battle, as both teams combined for six long balls that drove in six of the nine runs in game one. The game looked all but lost for South Carolina, as they went into the top of the ninth down 4-1. After a single, a triple, and a two-run home run by All-American outfielder Ethan Petry, the Gamecocks tied the game 4-4.

Both teams continued to battle through the next three innings, until Andrew Cuifo hit a two-out walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th off Garrett Gainey. It was the first walk-off home run by Clemson in the series history.

Game 2:

Dylan Eskew (1-1, 3.60) was the starter for South Carolina vs Aidan Knaak (1-0, 5.00) from Clemson. This game got off to a fast start, as Cole Messina for South Carolina hit a two-run home run to open the 1st inning, and Will Taylor answered back for Clemson with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning.

The game really changed after a throwing error by Dylan Eskew in the 4th, trying to throw out Blake Wright after a soft hit towards the 3rd base side. The game was 3-1 at that point, and Eskew followed up the throwing error by giving up two runs for the Clemson Tigers, tying the game at 3-3.

Clemson used solo home runs from Nolan Nawrocki in the 6th and Blake Wright in the 8th to take a 5-3 lead going into the 9th. After two quick outs, Ethan Petry hit his 2nd 9th inning home run in as many days. Cole Messina came up and walked after battling Austin Gordon for 10 pitches. That brought up Talmadge LeCroy to continue the comeback, but he ended up grounding out on the first pitch he saw. That sealed the series win for Clemson.

It was an incredible drama-filled two games, and even though the South Carolina Gamecocks did not come up victorious, this series proved that both teams are well-deserving of the preseason hype they received. I am looking forward to the third game potentially getting rescheduled as a midweek game later in the season. The Palmetto Series is the best in college baseball, no doubt about it.

(All pictures courtesy of @GamecockBll & @ClemsonBaseball)


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