Montgomery masters Tigers in shutout by Gamecocks

Sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery did not allow a batter to reach third base in eight scoreless innings of work and set a career-high with nine strikeouts as he combined with senior left-hander Tyler Webb for a three-hit shutout as seventh ranked South Carolina defeated Clemson 6-0 on Friday evening at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Gamecocks improve to 7-1 on the year while the loss drops Clemson to 5-3 for the season.

The series shifts to Greenville, S.C. and the Reedy River Rivalry contest for game two. First pitch on Saturday is set for 2:15 p.m. Saturday’s game at Fluor Field will be televised on six TV networks in the states of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia as well as ESPN3.

Montgomery was outstanding as he tied a career-high for innings pitched with eight innings of work. The last time he went eight innings was last year in a 2-0 win vs. Arkansas at the College World Series. Similar to that outing, he was in command the entire night with nine strikeouts and just two walks and three hits allowed. Montgomery improves to 3-0 on the year. Tyler Webb struck out the side for a perfect ninth inning to seal the Carolina victory. Clemson starter Daniel Gossett suffered the loss and is 1-1 on the year. He allowed four runs, one earned, on three hits in 6.1 innings with four walks and four strikeouts.

“We played a clean game,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “Jordan Montgomery was the story of the game. Incredible performance by him.”

Scoreless through the first four innings, South Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the fifth. Designated hitter Brison Celek led off with a base hit to right field followed by a single to left field off the bat of Grayson Greiner. With pinch runner Shon Carson into the game for Celek, the Gamecocks moved the runners over on a sacrifice bunt from TJ Costen. Carson would then show off his speed to score the first run of the game. Tanner English knocked a ground ball to Clemson shortstop Tyler Krieger as the Tigers had the infield drawn in. Krieger threw to first to nab English for the second out of the inning. After Krieger’s throw, Carson rushed home and despite an accurate throw by first baseman Jon McGibbon, slid underneath the tag of catcher Garrett Boulware for the first run of the game.

That lead increased to 4-0 in the seventh inning. A one-out dropped fly ball by left fielder Shane Kennedy put TJ Costen on second base for the Gamecocks. With a runner in scoring position, the Gamecocks took advantage of the Clemson error as English and Graham Saiko each walked to load the bases. With Gossett out and left-hander Joseph Moorefield into the game, Chase Vergason went to battle and in a seven-pitch at bat drew a walk scoring Costen. Max Schrock followed with another great at bat and with a 3-2 count lifted a sacrifice fly to center scoring English. Carolina completed the scoring in the frame with a two-out RBI single courtesy of LB Dantzler.

Carolina added two more runs in the top of the eighth inning. With runners on first and second and one out, English dropped down a sacrifice bunt. With speed down the line, reliever Clay Bates hurried a throwing error to first base and allowed Greiner to score. TJ Costen would then score his second run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Saiko to center field.

South Carolina had five different players tally hits with three different Clemson players accounting for their hits in the contest. Saiko reached base three times with a single and two walks in five plate appearances. Carolina had five strikeouts to six walks at the plate. The top four players in Clemson’s batting order combined for nine of the 12 Clemson strikeouts.

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