GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - The Schmidt brothers are dominating this year’s Clemson-South Carolina rivalry.
Clate Schmidt allowed just one hit over more than five scoreless innings, then profusely thanked reliever Pat Krall for getting out of a bases-loaded jam he created as the Tigers (7-2) beat South Carolina 5-0 on Saturday.
Clarke Schmidt, the winner for South Carolina in Friday’s 8-1 victory, walked over to Clemson’s dugout and gave his brother a hug when it was over. They’ve been too competitive to talk much over the past two days.
“Maybe now we can go grab a bite to eat,” Clate Schmidt said.
Clate Schmidt faced just 21 batters to his brother’s 30 and pitched over two fewer innings. But he also allowed four fewer hits. Clarke walked none and struck out nine Friday, while Clate struck out six and walked four, leading to his early exit. Both are now 3-0 on the season.
As far as bragging rights, Clate said that will go to the brother whose team wins Sunday’s game at Clemson to win this year’s series.
But as far as inspiration, few can beat Clate. He was pitching Saturday nine months after getting his first treatment for nodular sclerosis, a form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. That same day, the Boston Red Sox drafted him in the 32nd round. But he had a different goal that pulled him through.
“That tunnel vision was looking toward this game and this series,” he said.
The Gamecocks managed just two hits in their first loss of the season. But they were still in it in the top of the sixth when Schmidt began to struggle. The senior sandwiched the only hit he allowed between two walks, leaving Krall to deal with a bases loaded jam with one out.
Krall went 2-0 to the next two batters before striking them out. Up first was Alex Destino, who went 5-for-5 on Friday. Krall also sat down Chris Cullen, who is batting .321, but has no hits in eight appearances in the series.
“We felt like we had a chance to get back in it there. We had two cracks at it,” South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook said. “We didn’t come up with the big hit today. We didn’t square up many balls.”
Clemson only had five hits, but made them count for the most part. After leaving the bases loaded after scoring just one run in the first, the Tigers faced another critical at bat in the fifth, with runners on second and third after a muffed throw. Chris Okey then tripled to deep center - only his eighth hit of the season - and put the Tigers up 4-0.
Chase Pinder hit his fourth home run of the season over Fluor Field’s tall left field wall that the Class A minor league park modeled after parent club Boston’s Green Monster at Fenway Park to up Clemson up 5-0.
Holbrook said his team just couldn’t figure out Clate Schmidt, just like the Tigers were puzzled by his brother the night before.
“What a great story that kid is,” Holbrook said. “He is an inspiration to a lot of people.”
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