College of Charleston transfer Brittle does in former teammates with clutch hit
CLEMSON Ė College of Charleston Thomas Brittle hit an RBI single to left to give tie the game in the 11th on Saturday and Steve Wilkerson came around to score on a wild pitch by David Peterson to give Clemson a 4-3 win in the series opener Saturday at Clemson.
It was the closest C of C has ever come to defeating Clemson.
Twenty-two times the Cougars had played the Tigers, and 22 times the C of C had lost to the in-state powerhouse, including 16 losses occurring as a Division I program.
C of Cís Daniel Aldrich thought he had snapped the streak in the top of the inning. Aldrich came in the left-handed batterís box with the scored tied at two in the 11th inning and knowing the history of the series, knowing his College of Charleston team entered Saturday having never beaten Clemson in baseball.
With Brandon Murray on first base for C of C, Aldrich lined what looked like a shot over the first-base bag for a double. Instead, the hit was ruled foul. Aldrich battled out of pitcherís count to rifle another Daniel Gossett pitch to the right-center field gap, where there was no doubting itís fair of foul status, to Murray and lead the Cougars to a 3-2 win.
What better way to improve a postseason resume than through making history?
Both schools entered the weekend with stakes to play despite the series being of the non-conference variety, as both programs are jockeying for NCAA position. The Cougars (31-14) entered Doug Kingsmore Stadium No. 28 in the NCAA RPI while the Tigers (26-21) were ranked 33rd in RPI entering the weekend.
Gossett allowed just the one run over 4 1/3 innings of relief, striking out eight C of C batters. And C of Cís Kyle Owings allowed just one baserunner over three innings of relief and David Peterson closed out the game in the 11th.
While the game was decided by the bullpens, both Game 1 starters pleased the contingent of 12 Major League Baseball scouts on hand to watch College of Charleston ace Christian Powell take on Dominic Leone and Clemson.
Powell was shaky early.
Maybe it was the presence of the scouts and their radar guns behind the home plate that distracted him early. Maybe it was the NCAA regional like atmosphere. Whatever the case Powell loaded the bases without allowing the hit in the first inning. Clemsonís John McGibbon then singled home two runs to give Clemson a 2-0 lead.
It was all the damage Clemson would record off of Powell.
Powell, who entered with an 8-2 record and 2.37 ERA and settled down and kept Clemson scoreless for six straight innings.
Powell allowed only two hits but he walked four, and hit four batters, losing control of his 90-94 mph fastball at times. The potential early pick in Juneís baseball draft threw 105 pitches.
Matching the Cougarsí ace was Dominic Leone who took the place of No. 1 Clemson starter Kevin Brady who is expected to be out up to three more weeks with a hamstring injury. With Brady out Clemson is hoping to see Leone return to the form that made him the teamís top pitcher when Brady missed most of last season with a forearm injury.
Leone allowed three or fewer runs in a start for the first time since March 31 against Miami.
Leone allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, walking one and striking out four. But Leone couldnít make it through six innings for the third straight start.
Leone left short after surrendering a home run to College of Charlestonís Golden Spikes candidate Marty Gantt in the sixth, a towering shot over the left-center field fence, tying the score at 2.