Clemson righty Koerner throws complete game shutout in 7-0 win over South Carolina


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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Brody Koerner pitched a complete-game shutout, Chris Okey had two RBIs and Clemson won its first regular-season series over rival South Carolina in five years with a 7-0 victory on Monday.

Koerner (2-1) is a junior right-hander who held the Gamecocks (7-3) to four singles. The Tigers (7-3) snapped a six-game losing streak at Carolina Stadium dating to 2010, the last time Clemson came out on top in the hotly contested series.

It was the first time South Carolina was held scoreless in Carolina Stadium in seven seasons.

Koerner was a huge reason why. He went a career best nine innings and had seven strikeouts, three coming in the final two innings. That secured Clemson's first shutout over South Carolina since an 8-0 victory over the Gamecocks in 2003 — a span of 47 games.

"It's definitely nice," Koerner said. "The two years before, we've been knocked out of here twice, so getting a win was definitely big for our team."

Okey drove in runs with a sacrifice fly in the third inning and a slow chopper to second in Clemson's three-run seventh that made it 5-0.

Steven Duggar's run-scoring double to the fence in left started the Tigers big inning that put the game away.

South Carolina committed four errors, including one apiece by the team's generally sure-handed infielders of shortstop Marcus Mooney, second baseman Max Schrock and first baseman Kyle Martin. Schrock and Martin, the Gamecocks three and four hitters in the lineup, were a combined 0-of-8 with two strikeouts.

The two ended South Carolina's best chance to get back into things trailing 2-0 in the sixth after Gene Cone led off with a walk and took second on Elliott Caldwell's single. Schrock swung away and into an easy double play. Martin followed with a strike out to strand Cone at third.

"Their good hitters made plays and our good hitters couldn't do much," South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook said.

That was the case for much of the three-game series. Clemson knocked around South Carolina starter Wil Crowe in an 11-4 victory on Friday night to start things. While South Carolina rebounded Saturday with a 4-1 win, it was more about starter Jack Wynkoop's performance on the mound than the Gamecock batters at the plate.

Clemson coach Jack Leggett entered the series under scrutiny from Tiger fans, several wondering when their team would come out on top once again. Leggett said after Saturday's loss that his team's season would not be defined had they fallen yet again to South Carolina. Koerner and his hitters made sure he didn't have to worry about it. "I'm just really excited about how we played out there," he said.

Reed Rohlman had three hits and an RBI double in Clemson's two-run ninth. Duggar and Krieger had two hits each for the Tigers.

"We're very focused, very locked in, very confident," Leggett said. "We had three good games. There are three good games in the series as there always is and we happened to play just a little bit better."

For Holbrook and the Gamecocks, there are questions to answer with Southeastern Conference play two weeks away. He's disappointed with his defense and hitting — and maybe even some leadership.

Schrock had said the Gamecocks were somewhat sluggish in their approach, something Holbrook said was unacceptable for the program.

"We were fearful today, timid," he said. "That's not the way South Carolina is supposed to play."

Koerner believes Clemson is a club on the rise and showed that promise against the Gamecocks.

"I think it shows we're one of the top 25 teams in the country," he said. "We're a force to be reckoned with."

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