Clemson University

USC soccer teams have banner week

The South Carolina soccer teams had banner weekends, scoring a big victory apiece and beginning the season with a bang.

The Lady Gamecocks traveled to No. 1 North Carolina and returned with a 1-0 win, the first time the Tar Heels, defending national champions, have ever lost a home opener. UNC was 27-0-1 in home openers before last week and it was also the first time USC has ever beaten a top-five team.

Erin Sullivan headed in a shot in the 16th minute and the Gamecocks held on for the duration, capping the program's biggest win in its 12-year history. UNC out-shot USC 12-5 and had a 12-0 advantage in corner kicks but goalie Lindsay Thorstenson, named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for her effort, shut the Tar Heels down.

The win came a day after the men's team opened the season at No. 12 Clemson, beating the Tigers 1-0 in double overtime for its first win over its arch-rival since 2004. Freshman Blake Brettschneider hit the game-winner on an assist from David Smith, capping a wild penalty-filled game.

USC tallied 13 fouls, and had five yellow cards. Clemson had four yellows to go with its 17 fouls.

The men drew first blood in the all-sports season rivalry with the women set to battle on Sept. 21.

• EARLY HOOPS: Clemson went 2-0 in two exhibition basketball games over the weekend, defeating two local teams during a trip to the Bahamas.

The Tigers scored 113 points in each game, beating a club squad 113-64 and 113-58 over the Bahamas All-Stars. Each game was marked by extraordinary shooting, Clemson posting a 52.1 percent in the first game and 63.2 in the second.

Senior James Mays was the offensive workhorse, teaming with Trevor Booker for an intimidating post presence. Guard Demontez Stitt also stood out, running the offense despite being new to the position.

Clemson will continue individual workouts until regular-season practices begin in October. The Tigers are scheduled to open the season Nov. 12 hosting Furman.

• THE RUNNING MEN: The Tigers' men's cross country team won the Western Carolina Invitational over the weekend, its first competition of the season.

Clemson had 19 points and placed all five runners in the meet's top eight finishers. Tyler Morey won the title in 20:34.7, holding off fellow freshman Chad Holt by a little under four seconds.

• ANOTHER CALL-UP: A week after former USC pitcher Billy Buckner was summoned to the major leagues, another Gamecock got the call.

Former infielder Steve Pearce was promoted to Pittsburgh over the weekend, the sixth former Gamecock on a current Major League Baseball roster. Pearce, who was with the Pirates' High-A team at the beginning of the year, has batted .335 with 31 homers and 113 RBIs this year throughout the minor leagues.

Pearce played two years for USC, helping lead USC to the 2004 College World Series and earning All-America honors. He led the Gamecocks in home runs and average each of his two years and earned the MVP award at the 2004 NCAA Columbia Regional.