South Carolina pulled even with Clemson in the all-sports season rivalry over the weekend, winning both ends of a two-day baseball series. The Gamecocks won 10-1 and 5-1, tying the series at five wins each and putting it on hiatus until April 9.
The No. 9 Gamecocks (5-1 going into Wednesday's game hosting Charlotte) again used their "Gorillaball" power swinging to set up an early lead in the first game, getting a grand slam from shortstop Reese Havens. Justin Smoak blasted one out of Doug Kingsmore Stadium in the second game, giving USC some insurance in the ninth inning.
As with most of USC's and Clemson's matchups, there was some bad blood evident in the second game. Just before Smoak hit his homer, he backed away from a high-and-tight pitch from the No. 23 Tigers' Matt Vaughn. The two stared at each other before Smoak stepped back in and tattooed the next pitch into the parking lot.
Vaughn's first pitch plunked the next batter, Andrew Crisp, and Crisp angrily flung his bat down. The Clemson dugout began trotting onto the field before umpires stepped in and herded them back.
With Crisp on first and USC holding a 4-1 lead, the Gamecocks' next batter, Indian Land native Harley Lail, doubled to score Crisp. Lail ran around first base with his fists in the air.
The next rivalry match is April 9 in men's tennis at Clemson, the same day as the re-installment of the baseball series in Columbia. The baseball teams clash again on April 16 at Clemson.
• CHAMPS: USC and Clemson each claimed individual championships at their respective conference track and field meets over the weekend. Rock Hill native Mitch Greeley, a senior pole vaulter for the Tigers, won his second ACC title in the event and was followed by 60-meter dash champ Travis Padgett.
USC's men's mile relay team won the SEC championship with the nation's third-fastest time. Keith Hinnant, Aaron Anderson, Jussi Heikkila and Quentin Moore combined for a 3:07.19.
• MOMENTUM: USC and Clemson each enter their women's basketball conference tournaments this week after winning their final regular-season games. USC beat Kentucky 65-57 and Clemson topped Florida State 72-70 after a buzzer-beating putback.
The Lady Tigers' Morganne Campbell rebounded Jasmine Tate's miss and Clemson headed to Greensboro, N.C., for the ACC tournament. Clemson will play N.C. State at 3 p.m. today.
USC will play Florida at 2:30 p.m. today at the SEC tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
• SPRING PASS: Clemson fans interested in following the Tigers' baseball, rowing or tennis teams can do so by logging on to acc.playonsports.tv/clemson to buy a spring pass. For $24.99, your computer can carry live and on-demand access to all ACCSelect.com spring sports events.