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Wes Clarke’s 23rd homer leads South Carolina past Virginia

Wes Clarke homered to help South Carolina beat Virginia in their NCAA Regional opener on Friday
Wes Clarke homered to help South Carolina beat Virginia in their NCAA Regional opener on Friday(Allen Sharpe | South Carolina Athletics)
Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Wes Clarke hit his nation-leading 23rd home run of the season and South Carolina opened the Columbia Regional with a 4-3 victory over Virginia on Friday.

Clarke homered in the first to break a tie with Florida State’s Mat Nelson for the NCAA lead.

South Carolina (34-21) was held to two hits through five innings, but Clarke and Josiah Sightler hit back-to-back ground-rule doubles in the sixth to help tie it a 3. Five straight Gamecocks reached with two outs in the sixth, taking the lead on Colin Burgess’ RBI single to left.

Clarke was 2 for 4 and Sightler had two RBIs.

South Carolina starter Brett Kerry left in the third with an apparent neck injury. Julian Bosnic (4-2) pitched 3 2/3 innings of one-run relief and Daniel Lloyd picked up his second save by striking out four over the final three innings.

Zack Gelof homered in the third and singled home a run in the fourth to give Virginia (29-24) a 3-1 lead. Starter Andrew Abbott (8-6) struck out six in 5 2/3 innings.