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

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.

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More NCAA baseball tournament coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/college-world-series

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