Latest South Carolina sports


Erwin leads Clemson past Louisville 7-2 at ACC tourney

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Zack Erwin had a season-best 11 strikeouts and Clemson beat Louisville 7-2 on Thursday at the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament.

Erwin (7-4) allowed six hits and one earned run in eight innings while helping the fifth-seeded Tigers (32-26) improve to 1-1 in pool play.

Reed Rohlman had a two-run single in the first and Weston Wilson added a two-run double in the fifth for Clemson, which never trailed and led 5-1 after two innings.

Ryan Summers had an RBI double in the second inning for the top-seeded Cardinals (43-15). Kyle Funkhouser (7-5) allowed five earned runs in five innings for Louisville, which slipped to 1-1 in tournament pool play.


Savannah Class A minor-league team moving to Columbia

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The New York Mets’ affiliate in the South Atlantic League is moving from Savannah, Georgia to Columbia.

Hardball Capital CEO Jason Freier announced the move on Thursday at the site of a new ballpark that’s being built for the Class A franchise. The Columbia team is expected to be ready to play next season.

The move returns a Mets’ farm team to South Carolina’s capital, where the Columbia Mets and Capital City Bombers played from 1983 until 2005 when the franchise moved to Greenville.

The new Spirit Communications Park is expected to cost $37 million and be a key piece in the redevelopment of a 165-acre section to be called Columbia Common.


Kenseth wins pole for NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Matt Kenseth won the pole Thursday night for the Coca-Cola 600.

Kenseth turned a lap at 194.252 mph at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the third round of NASCAR’s knockout qualifying format for his second pole of the Sprint Cup season.

Joey Logano will start alongside Kenseth on the front row Sunday night in the longest Sprint Cup race of the year. It is Logano’s best qualifying effort ever at Charlotte.

Carl Edwards was third, followed by Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin.

Defending champion Jimmie Johnson, a four-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600, qualified 13th as none of Hendrick Motorsports’ five drivers reached the final round of qualifying.

Sprint Cup points leader Kevin Harvick will start eighth.

Kasey Kahne’s suffered an early punctured tire and will start 33rd.


Logano says NASCAR can learn from IndyCar on safety crews

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Joey Logano says NASCAR can learn something from the near-fatal accident involving IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe this week and the importance of having a regular safety crew at each race.

Hinchcliffe’s left leg was pierced by a piece of his car’s suspension during practice Monday for the Indianapolis 500. The fast action of the series-hired safety team helped extract Hinchcliffe before he suffered catastrophic blood loss.

Logano says “they basically saved his life” and suggested NASCAR look at what IndyCar did “and try to improve our sport.”

IndyCar has a travel safety team of more than 30 people, with at least 18 at each race, according to its website. NASCAR has an emergency response plan in place, too, but uses different staffs at each track.


Jeff Gordon to join Fox as full-time analyst in 2016

UNDATED (AP) – Jeff Gordon will join Fox as a full-time analyst in 2016, teaming with Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip in the three-man booth.

Gordon is retiring at the end of this season, his 23rd full-time year in the Sprint Cup Series.

The four-time NASCAR champion agreed to a multi-year contract with Fox that will begin later this season when Gordon will do in-race reporting from inside his No. 24 Chevrolet. He’s already done three Xfinity Series races in the booth for Fox this season, and his first Cup race will be next February at Daytona.

Gordon replaces Larry McReynolds in the booth. McReynolds will move to an in-race analyst role.


Johnson ‘shocked’ NASCAR questioned side skirt issue

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson says he was “shocked” to learn NASCAR was looking into potential infractions by his No. 48 team for altering the car’s side skirts following Saturday night’s All-Star race.

NASCAR competition officials reviewed the tape and determined Johnson’s crew did not make an unapproved adjustment during a late pit stop at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Johnson’s team was issued a warning by the sport’s governing body but no punishment was levied.

Johnson says NASCAR “calmed down” after reviewing video.

Side skirts are the sheet metal in front of the rear tires, and unapproved flaring can potentially improve air flow and give a team an unfair advantage.


Kevin Harvick on top heading to NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Harvick is right where he usually is at the Coca-Cola 600 — on top and seeking even more success.

The defending Sprint Cup champion leads the points race heading into NASCAR’s longest event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night. He has already won twice, marking the fourth time in the past five seasons Harvick will leave May with multiple victories.

Harvick is trying for his third Coca-Cola 600 win since 2011.

Harvick says early-season victories ended concerns about qualifying for the NASCAR’s 10-race playoffs, and give clever teams the chance to find that extra uumph they’ll need for a championship run.

Harvick has finished one or two in eight of 11 races this season.


New dad Kyle Busch ready for racing

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Busch says infant son Brexton can be anything he wants, even a race car driver. He just better be good.

Busch’s wife, Samantha, gave birth to the 7-pound, 10-ounce boy Monday and the Sprint Cup driver says the family is doing well. Asked Thursday if he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, Busch joked he’d better end up with the checkered flag.

Busch said Brexton won’t make it to Sprint Cup “if he ain’t any good.”

The newborn’s father is one of NASCAR’s best, winning 29 races since his first Sprint Cup event in 2004.

Busch returned to the racing last Saturday night after missing 11 races since breaking his right leg and left foot in a crash at Daytona in February.