March 29, 2011
Clemson, S.C-----Powered by a seven-run outburst in the sixth inning, 16th-ranked Clemson defeated Georgia 11-5 Tuesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
In the first inning, Georgia (11-14) struck for a pair of runs on three hits and were aided by one error by pitcher Justin Sarratt. Junior Levin Hyams drew a leadoff walk and took third on a double by freshman Conor Welton. Sarratt struck out Kyle Farmer before Zach Cone delivered a run-scoring single as Welton advanced to third. On a failed pickoff attempt of Cone, Welton raced home for a 2-0 lead. In the top of the second, freshman Brandon Stephens led off with a double, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Peter Verdin and later scored on a one-out RBI-single by Welton.
The Tigers (14-9) got a run back in their half of the second as left-hander Chase Hawkins pitched out a bases-loaded jam. The first three Tigers reached and centerfielder Chris Epps got an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Then, Hawkins got shortstop Jason Stolz to ground into an inning-ending double play to keep the Bulldogs in front 3-1.
Clemson left-hander Will Lamb started the third and eventually struck out the side after a two-out single by Kevin Ruiz and a walk to Stephens. Sarratt, who entered the game with a 1.35 ERA on the year, allowed three runs on five hits.
In the fourth, Georgia extended its lead to 4-1 on a two-out, run-scoring single by Farmer to give him a team-leading 21 RBI. The Bulldogs went to their bullpen in the bottom of the inning as junior Ben Cornwell came on for Hawkins who held the Tigers to one run on four hits through the first three frames.
In the fifth, Epps trimmed the deficit to 4-2 with his team-leading fifth home run. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Richie Shaffer as Georgia brought in senior right-hander John Herman. On a 2-1 pitch, Herman got the cleanup hitter Shaffer to pop out to maintain Georgia’s edge.
Bulldog sophomore Patrick Boling started the sixth and did not retire a batter, walking four straight and after a 1-0 count to the fifth, Georgia turned to senior Eric Swegman. He allowed a sacrifice fly to John McGibbon that tied the game. The Tigers continued to rally, loading the bases. Swegman was a strike away from any further trouble when he hit Phil Pohl with a pitch to drive in the go-ahead run. Then, Shaffer followed with a grand slam to make it 9-4 Tigers.
Cone doubled and scored in the seventh but the Tigers answered with single runs in the seventh and eighth for the final.
Kevin Pohle notched the win to improve to 3-1 while Boling dropped to 0-2. Both teams used seven pitchers on the night, and the game lasted a season-high 3:24.
“This was the last week where we gave some guys a shot to prove themselves, and tonight one guy didn’t execute and it cost us,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “You can’t walk four straight guys. I saw some good things from the other guys, and it’s evident we need a little more help in the bullpen, and I think Chase (Hawkins) can help us there. We’re going to work with Patrick (Boling) and get things fixed. Offensively, I liked what we’re getting from some guys that we put in there against LSU this past weekend in Conor (Welton) and Kevin (Ruiz) and they contributed again tonight.”
The Bulldogs return to Southeastern Conference action Friday when they play host to 24th-ranked Mississippi State (18-6, 4-2 SEC). First pitch at Foley Field is slated for 6:30 p.m.