Graduate righthander Justin Sarratt (5-1) allowed only three hits and one unearned run in a career-long 8.1 innings pitched to lead #23 Clemson to a 3-1 victory over #9 Georgia Tech in front 4,419 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers, who won the series 2-1, improved to 29-15 overall and 13-11 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets fell to 31-14 overall and 18-6 in ACC play.
Phil Pohl’s solo home run in the first inning gave Clemson an early lead, then the Yellow Jackets capitalized on an error to even the score in the top of the fourth inning on Jacob Esch’s two-out, run-scoring single. The Tigers came right back and scored two two-out runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on hits by Jeff Schaus and Will Lamb. Both starting pitchers cruised during the next four innings before Georgia Tech loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning. But Scott Weismann struck out Zane Evans to end the game.
Sarratt (5-1), who was honored along with five other Tiger seniors prior to the game, tossed 8.1 stellar innings in his first start ACC start since 2009 and just his third career ACC start. The fifth-year Tiger and Gaffney, SC native allowed just three hits (all singles), no earned runs, and two walks with six strikeouts. He allowed just one runner past second base while in the game. Sarratt also allowed only two runners past first base while in the game, both in the fourth inning due in large part to a fielding error on a potential inning-ending, double-play grounder. Weismann picked up his fourth save of the season by striking out two of the four batters he faced in the ninth inning.
Georgia Tech starter Buck Farmer (7-2) suffered the loss despite pitching a complete game in another outstanding outing. In 8.0 innings pitched, he yielded only four hits, three runs, and one walk with four strikeouts. Farmer, who threw just 76 pitches, retired the Tigers in order in five of the eight innings, including retiring the last 12 batters who stepped to the plate. He also allowed just three Tigers to reach second base, but all three scored.
Pohl put the Tigers on the scoreboard first when he hit a solo home run down the left-field line in the first inning, his fourth long ball of the season.
In the top of the fourth inning, Matt Skole hit a one-out single to left-center on a 1-2 pitch. Jake Davies followed with a potential inning-ending, double-play grounder to first-baseman Richie Shaffer. But the Tiger sophomore booted the ball and Skole advanced to third base on the play. It was Shaffer’s first career error after going his first 644 chances without one. Two batters later, Esch hit a two-out single through the right to score Skole.
The Tigers answered back to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Brad Miller drew a one out walk. Two batters later, Schaus grounded a two-out double over the first-base bag to score Miller. Lamb followed with a single up the middle to score Schaus and up his hitting streak to 19 games.
In the ninth inning, Sam Dove led off with a hard-hit ball headed for centerfield, but Sarratt speared the liner for out #1. After Sarratt retired 14 batters in a row, Skole walked after being down in the count 0-2, then the Tigers brought Weismann into the game to pitch. Davies followed with a bloop single down the left-field line. Paul Kronenfeld struck out looking for out #2, then Esch was hit by a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. But Weismann struck out Evans looking to give the Tigers a two-run victory.
Four different Tigers accounted for the team’s four hits. Pohl hit a homer, while Schaus hit a run-scoring double. Miller’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end, as he was 0-for-2 with a run and walk.
Four different Yellow Jackets had one hit apiece. Esch had the team’s lone RBI, while Skole scored the team’s lone run.
Clemson will have five days off for final exams before returning to action on Saturday against Gardner-Webb in a doubleheader at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The first game will start at 2:00 PM, while the second game is slated to begin at 6:00 PM.