Just when it looked like Clemson was starting to put things together they drop a game at home to a hapless Georgia squad. The Bulldogs had lost nine straight, icluding a lopsided game against the Tigers last night in Athens. Sometimes that is just how baseball works, but Clemson has had a tough time finding consistint traction the past couple of seaons. I still think Jack Leggett has a good team and a chance to be around when it matters later this season, but they have to stop losing games to bad Duke, Georgia and Winthrop teams. To make matters worse they travel to top ranked North Carolina this weekend. Then again, given the way things have gone lately, the Tigers might bode well against the Tar Heels: not many people are giving them much of a chance.
Moving on, here is the offical game story followed by a few postgame comments from Tigers skipper Jack Leggett.
Kyle Farmer, Hunter Cole, and Jared Walsh all hit home runs to lead Georgia to a 5-3 win over Clemson in front of 5,156 fans at a chilly Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs, who snapped their nine-game losing streak, improved to 9-17 on the season. The Tigers, who split the home-and-home midweek series 1-1, dropped to 16-9 in 2013.
Georgia scored two runs on Farmer’s two-run homer in the first inning and never relinquished its lead. The Tigers scored one run in the third, sixth, and ninth innings and had the potential tying run on first base in the ninth, but they fell short.
Ross Ripple (1-0), the second of five Bulldog pitchers, earned the win in 3.1 innings pitched. He gave up just one hit, one run, and three walks with three strikeouts. Walsh recorded his third save of the season despite allowing one hit, one run, and two walks with one strikeout in the ninth inning.
Tiger starter Brody Koerner (0-1) suffered the loss, as he yielded three hits, two runs, and one walk with three strikeouts in 4.0 innings pitched.
The Bulldogs took the game’s first lead in the first inning. Nelson Ward led off with a triple to right-center but was erased at home on Cole’s fielder’s choice. Two batters later with two outs, Farmer belted a wind-aided, two-run homer that just cleared the left-field fence, his first long ball of the season.
In the third inning, Tyler Krieger and Tyler Slaton drew one-out walks, then Steven Duggar grounded a single through the right side to score Krieger and advance Slaton to third. But Steve Wilkerson grounded into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning, as Wilkerson was called out in a close play at first base to keep Georgia ahead 2-1.
Cole led off the top of the sixth inning with a towering flyball to left field that the wind carried over the fence for a home run, his third long ball of the season.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Garrett Boulware reached on a two-out, infield single and Shane Kennedy walked. Jon McGibbon followed with a single up the middle to score Boulware.
The Bulldogs responded with a run in the seventh inning thanks in large part to a costly Tiger miscue. Ward reached on a two-out, infield single and went to third on Cole’s bloop single to left-center. Ward then scored prior to a 1-2 pitch on a balk by Clate Schmidt, upping Georgia’s lead to 4-2.
In the eighth inning, Walsh belted a solo homer to right field that just cleared the fence, his second long ball of the year.
McGibbon led off the ninth inning with a five-pitch walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After the next two Tigers grounded out, Krieger grounded a double over the first-base bag to score McGibbon. Slaton walked to put the potential tying run on first base, but Duggar struck out to end the game.
Cole went 2-for-5 with a homer, two runs, and one steal. Ward also had two hits for the Bulldogs, who totaled seven hits in the game.
Seven different Tigers had one hit apiece. Slaton, Wilkerson, and Krieger each hit one double. The Tigers put 14 batters on base to Georgia’s 12, but Clemson only managed three runs.
Clemson will travel to Chapel Hill, NC to take on #1 North Carolina in a three-game series starting Saturday at 6:00 PM.