The Georgia Bulldogs (17-13) held a 6-5 lead into the eighth inning, but six runs for 12th-ranked Clemson (22-7) over the next two frames was the difference as the Tigers took an 11-6 decision on Tuesday night at Foley Field.
The game was played in front of the fifth-largest crowd at post-renovation Foley Field (since 1990), with 4,128 fans in attendance to mark the largest showing in Athens since 2009. Skyler Weber led the Bulldogs offensively with three hits, two RBI and a run scored in the midweek clash.
Clemson claimed the lead in the second inning, taking advantage of a leadoff walk as a passed ball and a wild pitch moved the runner to third with one out. A K.J. Bryant RBI single then gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kevin Smith plunked Seth Beer to bring in Clemson’s second run of the inning.
Georgia punched right back, though, tying the game after Clemson set the table with three one-out walks. Stephen Wrenn’s sacrifice fly cut the deficit in half, and Weber came through with a hit-and-run RBI single to knot the game at two and force a pitching change.
Clemson took the lead back in the fourth, cashing in on an unearned run courtesy of a dropped pop up and three free passes, giving the Tigers a 3-2 edge.
Georgia hopped on top for the first time in the bottom of the fifth by taking advantage of Clemson miscues. A leadoff single from Weber gave the Bulldogs their second hit of the day, then Keegan McGovern was hit by a pitch two batters later. A wild pitch with two outs moved both into scoring position, then a throwing error on a Daniel Nichols grounder allowed both runners to score for a 4-3 UGA lead.
Weber once again factored into a Georgia run in the sixth, shooting a RBI single to left with two outs to score Nick King and take a two-run advantage at 5-3.
Clemson tied the game the very next inning, using a two-run bomb to even the score at five runs apiece as the game headed to the late stages. Georgia got right back off the mat, though, answering with a run in the bottom of the inning after two walks, a steal and a wild pitch to claim a 6-5 edge.
Seth Beer tied the game in the eighth, launching a home run to right field for his 13th long ball of the 2016 campaign.
The guests then took the decisive lead in the ninth inning, claiming five runs to snatch the victory.
– After Stephen Wrenn walked to lead off the game for Georgia, he promptly stole second and third. The steals gave him the team lead with numbers seven and eight on the year, breaking a tie with Skyler Weber.
– Wrenn and Weber combined for three RBI on the night, boosting their combined season total to 34 in the top two slots of the lineup. They have also accounted for 36 runs on the season, the most of any pair of consecutive players in the order.
– The attendance of 4,128 represented the fifth-largest crowd at Foley Field since the 1990 renovation and the largest number since 2009.
– Nick King’s single in the sixth inning extended his hitting streak to a career-best six games.
– Weber recorded three hits in the contest for his team-leading 13th multi-hit game of the season.
– The four steals for Georgia were the most in any contest this year. That
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the team’s aggressive base running…
“We stole some bases. It was good to get Nick King and Stephen Wrenn on base. Skyler Weber got one and Keegan McGovern got one. It was good for us to get the running game going. Bottom line, we’ve just got to come up with the hits when we needed them, and in the ninth we just didn’t make the pitches and the plays that we needed to win the game.”
On knowing the team can hang with a highly-ranked opponent…
“The bottom line is we had every chance to win that game and we didn’t play very well. I think Clemson will tell you they didn’t play very well, especially early on. They got the big hits to tie the game up two different times and had the big inning in the ninth. Neither team played very well tonight, and if we’re going to compete with teams like Clemson and teams like Texas A&M and the teams that we have in front of us, we have to play better ball than we did tonight.”
On the close loss…
“We just didn’t make plays when we needed to. You can’t walk a leadoff guy in the ninth inning in a tie game, and we just didn’t play defensively. It’s unfortunate that it got away from us. We battled hard. We didn’t play very well, and I think (Clemson) Coach (Monte) Lee will say they didn’t play well early on. It was a sloppy game, and they were able to get the big hits at the end to win it.”
Jr. OF Skyler Weber
On the ninth inning…
“It just kind of slipped away. I feel like they took advantage of the counts they were in and they just out the ball in play and got hits.”
On taking lessons from the game…
“We need to leave this here at Foley Field. We’re going into a tough place Friday night, so we need to flush this. I mean it hurts, but we know we’re a better team than that. Credit them, they’re a good team, but we know that we are just as good as they are.”
So. OF Keegan McGovern
On the early lead for Georgia…
“It was kind of just that we we’re getting walks and hit-by-pitches, because we weren’t hitting the ball well. So, just trying to get on base any way you can. When you get people on base, you never know what will happen.”
On where the team goes from here…
“We need to put this behind us. Were not going to be dwelling on it, because we got an important SEC series coming up.”
The Bulldogs will head to College Station, Texas for a three-game set at fifth-ranked Texas A&M starting Friday night at 7:35 p.m. ET.