The Georgia Bulldogs have not been a team that has often depended on home runs to win games. It would be hard to determine that on Tuesday night though when Georgia used four monster home runs and late clutch hitting to beat Clemson 8-7 at Foley Field.
In a back-and-forth battle, Parks Harber’s walk-off double won the game for the Bulldogs, who fought against adversity multiple times on Tuesday night. Georgia improved to 24-12 (7-8) on the season, winning its third game in a row.
“We showed a lot of toughness,” said Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin. “That was as good of a win as we’ve had in a long time, just the way it went about and the way it played out, that was a really good win.”
Corey Collins started the game off with a tape measure home run to right field. Collins’ ball hit the trees planted in right field, which probably saved some of the parked cars that were at the top of the hill next to the famous “Green House.” Collins is now leading the team in RBI’s with 29 and has started playing catcher rather than just being a designated hitter.
He has gone through a few weekend slumps but has more than exceeded expectations for a freshman. Collins is hitting with a .303 batting average on the season and seven home runs as well. Stricklin offered some insight as to why he thinks Collins has been so successful.
“He’s just a really mature kid,” said Stricklin. “He’s been swinging it better now that he’s been playing more regularly defensively. When you’re in the game, you get a sweat going and you get adrenaline going. He is a force to be reckoned with, there’s no question about it.”
Josh McAllister, Riley King and Cole Tate all added no-doubt home runs for themselves. Georgia continued its offensive hot-streak by scoring at least eight runs for the third game in a row as well. The Bulldogs were not able to easily cruise to victory though.
A “nightmare” seventh inning saw Clemson plate four runs to take a 6-4 lead. Miscues like an error from Cole Tate and a wild pitch from Michael Polk almost ended up costing the Bulldogs the game. However, Georgia showed resilience by fighting back to tie the game and eventually take the lead.
Tate’s two-run home run came in the bottom of the seventh, just minutes after making that costly error at shortstop. Georgia also added a run in the eighth on a Josh McAllister RBI single, which gave the Bulldogs a 7-6 lead. McAllister has been a force at the top of the lineup, going 2-3, with two walks and two runs on Tuesday night.
Darryn Pasqua gave up a run in the top of the ninth inning, which set the stage for Georgia to win another game in walk-off fashion. Parks Harber stepped to the plate after previously pinch-hitting, something he did not often do in high school. With runners on first and second, Harber lined one to center, where the center fielder laid out to try and make a play. The ball fell well short of his glove though, allowing Harber to run around the bases celebrating with his teammates after his RBI double.
“It was fun. It was fun being able to come in late in the game and help my team win,” said Harber. “My job was to sit on the bench and be ready when your name is called.”
Harber’s walk-off hit sent Georgia fans home happy because of the win, but also because they would not have to sit through a 20-inning game, like the one that happened between Georgia and Clemson at Foley Field on April 16, 2019.
Next, Georgia will travel to Missouri for a three-game series that will start Friday at 7:30 p.m.