Clemson fell just short in another one-run game, as Georgia defeated the Tigers 11-10 Tuesday night in front of 2,945 fans at Foley Field. Clemson out-hit the Bulldogs 17-10 and had multi-hit games by six different players, but the Tigers left the bases loaded in the ninth inning after pinch-hitter Doug Hogan lined out to right field to end the game. The Tigers are 10-6 in their last 16 games, and have lost those six games by a combined seven runs. Clemson fell to 15-12 overall on the season, while Georgia improved to 16-12.
Reliever Will Startup (3-1) earned the win despite allowing four hits and hitting a batter over the final 2.0 innings. Josh Cribb (2-4), who was making his first relief appearance of the season, suffered the loss.
The Tigers jumped on Brooks Brown in the first inning and took a 2-0 lead thanks to four singles. Leadoff batter Herman Demmink laced a single through the right side on the eighth pitch he saw and Brad Chalk followed with a bunt single. Taylor Harbin then ripped an 0-2 pitch to left field for a single, bringing home Demmink. After Tyler Colvin struck out, Travis Storrer grounded a single up the middle to plate Chalk.
In the second inning, Andy D'Alessio grounded a ball up the middle on the sixth pitch he saw, and thanks to a fast outfield that helped the ball roll deep in the gap, he legged out a double. Stan Widmann was able to advance D'Alessio on a chopper to third base, and Adrian Casanova did his job by hitting a ground ball to shortstop to plate D'Alessio. Casanova actually reached when Josh Smith booted his grounder, as he was still given an RBI due to the infield playing back.
Clemson added to its lead in the third inning when Colvin doubled to the right-field wall, bringing home Chalk. Chalk had earlier reached on an infield single and went to second on a wild pitch. Storrer followed with a double past first-baseman Brandon Lowe, scoring Colvin.
The Bulldogs got to starter Drew Fiorenza during the second time around the lineup and plated four runs. Matthew Dunn, a transfer from Virginia who was 7-for-12 against the Tigers in 2004, led off with a double that bounced over D'Alessio's head at first. Smith followed with a hard single through the right side to advance Dunn to third. Justin Niefer then tripled to right-center, scoring Dunn and Smith. After Bobby Felmy and Josh Morris walked to load the bases, Lowe struck out looking for out #1. Jason Jacobs followed with a line-drive single to center to score Niefer and Felmy. Jeff Hahn entered the game for Fiorenza and avoided further damage by striking out the next to Bulldogs.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Tigers took a three-run lead in the top of the fifth inning thanks to two two-out hits. Harbin hit the first pitch of the inning off the left-center wall for a double. Colvin moved Harbin to third base on a groundout to second base, but Storrer struck out for out #2. Kris Harvey picked up Storrer by hitting a double off the glove of centerfielder Kyle Keen near the wall. The hit extended Harvey's hitting streak to 10 games, the longest by a Tiger in 2005. D'Alessio followed with another hard hit ball up the middle (a single) to score Harvey, giving the Tigers a 7-4 lead.
Georgia responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning without the benefit of a hit. Felmy and Morris led the inning off with walks on 3-2 pitches from Hahn that just missed the strike zone on each occasion according to home plate umpire Danny Everett. Lowe moved the runners up a base by getting down a two-strike bunt, his first sacrifice of the year. Jacobs then hit a grounder right to Widmann at shortstop, but he was unable to cleanly field the ball, as Felmy scored on the play. After Jacobs advanced to second on a wild pitch, Jonathan Wyatt plated Morris with a ground-ball out to second base.
Like the fourth inning, Harbin led off the sixth inning with a double, this time just inside the left-field line for his 16th two-bagger of the season. After Colvin walked on four pitches, Storrer laid down a bunt to Morris at third. Morris' throw to first was high and wide, pulling Dunn off the bag. It was the first time the sophomore played at third base in his Bulldog career. With the bases loaded and no outs, Harvey ripped a liner, but right at Keen in center. However Harbin scored on the sacrifice fly and Colvin advanced to third. D'Alessio followed with a solid single through the right side to score Colvin.
After reliever Stephen Clyne retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh inning, Lowe hit a single to right field and Jacobs walked. Then on a 2-2 pitch, Wyatt blooped a ball between the left and centerfielder that ran all the way to the warning track, allowing two runs to score. Then Keen, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, lined a Clyne curveball to left-center for a double that brought home Wyatt and tied the score at 9-9. Dunn followed with an infield single, as Clyne slipped trying to plant his right foot, while Keen went to third. The runs were the first allowed by Clyne all season. In came Clemson's regular Friday starter, Cribb. During one of Cribb's pitches, Dunn broke for second base and Casanova threw all the way through. But neither Widmann nor Harbin was covering the bag. However Casanova took something off the throw, as it hopped right behind the mound. Widmann made a late recovery and stabbed the throw on the right side of the infield with a diving attempt. He got up and threw a strike home, as Keen tried to score from third after Casanova's throw went down. Casanova caught the ball and made the tag on a sliding Keen to keep the score tied.
The Tigers came right back and took the lead in the eighth inning. Demmink led off with a ground-ball single through the right side and went to second on Chalk's sacrifice bunt. Harbin then grounded a ball to Smith at shortstop, as Demmink broke for third. Demmink was safe at third when Smith's throw was errant. Pinch-hitter Ben Hall then ripped the first pitch he saw through the left side to plate Demmink, giving the Tigers a 10-9 lead. Storrer followed with a soft liner to Smith at shortstop, who made a "shoe-string" catch. He then doubled off Harbin for the inning-ending out.
But for the fourth time in a row, Georgia answered a Clemson score with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Cribb, who entered the game second in Clemson history in lowest career walks per nine innings pitched, walked Niefer and Felmy with one out. Morris then hit a towering drive to right field that Storrer caught just shy of the warning track, as Niefer advanced to third on the play. Pinch-hitter Derek Smith then walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, the ninth walk of the game by Tiger pitchers. After Cribb's 1-2 and 2-2 pitches to Jacobs narrowly missed the strike zone according to Everett, Jacobs hit a two-run single to right-center to give the Bulldogs the lead.
In the top of the ninth, Harvey led off with a line-drive single to left field. On a 1-2 pitch, D'Alessio hit a ball deep to left field that Wyatt was able to track down on the warning track. Widmann followed with a single to left field, his first hit in five at-bats, to move the tying run to second base. Pinch-hitter David Williams struck out for out #2, but Demmink was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Head Coach Jack Leggett called upon Hogan, who was 1-for-11 in his freshman season, to come up to the plate. Hogan laced a Startup pitch to right field, but right at Felmy for the game's final out.
Harbin and D'Alessio led the Tiger hitting attack with three hits apiece, including two doubles by Harbin. Demmink, Chalk, Storrer, and Harvey also contributed two hits apiece. Clemson hit six doubles in all and had the leadoff runner reach base in seven innings. Jacobs led the Bulldogs with two hits and five RBIs, becoming the first Tiger opposing player to total at least four RBIs in a single game in 2005. Wyatt also had three RBIs for the Bulldogs, who were aided by a season-high nine walks by Tiger pitchers. Entering the game, Clemson had not walked more than six batters in a game in 2005. Meanwhile, Georgia pitchers walked just two batters.
Clemson and Georgia will match up again on Wednesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM.
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