Dawgs sweep Clemson

CLEMSON - Georgia got six shutout innings from its bullpen and posted a 6-4 win over Clemson here Wednesday to sweep the two-game set in front of a Doug Kingsmore Stadium crowd of 5,973.

For the second night in a row, Georgia (17-10) jumped on the Clemson starting pitcher in the first. After a two-out walk to junior Gordon Beckham, sophomore first baseman Rich Poythress launched a two-run home run off Tiger right-hander Trent Rothlin. It was the seventh home run of the year for Poythress and his second one in as many nights. Georgia has outscored its opponents 44-13 in the first inning this season.

The Tigers tied the contest in their half of the second taking advantage of a two-out walk by freshman right-hander Justin Grimm. After Grimm got back-to-back strikeouts, Wilson Boyd reached on a four-pitch walk and John Hinson kept the inning going with an infield single. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and then shortstop Matt Sanders lined a single to right to make it 2-2.

In the third, Clemson (18-10) took a 4-2 lead courtesy of a two-run home run by Ben Paulsen, his eighth of the year. Georgia turned to junior left-hander Jason Leaver in the fourth as Grimm allowed four runs on four hits through the first three frames. He pitched a scoreless inning and recorded two strikeouts.

In the fifth, Georgia went back to the long ball to tie the game. Joey Lewis drew a leadoff walk and centerfielder Adam Fuller blasted his first career home run, a two-run shot that ended Rothlin's night. Freshman left-hander Casey Harman got the Tigers out of the inning with the game tied at 4-all. Georgia handed the ball to sophomore right-hander Steve Esmonde who provided two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts.

In the seventh, Georgia reclaimed a 6-4 advantage, scoring two runs on three hits off Harman. With one out, Matt Olson singled to left and took second when Beckham was issued his third walk of the night. After Poythress flew out to the wall in centerfield for the second out, designated hitter Bryce Massanari broke the tie with a run-scoring single. Freshman left fielder Lyle Allen followed with an RBI-single for a 6-4 lead. Clemson lifted Harman and brought in closer Matt Vaughn who got the final out. Bulldog senior Nick Montgomery pitched a scoreless seventh and recorded two strikeouts while sophomore Dean Weaver set the Tigers down in order in the eighth. Fields preserved the win in the ninth for his seventh save and 30th of his career, moving him into second place in Bulldog history. He is now tied with Alex Barylak and three shy of the school record held by former All-American and major leaguer Cris Carpenter who had 33 from 1985-87.

Esmonde got his first career win while Harman got the loss to fall to 0-3. Georgia swept the two-game set against the Tigers for the first time since 2005.

"We hit a couple of home runs and got another stellar performance from our bullpen," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We found another guy in Steve Esmonde. He came in threw strikes, kept the ball down and looked good. Also, we got some more key two-out hits including from Bryce Massanari and that's always good."

Georgia returns to SEC action Friday at Foley Field when it plays host to ninth-ranked South Carolina (19-7, 6-3 SEC). First pitch against the Gamecocks is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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