ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia Bulldogs gave up 13 hits and dropped a 9-1 decision to Clemson on Tuesday evening at Foley Field.
Bulldog sophomore Hunter Cole put together his strongest offensive performance of the season after moving from the cleanup position to the two spot in the order, notching three hits and an RBI. Freshman D.J. Smith also recorded a multi-hit game with a double and a base hit while scoring a run.
However, Georgia has now lost nine consecutive games to fall to 8-17 on the season, while Clemson improves to 16-8. Sophomore Luke Crumley took the loss for the Bulldogs after surrendering five hits and five runs through three innings of work. Clemson starter Matthew Crownover earned the win after giving up just one run and striking out four in five innings.
Clemson jumped out to an early 2-0 lead behind a two-run homer to right field from Steven Duggar. After a scoreless second inning by both teams, Clemson put up a three spot in the third inning as Jon McGibbon launched a two-out, bases-clearing double to extend the Tigers’ lead to 5-0.
“We were looking for a better start, and it didn’t happen, but the three runs in the third really was the difference,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “We look to be out of that inning still 2-0 and then they get the bases-clearing double. Offensively, we’re having a tough time coming through when we have scoring opportunities. We left 10 on tonight. Still, it was good to see Hunter Cole and D.J. Smith swing the bat well and Heath Holder and Jarrett Brown kept them off the scoreboard over the final four innings. We just have to keep fighting through this.”
Georgia put two runners on base in the bottom of the third, as Cody Sheedy reached on a walk and Cole singled to left, but the Bulldogs were unable to bring either runner around to score. Patrick Boling took the mound in the fourth to replace Crumley, allowing no runs and just two hits while recording a timely strikeout to end the top half of the frame. After Georgia was retired in order in the bottom of the fourth, Clemson struck for four more runs in the fifth. The Tigers recorded four straight hits to start the inning, including an RBI single by McGibbon and a fielder’s choice RBI by Jay Baum. After Boling struck out a pair of Clemson batters, the Tigers were able to pick up two unearned runs off a Bulldog error to take a 9-0 lead.
Coming in to pinch hit in the bottom of the fifth, Smith recorded his first career double to give the Bulldogs just their second runner in scoring position of the evening. Two batters later, Ward drew a two-out walk and Cole followed with an RBI single to left that plated Smith for Georgia’s first run of the game. Heath Holder entered the game in relief for Georgia in the sixth, tying a career-high with two innings pitched while allowing no runs or hits and recording a strikeout.
The Bulldogs had a prime scoring opportunity in the seventh, loading the bases after back-to-back, two-out singles from Walsh and Ward and a walk by Cole. However, a groundout back to the pitcher ended the inning as the Bulldogs stranded all three runners. Sophomore Jarrett Brown took the mound for Georgia in the final two innings, giving up just three hits and no runs.
The Bulldogs will wrap up the two-game series with the Tigers tomorrow when they travel to Clemson, S.C., for a 7:05 p.m. contest. The game will be televised regionally by CSS.