CLEMSON — After a pretty dull five innings of play, the last play of Tuesday’s Clemson-Georgia game finally got fans on their feat at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and down a run with Cam Cannarella on first, Clemson’s Cooper Ingle ripped a double down the leftfield line. The baseball ran into the right corner of the stadium, as the Tigers sent Cannarella home with the tying run.
Georgia’s Josh Stinson threw a strike to second baseman Mason LaPlante, who delivered a perfect throw to catcher Corey Collins to easily get Cannarella at home, as Georgia hung on for a 5-4 win.
“We made a nice run there at the end,” Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said. “Cam getting on base and Cooper hitting the double, it was absolutely, one hundred percent, the right thing to do to go for it there as we tried to score from first.
“Two outs, you have to take your shot there to tie it. The ball (came) right to the right fielder and they made a nice relay throw to the plate.”
Through the first three and third innings, Clemson and Georgia combined for nine runs off 12 hits. It appeared it was going to be a slugfest. It was anything but.
The two pitching staffs combined to give up zero runs and five hits the rest of the way. The win allowed Georgia to avenge last week’s loss to the Tigers and avoid the season sweep from its rival.
“You thought after three innings this was going to be a double-digit scoring affair by both sides and slugfest, and then all of a sudden, both pitching staffs really settled in,” Bakich said. “I was a little bit surprised and disappointed that we did not put together better at-bats.”
Clemson (22-16) scored all four of its runs and had six hits in the first two innings. After that, Georgia pitching shut the Tigers down. Clemson had three hits the rest of the way and two of those hits came in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.
“It got to be kind of a pitchers’ duel,” Bakich said. “Whether that was boring or whatever it was, it just seemed to lack (excitement). We just have to do a better job of creating positive energy to get the crowd into it and get the place loud and hostile, but we did not do that.”
Collin Caldwell, who came in the game with one out in the second inning, earned the win after 2 2/3 innings of work. He did not allow a hit or a run, while striking out four and walking two batters. In all, Georgia threw six pitchers, as Leighton Finley earned the save.
Clemson pitching was just as solid. The Tigers relievers allowed just two hits over the last five innings, as Reed Garris, Rob Hughes, Ty Olenchuk and Ryan Ammons pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
“They did that last week too,” Bakich said. “The bullpen has been getting better. Where we had the early, early struggles and could not hold on to leads late, they were over-taxed, and guys were coming on and off the injury report.
“Our starters have helped that on the weekends by going a little bit deeper and keeping these guys fresh. We are settling into the season. This is game thirty-eight and guys are settling into some roles.”
With two outs in the top of the first inning, Georgia’s Parks Harber launched a bomb to left field for a two-run shot and a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers rallied to tie things up in the bottom half of the first. With no outs, Ingle doubled down the right field line to score Cannarella and with two outs, Billy Amick picked up Ingle with a double down the third base line.
Clemson followed its first inning with two more runs in the second inning as Taylor singled through the right side to score Nathan Hall and Cannarella for a 4-2 lead.
The Bulldogs (20-17) tied the game with two runs of their own in the top of third inning. Charlie Condon led off the inning with a home run to centerfield and Collins later flied out to center to score Connor Tate with a sacrifice fly.
Georgia went back in front, 5-4, after Josh Stinson doubled down the third base line with one out to plate Sebastian Murillo in the top of the fourth inning.
Stat of the Game: In Clemson’s last 18 at-bats, Bakich reported that he charted 15 at-bats that were not good quality at bats. He said the team goal is to have 50-percent quality at-bats every game.
Injury update: Pitcher Ryan Ammons returned to the mound for the first time since the second weekend of the season. Ammons pitched the last 1 1/3 innings for the Tigers. He did not allow a run or a hit.
Player of the Game: Georgia pitcher Collin Caldwell, went 2 2/3 innings. He did not give up a run or a hit, while striking out four batters and walking two.
Key Moment: With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and down a run with Cam Cannarella on first, Clemson’s Cooper Ingle ripped a double down the leftfield line. The baseball ran into the right corner of the stadium, as the Tigers sent Cannarella home with the tying run. Georgia’s Josh Stinson threw a strike to second baseman Mason LaPlante, who delivered a perfect throw to catcher Corey Collins to easily get Cannarella at home.
Up Next: Clemson will visit NC State Friday to start a three-game series in Raleigh, N.C. First-pitch is set for 6 p.m.
–photo courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications
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