BOX SCORE: Georgia 8 Clemson 7
The Bulldogs, who evened the home-and-home season series against Clemson, improved to 20-13 in 2012. The Tigers dropped to 19-15 on the season. Georgia's win also snapped Clemson's five-game winning streak in the series against the Bulldogs.
Clemson jumped out to a 5-0 lead after scoring four runs in the second inning. The Bulldogs answered with two runs in the top of the fourth inning, but Clemson responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take another five-run lead. But the Bulldogs rallied with six runs in the top of the fifth inning, capped by Brandon Stephens' go-ahead run on a wild pitch with two outs. The Tigers had scoring opportunities in the bottom of the fifth inning and seventh inning, but came up empty both times.
Ross Ripple (1-0), the third of eight Bulldog hurlers, earned the win. He gave up four hits, two runs, and no walks in 1.0 innings pitched. Blake Dieterich pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts to record his sixth save of the year. The last five Bulldog pitchers combined to pitch 5.0 scoreless innings of two-hit ball. Georgia also held Clemson to 0-for-8 with two outs.
Patrick Andrews (0-2), the second of six Clemson pitchers, suffered the loss. He allowed two hits, two runs, and two walks with two strikeouts in 0.2 innings pitched. Clemson's pitchers combined for seven walks. Five of Georgia's eight runs were scored by Bulldogs who walked.
Clemson grabbed the game's first lead in the first inning. Thomas Brittle belted a one-out double to right-center and Richie Shaffer walked on six pitches. Phil Pohl then lined a single to left field to plate Brittle.
In the second inning, Spencer Kieboom drew a one-out walk and went to third on Jason Stolz's double down the left-field line. Steve Wilkerson followed with a triple to right-center to score Kieboom and Stolz. Brittle then lined a two-run homer to right field, his first long ball as a Tiger, to give Clemson a 5-0 lead.
The Bulldogs mounted a rally in the top of the fourth inning. Hunter Cole drew a leadoff walk. Two batters later, Jonathan Hester walked with one out, then Justin Bryan was hit by a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. Conor Welton reached on a fielder's choice as Cole scored and Bryan was retired at second. The run snapped Daniel Gossett's scoreless innings pitched streak at 12. Stephens followed with a two-out single through the right side to score Hester.
Clemson responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kieboom led off with a single to right-center, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and moved to third on Wilkerson's bloop single to left field. Brittle followed with a single through the right side to plate Kieboom, then Shaffer grounded an 0-2 pitch through the left side to score Wilkerson.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Bulldogs scored six runs on four singles and four walks to take their first lead of the game. Levi Hyams led off with a single up the middle. Two batters later, Cole drew a one-out walk, then Brett DeLoach also walked to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Colby May grounded a single through the right side to score Hyams and Cole. Bryan followed with another walk to reload the bases, then Welton struck out. But Stephens lined a two-out single through the right side to score DeLoach and May, then Curt Powell grounded a single up the middle to plate Bryan and tie the score. Stephens gave the Bulldogs the lead when he scored on a wild pitch.
The Tigers had chances to tie the score, but were unsuccessful each time. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Clemson loaded the bases with two outs, but Wilkerson struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch that just caught the outside corner.
Then in the seventh inning, Jay Baum reached as the leadoff batter on an error. Later in the frame with Baum on third base and two outs, Stolz ripped a liner, but Powell stabbed the ball out of the air at third base to end the inning and keep the Bulldogs ahead 8-7.
Stephens went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead Georgia. All eight of the Bulldogs' hits were singles.
Brittle went 3-for-5 with a homer, double, three RBIs, and two runs for the Tigers, who amassed 11 hits in the contest. Wilkerson went 2-for-5 with a triple, two RBIs, and two runs. Shaffer went 2-for-4 with an RBI, as he upped his multi-game hitting streak to seven games.
Clemson will host #17 N.C. State in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium starting Friday at 6:30 PM. Friday's game will be available live via webcast at ESPN3.