CLEMSON, S.C.-- Fourth-ranked Clemson used a six-run outburst to defeat Georgia 9-7 Wednesday in front of a Doug Kingsmore Stadium crowd of 4,550. Georgia took a 1-0 lead on a pinch-hit home run by junior Mitchell Webb in the second inning. He came in when freshman Aaron Schunk had to leave the game when he slipped running around first base on a ball that landed foul down the left field line and injured his left thumb. Webb inherited a 1-1 count and launched the first pitch he saw into the seats in left center field.
Sophomore Kevin Smith started for the Bulldogs on a staff night and pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts but did not factor in the decision. He allowed a leadoff triple in the second and then struck out the next three Tigers to maintain a 1-0 lead. Graduate transfer Shaefer Shepard took care of the third frame for Georgia and then ran into trouble in the fourth. Clemson (31-7) sent 11 batters to the plate and tallied six runs on four hits and one Bulldog miscue to surge in front 6-1. Catcher Chris Williams ignited the scoring with a two-run double, and he added his 10th home run in the fifth. Georgia closed the gap to 7-4 in the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits and one Tiger error. Freshmen Austin Biggar, Tucker Maxwell and Cam Shepherd collected RBI in the inning. Overall, Georgia sophomore Adam Sasser tied his career high with a three-hit game. The Tigers pushed across a pair of insurance runs in the eighth off Shane Tucker that proved to be critical.
In the ninth down 9-4, Shepherd smashed a three-run home run with one out off Jeremy Beasley to make it a 9-7 game and sophomore Michael Curry followed with a double. Patrick Andrews stuck out Keegan McGovern and then closer Jacob Hennessy struck out pinch-hitter Logan Moody to end the contest and record his third save.
Clemson senior right-hander Tyler Jackson went 6.2 innings to move his record to 6-1 on the year while Shepard dropped to 0-2. A couple of bright spots for the Bulldog bullpen was freshman Zac Kristofak who provided 2.1 innings and struck out three while sophomore Blakely Brown pitched a scoreless frame.
Georgia (15-23) returns to Foley Field Friday for the start of an SEC series with Vanderbilt (23-15, 7-8 SEC). First pitch will be at 7:02 p.m. EDT and be available on ESPNU and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.
*Junior Mitchell Webb delivered a pinch-hit home run in the second inning. It was his first home run of the year and sixth of his career. It was the second pinch-hit home run by a Bulldog this season, the other belonging to Keegan McGovern versus Xavier on March 8.
*Sophomore 1B Adam Sasser went 3-for-4 tonight and his 8-for-16 over the last four games.
*Freshman SS Cam Shepherd went 2-for-5 with 3RBI, collecting his second career triple in the seventh and a three-run home run in the ninth. He has 15 multi-hit games, tying him with sophomore DH/C Michael Curry for the team lead. Curry went 3-for-5 Wednesday.
"We battled back in the ninth from a five-run hole and had the tying run on. I thought we had good at bats and swung it well early in the game and late but not in the middle. It's so important to put zeros up after they had their big inning, and we didn't do that and it cost us. Aaron (Schunk) is going to be out for a while with a thumb injury. It was kind of a freak injury and then Mitchell (Webb) went in there and hit a home run and finished the game at third base for us."