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April 1, 2009

Three-run 9th lifts #1 UGA over Clemson 4-2

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Top-ranked Georgia scored three runs in the ninth inning to top #17 Clemson 4-2 in front of 5,239 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Bulldogs, who won both games of the home-and-home midweek series, improved to 24-3, while the Tigers dropped to 18-9. The loss snapped Clemson's nine-game home winning streak as well.

The Bulldogs tallied just one run on three hits in the first eight innings, but they put runners on first and second with no outs in the ninth and Rich Poythress' groundball single plated the tying run. An error in the outfield on the play enabled Johnathan Taylor to score all the way from first base and the Bulldogs tacked on another run.

Bulldog reliever Will Harvil (2-0) earned the win, as he pitched 1.1 perfect innings with a strikeout. Four Georgia relievers combined to allow just one hit, no runs, and one walk with six strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched.

Matt Vaughn (1-1) suffered the loss, as he yielded three runs (two earned) on two hits in the ninth inning.

The loss spoiled a gem by Tiger starter Justin Sarratt, who did not factor in the decision. The junior righthander from Gaffney, SC pitched a career-long 8.0 innings, allowing just three hits, one run, and one walk with 12 strikeouts in throwing 117 pitches, including 80 strikes, against a team that entered the week 10th in the nation in scoring. He struck out a career-high 12 batters, as he had never struck out more than four in a game in his 47 previous appearances. The 12 strikeouts were also the most by a Tiger since righthander Steve Reba struck out 12 against Duke on April 14, 2001.

After allowing a double to lead off the game, Sarratt retired the next 17 Bulldogs as well.

The Tigers grabbed the game's first lead in the second inning. Ben Paulsen led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a passed ball, and moved to third on Kyle Parker's flyout to right field. Richard Mounce followed with a groundout to short that allowed Paulsen to score.

In the fifth inning, Jason Stolz reached on a one-out walk but was erased on Will Lamb's fielder's choice for out #2. Mike Freeman followed with a single through the right side that moved Lamb to third and Brad Mller laid down a bunt single to third that scored Lamb, upping Clemson's lead to 2-0.

In the seventh inning, John Nester led off with an infield single and Stolz followed with a walk. But the next three Tigers were retired and Clemson was unable to add to its lead.

The Bulldogs cut Clemson's lead in half in the eighth inning when Colby May lined a solo homer down the left-field line, his ninth long ball of the season.

In the ninth inning, Matt Cerione led off with a line-drive single to right-center on a 1-2 pitch after Vaughn just missed on an 0-2 pitch. Taylor, a pinch-hitter, followed with a walk and Poythress hit a chopper past a diving Freeman at second base. Cerione scored the tying run from second base and Taylor scored when the ball got by Parker in right field. Three batters later, Poythress scored on Joey Lewis' groundout.

The Tigers outhit Georgia 8-5 and were led by Freeman and Miller with two hits apiece. Cerione and Poythress each had two hits for Georgia, who left just two runners on base. In the two-game series, the Tigers outhit Georgia .260 to .238, but they stranded 17 runners on base to the Bulldogs' eight.

Clemson will play host to Duke in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium beginning Friday at 6:30 PM.

*** To chat with other Clemson fans about this article please visit The West Zone message board.



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