CLEMSON — Two streaks were stopped Wednesday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium — neither in Clemson baseball’s favor.
Georgia grabbed the lead early and held the Tigers at bay, 5-3, to split the two-game, home-and-home series and stop their losing streak at nine — a game short of tying a school record.
In turn, the Tigers (16-9) dropped their first midweek contest in the last six, which had stretched over the last three weeks.
The loss was most disappointing to Clemson coach Jack Leggett in not maintaining the hitting momentum from game one of the series, a 13-hit, 9-1 Tigers' win in Athens, Ga.
Georgia 5, Clemson 3 wrap-up
“We didn’t come to play offensively at all,” Leggett said. “We hit backwards and started taking the fastball. We were not aggressive.
“Last night, we were aggressive. We were a totally different team and that’s what bothers me. We played exceptionally aggressive and tonight we decided to outthink ourselves.”
Taking advantage of some friendly winds, the Diamond Dogs (9-17) jumped on the board early, as shortstop Kyle Farmer lifted a two-run homer to left field in the first frame.
In the sixth, left fielder Hunter Cole got in on that action, lofting a fly-ball that carried over the left field fence for a 3-1 Georgia advantage.
Led by Cole, the one through four hitters in the Bulldogs’ lineup did the damage, scoring four of the five runs and accounting for five of the Bulldogs’ seven hits. Cole finished 2-for-4 on the night with two runs scored and an RBI.
Clemson chased Georgia freshman right-handed starter David Gonzalez in the third inning on a right fielder Steven Duggar RBI single, but righty reliever Ross Ripple ended it there as a part of a 1-6-3 double play.
The redshirt sophomore lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing one hit with three strikeouts for his first win in 13 appearances this season (1-0).
Meanwhile, Clemson freshman right-handed starter Brody Koerner cruised (0-1) on from early trouble, allowing a single basehit in the next three innings in his second career start.
Lefty Zack Erwin took over from there. He had earned wins in two of his last three opportunities, giving up five hits and a single run in over 10 1/3 innings of work, but it was a little rockier this time around.
In his second inning in relief, the freshman gave up two walks and a hit, but that one knock sailed over the wall from Cole’s bat.
Adding insurance late, second basemen Nelson Ward singled and scored later on a balk in the seventh, and right fielder Jared Walsh launched a home run to right field in the eighth.
Clemson left eight on base, only stringing together more than a hit per inning once. No Tiger batter had multiple hits.
The Tigers’ last stand came in the bottom of the ninth, with first baseman Jon McGibbon reaching on a walk and shortstop Tyler Krieger bringing him home on a two-out double. But two at-bats later, Duggar struck out swinging, on a full count with the tying runners on, to end the threat.
“It was another team we should have beat,” Clemson sophomore catcher Garrett Boulware said, lamenting a second spoiled chance in a row at sweeping a series. “We shouldn’t have let them stay in the game as long as we did. We shouldn’t have let them start the game (like that).
“We had to battle way too late in the game and we didn’t give ourselves as many opportunities as we should have and that’s what happens.”
After rough outings over the weekend against Duke, two Clemson weekend pitchers got work — freshman right-hander Clate Schmidt pitching 2/3 and senior righty Scott Firth pitching 1 2/3 innings scoreless.
Both teams hit the road for tough conference series at top-10 programs this weekend. Clemson heads to Chapel Hill, N.C. for a date with the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, and Georgia travels to No. 8 Kentucky.