Bullpen comes up big, as No. 13 Tigers edge Georgia Southern 5-4

Tyler Slaton hits game-winning homer, then Drew Moyer, Jake Long, Clay Bates, Matt Campbell slam the door

Clemson center fielder Tyler Slaton (18) bats against Appalachian State.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson center fielder Tyler Slaton (18) bats against Appalachian State.

Clemson's bullpen has been a hit-or-miss affair so far this season.

On Wednesday, a stellar relief performance and a bit of improvisation carried the 13th-ranked Tigers to a 5-4 victory over Georgia Southern at Statesboro, and provided a bit of positive momentum heading into their weekend series against top-ranked Florida State.

The Tigers, now 13-7, toughed this one out, aided by shutdown relief performances by Jake Long, Clay Bates and Matt Campbell.

Long, the Tigers' Sunday starter, got his first relief call of the season after a walk and an error by Drew Moyer put runners on first and second with one out in the seventh, with Clemson leading 5-4.

Long responded with a pair of game-saving strikeouts, as he put down Robbie Dodds looking and then got a swinging third strike against Kody Adams.

With Long's in-the-pinch job done, Bates came on and pitched a scoreless eighth, and then Campbell closed the deal.

He walked Stryker Brown on four pitches to lead off the inning, but then got national home run leader Aaron Mizell on a grounder force-out, and followed with fly-out by Chase Griffin. He saved his best for last, striking out pinch hitter Hunter Thomas for the game's final out.

After the Tigers stranded runners on second and third in the top of the first, the Eagles struck first in the bottom of the inning when Griffin doubled in Brown with two outs.

Clemson broke on top in the second on a two-out, two-run error by Georgia Southern's left fielder, but the Eagles answered in the second by loading the bases and scoring the tying run on starter Brody Koerner's walk.

The Tigers edged ahead 3-2 in the third when Steven Duggar doubled, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on a wild pitch.

Clemson's lead was short-lived, however, as Georgia Southern pushed across a pair of runs without a hit in the bottom of the inning and led 4-3.

The scoring ended in the top of the fourth, when Mike Triller singled with one out, and Tyler Slaton followed with a two-run homer.

Moyer (1-0) was the winning pitcher for the Tigers, while Campbell recorded his fourth save. Both teams finished with six hits. Slaton had two for the Tigers, while Triller, Garrett Boulware, Shane Kennedy and Duggar had one each.

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