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Clemson strikes back

Clemson strikes back

Clemson strikes back

Clemson catcher Garrett Boulware, rig...

    Two unearned runs off a dropped fly ball in deep left center were the difference in the game as the No. 17 Clemson Tigers escaped J.I. Clements Stadium with a 5-4 win over the Georgia Southern Eagles on Wednesday in the finale of a two-game series.
    Closer Matt Campbell walked Stryker Brown on four pitches to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but earned the save with a grounder, a popup and a strikeout to the heart of GSU’s batting order to end the game.
    The Tigers (12-7) took a 2-1 lead in the second when runs scored from first and second on a dropped third out in left by Brown.  
    “It’s part of the game and you’ve got to keep playing,” GSU coach Rodney Hennon said. “Things are going to happen throughout the course of a season and a game, and mistakes are going to happen. You’ve got to play through them. We’ve got to pick each other up, and these guys have been doing a good job of that.”
    Georgia Southern’s Caleb Pressey, starting for the first time, left runs stranded on second and third in the first and second innings but didn’t allow an earned run before leaving after two innings.
    Clemson leadoff hitter Tyler Slaton hit a two-run bomb in the in the fourth that marked the fourth lead change of the game and put the Tigers ahead 5-4.
    The Eagles (17-5) took the lead in the third when Ben Morgan drew a bases-loaded walk and Garrett Chapman scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Aaron Palmer to put GSU ahead 4-3.
    Clemson took a 3-2 lead in the third after Steven Duggar led the frame off with a double took third on a balk by relief pitcher Eric Alonzo and scored on a wild pitch.
    Alonzo pitched 4.1 innings in relief and got tagged with all three earned runs. He struck out four. Matt McCall finished out the game, striking out four in 2.2 innings.
    “We got a good effort from all three guys,” Hennon said about GSU’s pitching. “There were a couple of mistakes — a ball out there in left field where we had a chance to finish an inning off and the balk and wild pitch — but overall we played pretty good baseball for two games. We had opportunities, but we weren’t able to get that big hit today.”
    The Eagles plated a run in the second on a one-out, bases-loaded walk by Brown, but that RBI walk was surrounded by a pair of strikeouts by Dalton Busby and Aaron Mizell.
    “We had men on base today and we had opportunities,” Hennon said.
    The Eagles struck first in the bottom of the first when Chase Griffin’s RBI double off the right-center wall drove in Brown.
    Georgia Southern scored all four runs off Clemson starter Brody Koerner, who went 2.1 innings and struck out five.
    The Eagles, who got off to a 1-2 start in Southern Conference play after last weekend’s series at Elon, return to conference play with a three-game series against Appalachian State beginning Friday at 6 p.m.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.

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