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Jackson silences Georgia’s bats

ATHENS, Ga. — Tyler Jackson had his best game as a Clemson Tiger as the graduate student went 7 2/3 innings in leading the fourth-ranked Tigers to a 4-0 victory over rival Georgia at Foley Field on Tuesday in Athens, Ga.

It was Clemson’s third straight win over the Bulldogs, and it was the Tigers seventh shutout of the season.

“Honestly, I have not been counting,” Jackson said. “I know it is more than I have ever been a part of as a pitcher, but we just have to keep the ball rolling.”

Jackson was magnificent while besting his seven-inning performance he pitched against Wofford in a 9-2 victory on Feb. 28. The righty allowed no runs and scattered four hits while fanning five and with no walks. Jackson threw just 77 pitches while improving to 5-1 overall on the mound.

“He was really, really good for us, again,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said afterwards. “It is always a great feeling to have a veteran who just pounds the strike zone and is worthy of weekend starts. He is a weekend caliber guy and he is pitching for us on Tuesdays.

“It is just a great feeling as a head coach and for our team to have a guy that can go out there in the middle of the week like he does and give us a quality start.”

The Bulldogs, who had won five of their previous six games, did not have a lead-off hit all night.

Georgia pitchers Ryan Avidano, Christian Ryder, Blakley Brown and Kevin Smith did their best to match Jackson as they quieted Clemson hitters who produced 39 runs in the Tigers’ five games last week. In all, seven Tigers struck out. However, they did allow five free passes, including three hit batters.

The two teams combined for just nine hits.

Clemson (25-5) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Chris Williams launched a bomb off Avidano in the top of the first inning with two outs. Williams’ home run to left field was his eighth of the season as it scored Logan Davidson who led off the inning with a single through the hole on the left side of the infield.

Williams now has 31 RBIs on the season.

“I noticed he was throwing a lot of fastballs so I was just trying to get the bat out in front and put a good swing on it,” Williams said.

The Bulldogs (13-17) had just two runners in scoring position all night, one in the second-inning and one in the bottom of the eighth. They actually brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the eighth inning, but Jacob Hennessy got Tucker Maxwell to fly out to center with two outs to end the inning.

The Tigers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning when Drew Wharton came home off a Grayson Byrd sac-fly to left field for a 3-0 lead. Chase Pinder made the score 4-0 when Georgia shortstop Cam Shepard threw the ball away with two outs on a Logan Davidson grounder.

Pinder, who did not start the game in center field due to a minor injury, was pinch running for Robert Jolly.

Clemson will get the next two days off before hosting Virginia Tech this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson. Game 1 is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start on Friday.

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