NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — The good people with the Augusta Green Jackets opened SRP Park in North Augusta Tuesday by dubbing the game between No. 10 Georgia and third-ranked Clemson as the Showdown on The River with the Savannah River located right behind the right field wall.
In the end, the showdown had a little bit of everything … three home runs, good pitching, good defense and some not so good pitching. When it was all said and done, the Bulldogs handed the Tigers a 6-3 loss in front of 5,801 fans.
“Georgia was the better team tonight, that’s for sure,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said.
The Georgia win snapped the Tigers four-game win streak in the series and was the first time Clemson head coach Monte Lee lost to the Bulldogs in five tries.
Clemson (25-8) got home runs from Drew Wharton and Jordan Greene in the second inning, but Tiger pitching gave up seven walks and a three-run home run to Michael Curry, his seventh of the season for the Bulldogs.
After Georgia (24-9) gave up two second-inning home runs, its pitching staff settled down and struck out 13 Tigers while walking two.
The Tigers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday.
“We could not find enough good at-bats to get us back in the ballgame,” Lee said. “We had a couple of opportunities, but not very many because I felt like they did such a good job out of the bullpen matching up righty and lefty. Their bullpen was very, very good.”
Clemson took an early three-run lead in the bottom of the second inning thanks to Wharton’s two-run homer to left field and then a solo shot from Greene three batters later.
The Tigers started with a single to center field from designated hitter Robert Jolly. Wharton then followed with his blast to left to make the score 2-0. Greene’s home run screamed to left field and down the line before bouncing off the foul pole fair for his fourth home run of the season.
Greene has now hit a home run in four of the last six games.
Georgia answered with a five-spot in the top of the third inning to take the lead. The Bulldogs got five runs on three hits in the inning. After Ivan Johnson singled, Tucker Maxwell walked and Bradley singled to the mound to load the bases, Cam Shepard walked in a run and then Aaron Schunk flew out to right field to score a second run.
With runners on second and third Michael Curry homered to left field on a 2-0 count that Travis Marr inherited from starter Spencer Strider, making the score 5-3 in favor of the Bulldogs. Curry’s home run was charged to Marr, while Strider’s day ended with him being charged five runs in 2 1/3 innings of work.
It was unfortunate for Strider, who was coming off a seven-strikeout performance against Coastal Carolina last week in which he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. However, this week the freshman struggled as he walked three batters and gave up three hits in 2 1/3 innings.
Marr gave up just the one run to Curry and allowed just one more hit over the 3 2/3 innings he worked. He threw 80 pitches and had five strikeouts.
Clemson will host Miami in a three-game series this weekend as it gets back into ACC play. Game 1 is set for Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.