By Will Vandervort
ATHENS, Ga. — During a pitching change in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday night at Georgia’s Foley Field, the University of Georgia marketing department played the video, “What do Tigers dream of when they take a little Tiger snooze?” from the movie “The Hangover.”
Well, at least on Tuesday night, they dreamed of scoring runs on the Bulldogs.
“That was funny,” Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer said. “I’m not going to lie, because if we were losing it would not have been so funny, but we were winning so it was pretty funny. We enjoyed that too.”
The Tigers had a lot of fun. After being held to seven runs in a three-game sweep at the hands of Virginia over the weekend, Clemson redeemed itself against the Bulldogs as it put up 16 runs on 16 hits in a 10-5 victory. Georgia entered the game with a 2.40 earned run average to rank ninth nationally — second in the SEC.
Shaffer said Clemson head coach Jack Leggett had a little talk with the team after the Virginia series, and the junior said his message got through to everyone.
“He really did not have to say anything,” said Shaffer, who was 3-for-6 with three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the second inning. “He obviously had some words for us because he is our coach and he is going to try and motivate us and try to get us going, but we have a lot of pride in this team and having the weekend that we did against Virginia is unacceptable for us.
“We came out here pretty focused and we executed, and it turned out to be a great game.”
Especially great when there were two outs and runners in scoring position, a situation the Tigers (12-11) have struggled to execute all season. But against the Bulldogs, Clemson scored eight of its 10 runs with two outs.
“We have not seen that in a while,” Leggett said. “We have not seen a lot of two-out hits and a lot of two-out RBIs and that type of thing. It was good to see it, and now it is our job to try and maintain it.”
Clemson’s 10 runs and 16 hits marked the most hits and runs Georgia (17-9) has allowed all year, while the 16 hits also tied a season-high for the Tigers, who did the same in a 16-4 win against Holly Cross on March 7.
“We talked about having a little better focus, and we talked about coming to the ballpark and having that will to win and that will to make things happen,” Leggett said. “I think our will at times this year has not been as good as it needs to be, but we are ready to go now.”
Besides Shaffer, Clemson also got three hits and an RBI from Phil Pohl, while Jon McGibbon drove in three runs. The Tigers also got two hits from Steve Wilkerson, Brad Felder, Jay Baum and Tyler Slaton.
“These are the kinds of games we can play,” Shaffer said. “Our record is not very indicative of the team we have and the talent we have on this team. It was just a matter of putting it all together. We have not had a game or two games where we have had every aspect of our game rolling on all cylinders.”
After giving up three runs in the first inning, Daniel Gossett took control of the game sitting down 13 of the next 14 batters he faced. It was Gossett’s second straight victory in as many starts.
After giving up the lead in the bottom half of the first inning thanks to three Georgia hits, including an RBI double from Colby May, the Tigers answered in the top of the second inning as they recorded two hits to lead off the inning and then Shaffer delivered his two-run bomb to right centerfield. Shaffer’s home run gave Clemson a 4-3 lead at the time.
The Tigers padded their lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Pohl had a one-out base hit in the fourth to score Shaffer, who reached on an error, while Slaton got a two-out hit to right in the fifth to score Spencer Kieboom from third.
With two outs again in the sixth inning, McGibbon extended the Clemson lead to 8-3 with a two-out smack to right, which allowed Pohl and Felder to easily come home.
Clemson continued its two-out hit parade in the top of the seventh when Stolz got a two-hit to right field and Shaffer followed with a double down the left-field line, giving the Tigers a 9-4 lead.