Georgia’s first road trip of the season exposed some deficiencies.
Georgia second baseman Levi Hyams celebrates his home run with shortstop Kyle Farmer during the NCAA college baseball game in Athens, Ga., Saturday.
The Bulldogs won’t have very much time to plug the holes as they host Clemson tonight.
A couple of late-inning collapses cost Georgia at Vanderbilt last weekend as the Bulldogs dropped two of three to the Commodores.
“We weren’t ready last weekend,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “We didn’t throw strikes on Saturday, and on Sunday, we just didn’t execute. We didn’t minimize damage. That’s disappointing. It’s something that we’ve been fairly decent at and it’s definitely something that we have to improve if we’re going to stay in the hunt.
“You can’t let one- and two-run innings turn into three and four because these teams in our league and on our schedule will run away from you. Especially if you do it late, you don’t have time to make it up. That was the issue with us this weekend.”
No. 25 Georgia (17-8) hosts Clemson (11-11) at 7 p.m. today at Foley Field in the first game of their annual home-and-home series. Georgia ’s probable starter is right-hander David Sosebee (2-0, 0.79 ERA). Sosebee picked up the win in last week’s mid-week rivalry game against Georgia Tech.
Both Georgia and Clemson come into today’s game licking their wounds after disappointing road trips. Clemson dropped all three in a weekend series at Virginia, 6-3 on Friday, 5-1 on Saturday and 5-3 on Sunday.
“I think we both had disappointing weekends, so both teams are going to be hungry for a win,” Perno said. “Obviously, we’re fortunate it’s here. Sosebee will start and hopefully we’ll get a lot of the same effort from him that we got against Georgia Tech last week.”
Sosebee allowed one hit with one walk and one strikeout in three shutout innings as Georgia beat Georgia Tech 7-1 last Tuesday. He has made four mid-week starts so far this season.
Georgia started last weekend’s series at Vanderbilt with a 1-0 win that featured a one-hour rain delay that cut Alex Wood’s start to five innings. Georgia blew a 4-2 ninth-inning lead and lost to the Commodores 5-4 on Saturday. Vanderbilt scored four in the eighth and rallied to a 5-3 win on Sunday.
“Yeah, we ran into some bad luck on Friday with the weather,” Perno said. “That’s the second week in a row you cut short one of the best pitchers in the country because of a rain delay and have to use the back end of the bullpen to close out the last five. That affected our bullpen the rest of the series.”
Georgia’s offense produced mixed results over the weekend. Georgia had three hits but won the Friday game on a solo home run by Curt Powell. The next two days Georgia produced 27 hits but only scored seven runs and lost twice.
“We hit the ball and we drove the ball,” Perno said. “Other than Friday night when we only got one good swing off, we hit the ball and had some good at-bats. We had 17 hits on Saturday, so we just need the big hit there. On Sunday, we hit the ball well, but they just made some great plays in the field. Their outfield made some great catches. They threw a guy out at second, which was big for them. I like where we are. Unfortunately, this is the first time all year that we found ways to lose. We didn’t find ways to win. Those games were there for the taking and we didn’t do a good job of taking them.”
Clemson at Georgia
WHEN: 7 p.m. today
WHERE: Foley Field.
RADIO: 960-AM The Ref.
RECORDS: No. 25-ranked Georgia is 17-8; Clemson is 11-11.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS: Georgia RHP David Sosebee (2-0, 0.79) vs. Clemson TBA.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: CLEMSON – Infielder Steve Wilkerson bats a team-high .393 with five doubles and 13 RBIs. … Phil Pohl leads the team in run production with a .304 average, four home runs and 22 RBIs. … Infielder Richie Shaffer has a .316 average with four home runs and 17 RBIs.
GEORGIA – Outfielder Hunter Cole has an eight-game hitting streak. … Shortstop Kyle Farmer is batting .330 with three home runs and 18 RBIs. … Third baseman Curt Powell is batting a team-high .365 and had his first home run of the season last Friday in a 1-0 win against Vanderbilt.
SERIES: Clemson leads 71-48-1 in games dating back to 1950.
LAST MEETING: Clemson swept both meetings last season, 5-2 at Foley field and 11-5 at Clemson.
SEASON AT A GLANCE: Georgia was 2-2 last week but comes off of dropping two of three SEC games at Vanderbilt. Clemson comes off of being swept in a three-game ACC series at Virginia .
NOTEWORTHY: Georgia has played 21 of its first 25 games at home. … Clemson is 0-5 so far this season in road games. … Georgia closer Blake Dieterich suffered his first blown save and his first loss last weekend at Vanderbilt. He has a 3-1 record with four saves and a 0.93 ERA. … This will be a planned staff day with several pitchers working limited innings. … Georgia is 5-2 in one-run games this season. … First baseman Colby May has not made an error in 209 chances so far this season. … Clemson has won four straight since Georgia swept the series in 2009. … The next meeting will be on April 11 at Clemson.
— Roger Clarkson