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ATHENS, GA. – In the longest game (by innings) in both Clemson and Georgia history, Connor Tate hit a walkoff single with one out in the 20th inning to score Tucker Maxwell for the winning run in the No. 4 Bulldog’s 3-2 win over the No. 16 Tigers at Foley Field on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs, who won both games of the home-and-home season series, improved to 30-8, while the Tigers fell to 25-12.
The Tigers broke through with the first two runs of the game in the sixth inning on Kyle Wilkie’s two-out, run-scoring single, then Bryar Hawkins hit a run-scoring triple off the wall. The Bulldogs tied the score with two runs in the seventh inning on a wild play. Cam Shepherd laced a one-out double off the glove of Grayson Byrd at third base, then Elijah Henderson lost the grip on the ball in left field, allowing two unearned runs to score on the error.
After 12 scoreless innings, Maxwell led off the 20th inning with a walk, moved to second base on an error on a failed pickoff attempt and advanced to third base on an infield single by Riley King with no outs. After Luke Sommerfeld struck out James Williams and the Tigers intentionally walked LJ Talley, Tate grounded an 0-2 pitch through the left side to score Maxwell for the walkoff run in a game that lasted six hours and 33 minutes and ended at 1:35 a.m.
Darryn Pasqua (1-0) earned the win, as he gave up two hits, no runs and two walks with seven strikeouts in 5.0 innings pitched. Sommerfeld (0-1) suffered the loss, as he allowed five hits, one run and four walks with five strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.
Tiger starter Jacob Hennessy, who retired the last 11 batters he faced, surrendered just two hits, no runs and one walk with four strikeouts in 5.0 innings pitched. Carson Spiers set career highs for innings pitched (4.0) and strikeouts (6), as he gave up just one hit, no runs and no walks. Holt Jones also pitched 3.2 hitless and scoreless innings in relief with five strikeouts.
The seven Tiger pitchers combined for a school-record 24 strikeouts, one more than the previous school record of 23 set against Elon on Feb. 24, 2017 in a 1-0 Clemson victory in 13 innings.
The 20-inning game was one more inning than the previous Clemson record. On May 26, 1988 in an NCAA Tournament game at New Britain, Conn., Clemson defeated Fordham 3-2 in 19 innings. Byrd and Hawkins tied the school record for at-bats (9) in a game as well.
The Tigers host Duke in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. on ACC Network Extra. The first 1,000 fans receive a free set of trading cards.
Photos by Sierra Heil