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Tigers Lose 7-6 Heartbreaker To Georgia

June 7, 2004

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ATHENS, Ga.—-Georgia rallied from a two-run deficit in the ninth inning on a pair of home runs and then blasted another one in the 10th to knock off Clemson 7-6 to capture the NCAA Athens Regional championship Sunday at Foley Field.

Georgia’s ninth-inning runs came on back-to-back solo shots by Bobby Felmy and Jason Jacobs and then Clint Sammons’ solo home run in the top of the 10th provided the winning margin.

“All I can say is, wow” said Bulldogs head coach David Perno. “This is the greatest team I have ever been a part of. As an assistant coach, a head coach and a player I have never been on a team that was as unified. I have never been a part of a team that had so much chemistry. These guys deserve the right to fight another day.”

Clemson (39-26) forced Georgia (41-21) to a second game on Sunday after rallying back from a seven-run deficit to post a 10-9 win.

The Tigers carried that momentum into game two as they jumped out front with four runs in the bottom of the second. Tony Sipp’s three-run triple sparked the inning.

Georgia responded in the top half of the third when Justin Holmes drove home Jacobs and Jonathan Wyatt on a single to right.

Solo shots by Jacobs and Josh Smith in Georgia’s half of the fifth tied the game at 4-4 but Clemson jumped right back on top thanks to a two-run homer by Lou Santangelo in the last half of the inning.

Paul Lubrano started for the Bulldogs after working four innings in a start against Clemson on Saturday. He was relieved by Johnny Dobbs in the third, who worked into the seventh. Will Startup (7-2), named the regional tournament’s most outstanding player, pitched the final 3.2 innings allowing three hits and no runs while the Bulldogs made their rally. In Clemson’s final at bat he struck out the side around two singles.

Patrick Hogan (3-4) pitched two outs in the ninth and the 10th and took the loss.

In game one of the day Georgia led 9-2 through four-and-a-half innings but could not hold its lead as Clemson stormed back for a 10-9 victory. A grand slam by Santangelo in the seventh and a three-run shot by Storrer in the fifth highlighted the Tigers’ rally that forced a second game.

Reliever Josh Cribb (5-1) earned the win for Clemson and Mitchell Boggs (2-4) took the loss for the Bulldogs.

2004 NCAA Athens Regional All-Tournament Team

C – Clint Sammons, Georgia

1B – Connor Robertson, Birmingham Southern

2B – Marshall Szabo, Georgia

3B – Josh Smith, Georgia

SS – Justin Holmes, Georgia

OF – Travis Storrer, Clemson

OF – Tony Sipp’s, Clemson

OF – Michael Cline, Birmingham Southern

DH – Lou Santangelo, Clemson

P – Josh Cribb, Clemson

P – Will Startup, Georgia

Most Outstanding Player – Will Startup, Georgia