Clemson (32-15) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with four singles in the top of the first, but Gardner-Webb (28-17-1) rallied for a run in the bottom of the second to cut the lead to 2-1 on John Harris' sharp RBI single to left.
Neither team would score again until the sixth, when the Tigers pushed across a pair of unearned runs with Will Lamb following an error with an RBI double, then scoring on a two-out single by Chris Epps.
Gardner-Webb got a pair of men on board with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, but a close play at second base on a ground ball in the hole ended the inning with the Runnin' Bulldogs down 4-1.
Epps robbed John Harris of a leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh with a diving catch in right, following a pair of double-saving catches by Gardner-Webb's Jake Watts and Benji Jackson earlier in the sixth and seventh.
Clemson went up 5-1 in the top of the eighth, as Richie Shaffer belted a solo home run to lead off the frame - his second long ball in as many games. Gardner-Webb was not able to mount a charge, going down in order in the eighth and ninth.
"We ran into a very hot team, and a team that is pitching at a very, very high level right now," said head coach Rusty Stroupe. "Today's game we played with more energy, and kept it tight, but Clemson has its weekend rotation healthy now and their arms were sharp all weekend. Our three guys (Pagan, Wilson, Stackhouse) threw well today too and kept us in it. We have to get past this weekend and focus on another good team in Liberty here next weekend."
Clemson has gone 18-3 in its past 21 games since being swept at North Carolina in early April.
Reigining ACC Pitcher of the Week Justin Sarratt (6-1) picked up the win, pitching 6.0 innings and allowing just one unearned run on four hits with six strikeouts and a walk. Relievers David Haseldon and Scott Weismann closed the game, combining to strike out six batters in the final three innings.
The Tigers had 10 hits in the game, with Phil Pohl (2-for-4, run), Shaffer (2-for-3, HR, RBI), Jeff Shaus (2-for-4, RBI) and Epps (2-for-3, 2B) collecting eight of those.
Gardner-Webb starter Emilio Pagan (3-2) took the loss, but was solid in 5.2 innings of work - allowing just two earned runs on nine hits with three strikeouts. Brock Wilson (1.1 IP, 1 run, 1 K) and Brett Stackhouse (2.0 IP, 3K) closed out the game for GWU.
Benji Jackson (1-for-4), Jake Watts (1-for-4, 3B), Adam McFarland (1-for-4) and Harris (1-for-3, RBI) had Gardner-Webb's four hits on the afternoon.
Gardner-Webb will break for exams until Friday, May 13, when Liberty comes to Boiling Springs to begin a key, Big South Conference series. Game one is set for 6:00 pm in John Henry Moss Stadium / Bill Masters Field on Friday. The Flames currently sit in second place, while Gardner-Webb (12-9) is tied for third in the league standings with two weekends to play.
For ticket information, call Gardner-Webb athletics at (704) 406-4340.