Mederos Helps Eagles Win Season Opener
STATESBORO, Ga. Chris Mederos (Valdosta/Gordon College) struck out eight in 5.2 innings of work as the junior right-hander, making his Georgia Southern debut, helped the Eagles defeat Presbyterian 7-1 in the season-opener for both teams Friday night (Feb. 20) at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The Eagles won their season-opener for the second time in three years, thanks in large part to Mederos.
He struck out the first two batters of the game and three of the first five. Nate Horton led off the third with a single to center. Gabe Grammer followed with a single to put runners on first and second. Mederos received some help to work out of the jam.
He got a comebacker to the mound and forced Horton out at third. Senior catcher Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius) then picked off Grammer between second and third base. Mederos struck out Andrew Williams to end the frame. The Eagles took advantage of a timely error by Williams during their half.
With two down in the third and runners at first and second, Benedict sent a shallow fly ball to centerfield. Williams went out from his shortstop position but had the ball glance off his glove which allowed both runners to come around for the first runs.
Kyle Blackburn (Marietta/Walton) hit a homer to start the fourth inning for a 3-0 lead. Horton responded with a solo shot in the fifth but Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) nailed a solo shot of his own also in the fifth for a 4-1 lead.
“I knew holding the other team to one or two runs, with our team we’d be able to come through. When I gave up that run I knew we would respond and Phillip got that run back with his home run,” said Mederos.
He struck out his eighth batter for the second out in the sixth inning. Drew Wingo lined a single and Mederos would give way to fellow junior transfer Charles Matthews (Athens/Spartanburg Methodist). Kenny Bryant lined a shot into the left field gap but Matt Miller (Canton/Woodstock), in his first action in nearly a year after recovering from a leg injury, made a diving catch to end the frame.
Benedict gave the Eagles more insurance runs in the sixth. Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell), making his 170th consecutive start, singled to start the frame. He advanced to second on Kevin Bowles’ (Statesboro/Statesboro) sacrifice bunt. Two batters later Porter reached base on a fielder’s choice and both came around on Benedict’s 2-run single. In the eighth Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) missed a home run by inches, settling for a triple off the centerfield fence. He later scored on a wild pitch for the final margin.
Mederos gave up just five hits and walked two while throwing 89 pitches. He was excited to make his debut.
“It felt great tonight. I’m not used to this many fans and they were giving us a lot of support. I was happy to go out there and give a show,” said Mederos. “I admit I was a little nervous. Usually pitchers aren’t the first ones to show but today I was one of the first five guys to show up.”
Porter tallied two hits and two runs scored. A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul W. Bryant) also had two hits. Matthews, freshman Matt Murray (Spring City, PA/Owen Roberts) and senior Kyle Kamppi (Savannah/Benedictine) gave up two hits and no walks over the final 3.1 innings to close the door.
Jesse Harmon took the loss getting charged for four runs (two earned) on five hits in 4.1 innings. He walked two and struck out five. Horton and Bobby Cole had two hits apiece.
The series continues on Saturday (Feb. 21) with first pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The announced crowd of 2,029 is the fifth-largest in J.I. Clements Stadium history... This weekend is also Alumni Weekend as numerous former Eagles were on hand for all the festivities this weekend, starting earlier in the day with a golf outing at Forest Heights Country Club. Saturday morning former players Craig Cooper (1983-86), Rob Fitzpatrick (1987-90) and Jeff Shireman (1985-88) will be inducted into the Mason Clements Wall of Fame’.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Friday, 20 February 2009 00:10