Benedict Ties NCAA Record as Eagles Complete Holiday Inn Sweep
STATESBORO, Ga. Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius) tied a NCAA record hitting two home runs in an eight-run seventh inning, leading Georgia Southern to a 14-4 win over 20th-ranked East Carolina Sunday afternoon (March 8) at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The Eagles end their 12-game homestand to start the season 11-1, including two wins over Top 20’ teams. The 11-1 start is the best 12-game start to the season since the 1979 team opened the year 13-0.
ECU (8-2) cut the Eagles’ lead to 6-4 after plating another run in its half of the seventh. Benedict lined a 1-0 pitch opposite field over the fence in left to start the seventh inning fireworks. Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell) added to his team RBI lead with a double (now 13 RBI this year). Kevin Bowles (Statesboro/Statesboro) lifted a sacrifice fly and Matt Miller (Canton/Woodstock) ripped a RBI single. Two batters later A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bryant) lined a RBI single to center. Benedict, facing his second different Pirate pitcher in the inning, hammered the first ball he saw from Joe O’Malley over the right field fence.
It was his second home run of the year and tied a NCAA record done on many occasions.
“I thought the leadoff home run was big because they had just cut it to two, and anytime you can get the leadoff runner on it helps the confidence and gets momentum back on your side,” said Benedict. “I saw it was a cutter and just tried to make good contact.”
The Pirates entered the game averaging around 10 runs per game. They quickly struck first. Freshman Matt Murray (Spring City, PA/Owen Roberts), making his first weekend start, struck out the first two batters he faced but Stephen Batts blooped a single to right. Kyle Roller followed with a 2-run homer but Murray responded with another strikeout to end the first.
Miller drew a leadoff walk, the first issued this year by Sthil Sowers. He stole second and scored on Benedict’s two-out RBI double.
The Eagles plated four runs in the third inning. Miller singled then Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) was hit by a pitch. Wirnsberger could not get a sacrifice bunt attempt down, but would deliver a RBI single up the middle.
Benedict singled home another run then Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) hit a soft grounder back to the mound. Sowers tried throwing home but Wirnsberger knocked the ball loose and was safe on the play. Randy Williams (Valdosta/Andrew College) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field making it a 5-2 game.
In the fifth GS strung together four straight singles but Benedict was nailed at the plate for the second out of the inning. Eric Phillips (Carrollton/Carrollton) came through with another two-out hit, lining a RBI single to center.
ECU got two singles to start the sixth, then a wild pitch put both in scoring position. Jake Brown (Forest Hill, MD/Pitt CC) got a strikeout, groundout and lineout to get out of the inning with only one run scoring, a 6-3 lead. The Pirates took advantage of a double and two wild pitches in the seventh to make it 6-4 GS.
Kyle Kamppi (Savannah/Benedictine) pitched the final three innings for his second save. He gave up one run on four hits while striking out five Pirates.
According to the senior catcher, this win builds confidence on a team off to an impressive start.
“This win is a huge confidence builder. For us to go out and knock off good teams, it also helps out our pitching staff. If we can go out and consistently play like this - beating great teams - we can beat anyone,” said Benedict, who matched a career-high with six RBI while setting a new high with five hits (5-for-5).
Miller and Wirnsberger added two hits apiece as the 1-4 batters were a combined 10-for-18 with 10 runs scored and nine RBI.
Murray picked up his first collegiate win (1-0), allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out six.
Batts and Henderson added two hits apiece for the Pirates. Sowers (1-1) was charged for six runs on six hits in 4.1 innings, walking two and striking out six.
The Eagles hit the road for the first time in 2009 on Tuesday night (March 10), traveling to Jacksonville. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
INDIANA 8, LEMOYNE 3
Indiana scored four runs in the eighth inning sealing an 8-3 win over LeMoyne on the final day of the Holiday Inn Eagle Invitational. Indiana improved to 4-6 while LeMoyne fell to 2-6.
Indiana’s Evan Crawford singled in the bottom of the first, stole second base, advanced on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a groundout by Alex Dickerson giving the Hoosiers a 1-0 lead.
Josh Phegley added a 3-run homer to right center in the third inning and that would be all IU needed. The Hoosiers scored four more times to seal their first win of the weekend.
LeMoyne started the top of the ninth with a solo homer to left center by Matt Marra. Joe Lombardi singled to center and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Brett Botsford then singled to left advancing Lombardi to third and would later score on a fielder’s choice.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Sunday, 08 March 2009 00:23