Ninth-Inning Rally Falls Short in Season Opener
Trailing 5-0, the Eagles scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth and had the potential game-winning run at the plate, but the Golden Eagles’ fourth pitcher of the evening – Ryan Hopkins - recorded the final out to save the game for the visitors.
The Eagles collected seven hits, drew four walks and had two hit batsmen. However, they stranded 11 base runners, nine of them in the last four innings.
Georgia Southern starter Jake Brown (Forest Hill, Md.) allowed four earned runs on eight hits. The first of five pitchers for the Eagles, Brown struck out eight batters and issued two walks.
Georgia Southern’s offense was led by Arthur Owens (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Kevin Bowles (Statesboro, Ga.), both of whom were 2-for-4. Bowles and Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) had one RBI apiece for the Eagles.
Tennessee Tech used an infield hit, a balk, a sacrifice bunt and a single to score get on the board in the top of the second. The Golden Eagles added two more runs in the fourth on a double from Tate McMillian, a single, a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch.
TTU extended its lead to 4-0 in the seventh using a leadoff double to right from Chad Oberacker and a Ben Burgess sacrifice bunt to draw in the run. The Golden Eagles added a solo home run from Devin Rivers in the eighth for a 5-0 lead heading into the ninth.
After managing only four hits in the first eight innings, the Eagles’ bats came to life in the ninth. With one out, two pinch-hitters sparked the late rally for the Eagles as Steve Cochrane (Mooresville, N.C.) reached on a passed ball and Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) singled to the right side.
A.J. Kirby-Jones fanned the next batter, but Owens followed with a slow roller down the third base line that died near the bag for an infield single that loaded the bases for GS. Bowles followed with an infield single of his own, a slow roller to the right side that plated Cochrane for the Eagles’ first run of the game.
Payne drew a bases-loaded walk on a 3-2 count to score Burress, but Tennessee Tech reliever Hopkins struck out the only batter he faced to end the uprising.
Golden Eagles starter Adam Liberatore was the winning pitcher, working six scoreless innings, giving up three hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Hopkins picked up the save.
Chad Hayes was 3-for-4 to lead Tennessee Tech, which finished with 10 hits.
The three-game series will continue on Saturday (Feb. 20) with a single contest at 5 p.m. at J.I. Clements Stadium.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Friday, 19 February 2010 23:25