Eagles Rally for Doubleheader Sweep at Samford
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Georgia Southern Baseball cruised to an 8-2 win in game one of a doubleheader at Samford, then staged a ninth inning rally for a 10-4 victory in the nightcap at Joe Lee Griffin Field on Saturday (May 9). The Eagles, who won in the state of Alabama for the first time under head coach Rodney Hennon (0-13 prior), improved to 34-14 overall and 16-8 in the Southern Conference.
Eric Phillips (Carrollton/Carrollton) led off the second inning with a single. Two batters later on a 3-2 count, Michael Jarry picked Phillips off first base for the second out. Kyle Blackburn (Marietta/Walton) launched a 3-2 fastball over the left field fence for his fifth home run in last eight games, and a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs (17-34, 9-20) got a leadoff double by Gary Cramer in the third inning. He took third on a sac bunt then scored on Wayne Miller’s RBI single. Stephen Ballard tried bunting, but Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius) came up throwing and got Miller out at second. Mason Meredith lined a shot to the right field gap, but Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) made a diving catch into the wall for the final out.
Porter hit a leadoff single in the fifth then Blackburn launched another opposite field homer. It was the third time in his career he hit two homers in a game as Blackburn has hit six of his seven home runs in his last nine games played.
In the sixth, GS scored five runs with two outs in the inning. Porter lined a run-scoring single and Jarry uncorked two wild pitches to allow runners to score. Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell), one of four Eagles slated to graduate on Saturday, ripped a 2-run single up the middle to cap the frame.
Samford added a RBI double from Trey Hayes in the sixth for the final margin.
Chris Mederos (Valdosta/Gordon College) improved to 9-1 on the year. The junior right-hander allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out six, the 10th time in 12 starts Mederos has fanned six or more batters.
Pierce finished with three hits while Benedict, Porter and Blackburn added two hits apiece as the Eagles held a 12-6 edge.
Jarry (4-6) was charged for eight runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out three. Trey Hayes had three of the team’s six hits.
The Eagles were down two going into the eighth inning but Benedict homered with two down in the eighth, a solo shot to make it a one run game.
In the ninth Porter led off by reaching on third baseman Miller’s throwing error and took second base. A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bryant) reached on an error by second baseman Stephen Ballard to put runners on the corners and no one out. Randy J. Williams (Valdosta/Andrew College) beat out a double play ball and Porter scored the tying run.
Pierce followed with his third home run of the year, a 2-run shot to centerfield off closer Kyle Nichols for what proved to be the eventual game-winning runs.
Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) lined a double to snap an 0-for-10 streak at the plate. Kevin Bowles (Statesboro/Statesboro) launched his second home run of the year, a shot to the left field gap making it 8-4. Later in the inning, Porter and Wirnsberger followed with RBI singles for the final margin.
Charles Matthews (Athens/Spartanburg Methodist) pitched the final two innings to earn the win in relief, improving to 2-0.
Pierce, who finished with two hits in the nightcap, enjoyed his graduation day in Birmingham.
“He (Nichols) came in earlier (game one) so we were able to get a look at him. I saw a slider earlier in the at-bat and fouled it off. He left the other one up and I was able to drive it out. We’ve rallied in the ninth before, something we have a lot of confidence in being able to do. We knew if we got them on and moved them over we knew we’d get them in,” said Pierce. “For us seniors it’s huge. We missed commencement today, but to come here get a doubleheader sweep then and have a chance at a series sweep makes it worth missing today.”
Jake Brown (Forest Hill, MD/Pitt CC) had two outs in the third but he hit a batter to put runners on the corners. David Schulze lined a shot down the left field line for a 3-run homer.
In their half of the fourth, Benedict led off with a solo homer. It would be the fourth time in his career Benedict hit two home runs in a game. Two batters later Porter lined a solo shot cutting the deficit to 3-2. Benedict hit his ninth homer and Porter regained the team lead hitting his 10th.
The Bulldogs used more two out hitting in the seventh to plate another run. Moss singled, stole second, went to third on a balk then scored on Miller’s infield single for a 4-2 lead.
Brown allowed four runs on five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out two. Matthews did not allow a hit in relief.
Benedict finished with three hits in game two, five on the day. Porter added three hits, while Bowles and Pierce finished with two hits apiece.
Nichols (1-4) was charged for five runs two earned on three hits in 1.2 innings. Starter David Knapp allowed two runs on eight hits in seven innings, striking out two without a walk.
Moss had two of the team’s five hits.
Georgia Southern goes for the series sweep on Sunday afternoon, first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Saturday, 09 May 2009 21:02