Eagles Take Advantage of Errors in Win
STATESBORO, Ga. Pinch-runner Pat Smith (New Castle, DE/New Castle) scored the winning run off a throwing error as Georgia Southern rallied for a 7-6 win over Presbyterian, Saturday afternoon (Feb. 21) at J.I. Clements Stadium. The Eagles now have won the first two games of the three-game series, but needing to stage some ninth inning heroics to do so.
Down one run, A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bryant) led off the ninth hitting a grounder to third baseman Jared Combs, who booted the grounder allowing him to reach. Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius) chopped a 3-1 fastball, with a hit-and-run on, through the right side past Zac Rhinesmith who went to cover second on the play. That clutch hit put runners on the corners with no one out.
Will Southwell (Moultrie/Colquitt County) hit a chopper up the middle that shortstop Andrew Williams could not field cleanly, and instead of a possible double play ball, had to throw onto first but it was not in time. That allowed Wirnsberger to tie the game. Smith came on to run for Benedict. Matt Miller (Canton/Woodstock) dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but catcher Drew Wingo’s throw down to third sailed past Combs into left field and allowed the winning run to score.
“We’re the home team, we are never going to quit. It’s huge when you have nine seniors going around the dugout keeping everyone fired up and keep the confidence going. You are never out with experienced guys like us,” said Benedict. “(On the hit and run), It was a fastball and all I was trying to do was get it down on the ground and find a hole, preferably on the right side to get the runner to third... It helps the confidence level when you still make mistakes offensively and can still come away with the win. At the end of the season you don’t want to look back and think about the missed opportunities.”
The Eagles missed a golden opportunity in the eighth to take the lead. Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell) drew a four-pitch walk to start the inning. He advanced to third with no one out thanks to two wild pitches by Joe Hammond. With the infield drawn in Presbyterian was able to make plays on two grounders to keep Pierce at third. A comebacker to the mound temporarily got the Blue Hose out of the jam.
With one down in the top of the ninth Dexter Bobo (Cumming/Darton College) went ahead 0-2 on Cory Lyda. He threw a curve ball that looked to be strike three but was called for a ball. On a full count Lyda lined a shot over the left field fence for a 6-5 lead.
Making his Eagle debut, Bobo (1-0) picked up the win in relief, officially charged for one run on three hits in two innings, striking out three.
Presbyterian (0-2) wasted no time striking first when Jesse Harmon, the starting pitcher Friday night, sent Andy Moye’s (Alpharetta/Alpharetta) 1-1 pitch to the right field gap for a leadoff home run. Zac Rhinesmith singled, took second on a balk and third on a wild pitch. Lyda drew a walk to put runners on the corners.
Moye picked Lyda off first base then struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam. The Eagles quickly tied the game.
Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) lined a one-out double and took third when Wirnsberger reached on an error. Chris Powell uncorked a wild pitch and Porter beat the throw home.
The Blue Hose regained the lead in the third, plating four runs. Rhinesmith scored on a groundout, Combs hit a 2-run homer with two outs then back-to-back doubles plated another run for a 5-1 lead.
Kyle Blackburn (Marietta/Walton) lined a RBI single with two outs in the fifth then the Eagles tied it up in the sixth.
Randy Williams (Valdosta/Andrew College), making his first Georgia Southern start, doubled to start the frame. Two batters later he scored on Jake Ware’s (Statesboro/Statesboro) single up the middle, and Ware took second on the throw home. That prompted a pitching change, bringing in Hammond.
Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) was hit on the first pitch. Two batters later Wirnsberger lined a 0-2 pitch down the left field line to tie the score.
Wirnsberger and Benedict finished with two hits apiece but the Eagles were out-hit 14-10 but the Blue Hose committed five errors in the game. Moye allowed five runs on six hits in 2.2 innings. Tony Chisman (Conyers/Salem) pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief and Jake Brown (Forest Hill, MD/Pitt CC) also made his Eagle debut working a scoreless seventh inning.
Daniel Hill (0-1) was the hard-luck loser giving up the two unearned runs. Powell held the Eagles in check, leaving with a 5-2 lead but he was charged for four runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings.
Harmon finished with three hits and three other Blue Hose contributed two hits apiece.
Georgia Southern goes for the series sweep on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 22), first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Saturday, 21 February 2009 00:24