Eagles Eliminate Western Carolina
Georgia Southern (34-27 overall) will play Friday morning (May 25) at 10 a.m. against the loser of UNC Greensboro and Wofford.
After a 3-run rally with two down in the eighth inning tied the game, Jeremiah Parker (Carrollton/Carrollton) drew a leadoff walk against closer Greg Holland (4-3) to start the ninth. Will Southwell (Moultrie/Colquitt County) perfectly executed a sacrifice bunt, just his second this season, to advance Parker into scoring position.
Benedict lined a 1-2 pitch up the middle and centerfielder Donnie Wilson’s throw home wasn’t close as the Eagles pulled out just their fourth win in 30 games when trailing after seven innings.
“It feels good knowing that the coaching staff and my teammates have faith in me. There were a lot of good at-bats late in the game. It was a great team effort and each player deserves a lot of credit. A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bear Bryant) singled, Kyle Blackburn (Marietta/Walton) had a good one drawing a walk, Chris Shehan (Strasburg, PA/Lampeter-Strasburg) hit the big double and Mike Economos (Atlanta/Marist) lined that game-tying single. Then Parker getting the leadoff walk and Southwell executing the sacrifice bunt all were huge,” said Benedict. “Josh Lairsey (Waycross/Ware County) and A.J. Battisto (Pottstown, PA/Pottsgrove) really went out there and competed. They gave us a chance to win the game.”
Drew Saberhagen was cruising along until the eighth. Wirnsberger lined a one-out single up the middle then pinch-hitting Blackburn drew a two-out walk. The Catamounts brought in First Team All-SoCon relief pitcher Holland to try and close it out. Shehan lined a RBI double down the right field line, his team-leading 21st double. Economos, managing to somehow play with a broken toe, hit a high chopper over third base for a 2-run single that tied the score. Those were his team-leading 49th and 50th RBI.
Brent Greer hit a one-out single off Battisto (4-0) in the ninth. He advanced to second on a groundout. With Blake Murphy at bat, Battisto made a spin move to second base and his throw to shortstop Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell) picked Greer off to end the inning. That was Battisto’s team-leading sixth pickoff.
Parker hit his second home run in as many at-bats (dating back to Tuesday’s game), leading off the second inning with a shot down the right field line to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. That solo blast extended his team-lead total to 13.
Steven Strausbaugh lined Lairsey’s first pitch of the third inning into the right field gap. He eventually scored on Wilson’s RBI double with one out. Western put a pair of runners in scoring position but Lairsey got a strikeout and groundout to end the threat.
A pair of solo home runs in the fourth inning put the Catamounts ahead. Jonathan Greene hit one with one out then Strausbaugh lined a two-out homer off Lairsey.
Matt Miller (Canton/Woodstock) hit his fourth home run of the year when he pulled a fastball from Saberhagen to right field during the fourth inning. That made it a 3-2 game.
The Catamounts recorded four straight singles with one out in the seventh inning to extend their lead to 5-2. Battisto gave up the fourth single, then struck out SoCon Player of the Year Kenny Smith and got Greene on a flyball to end the threat.
Battisto gave up two hits in 2.2 innings of work, striking out three. Lairsey was charged for five runs on 12 hits in 6.1 innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. The senior left-hander moved into ninth place all-time in innings pitched (318.2) and tied for 10th in career pitching appearances (69).
Shehan and Miller recorded two hits apiece for the Eagles, winning despite getting out-hit 14-9. Parker scored two runs in the game.
Holland (4-3) was charged for two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. He walked one. Saberhagen allowed four runs on six hits in 7.2 innings. He walked one and struck out three.
Greer finished with three hits, one of six Catamounts with a multi-hit game. The top two seeds in the tournament (College of Charleston and Western) both went 0-for-2. WCU (40-18 overall) and Charleston now will have to await word on a possible at-large berth in the NCAA Regionals.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Thursday, 24 May 2007 00:11