Pierce's Walk-Off Single in the 11th Sends Eagles Past Davidson
GREENVILLE, S.C. Brian Pierce’s (Roswell/Roswell) 11th inning bloop single just over the head of Davidson first baseman Drew Gadaire gave Georgia Southern a 4-3 win in the opening round of the 2009 Southern Conference Tournament at Fluor Field. The Eagles improved to 39-15 overall and will play at 5 p.m. Thursday against the winner of third-seed The Citadel and sixth-seed Appalachian State.
Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) lined a leadoff single to left field off Thomas Middour. A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bryant) executed a sacrifice bunt then the Wildcats decided to intentionally walk Kyle Blackburn (Marietta/Walton) to put the force play in effect. Middour hit Kevin Bowles (Statesboro/Statesboro) on the first pitch to load the bases.
The Wildcats brought in closer Matt Webb to face Pierce. With the infield drawn in, Pierce hit the first pitch just over the out-stretched arms of Gadaire for the senior’s first-ever walk-off hit, and one that extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games.
“It was a hard fought game... come tournament time you really will take it anyway you can get it,” said Pierce. “I’m just glad we were able to find a way.”
A stellar defensive play in the top half of the 11th kept it a tie game. Brett Shore lined a leadoff single off Kyle Kamppi (Savannah/Benedictine). Leadoff hitter Zach Kayne, who dropped down a sac bunt in a similar situation in the ninth, swung away on an 0-1 pitch. First baseman Eric Phillips (Carrollton/Carrollton) made a diving stop down the line, tagged first and threw onto Pierce for a 36 double play. Kamppi got Gadaire on a lineout to end the threat.
Davidson avoided the same situation in the 10th. GS used an error, sac bunt, walk and hit by pitch to load the bases. Jonathan King (Athens, TN/Young Harris) hit a soft grounder up the first base line. Middour made a diving stop and threw home in time for the force play. Middour struck out Benedict to end the threat.
“We’re obviously relieved to get that first one under our belt. You’ve got to fight through games like what when you get in tournament baseball. You know you’re going to see a good pitcher, especially that first day of the tournament,” said head coach Rodney Hennon. “I think Chris Lamb gave Davidson a great effort. Both bullpens on both sides did an outstanding job. I’m proud of our team, we hung in there. The way things started for Chris (Mederos) most guys would have fallen apart, but he continued to compete. We were very fortunate to win the game.”
The Wildcats (18-30) jumped on the Eagles early. Kayne drew a walk to start the game. Chris Mederos’ (Valdosta/Gordon College) throw over to first got past Will Southwell (Moultrie/Colquitt County) and Kayne moved to second. Two groundouts, the last by Danny Weiss, brought home a run.
In the second, Tommy Piacenza hit a leaoff single then James Cerbie lined a double to put a pair of runners in scoring position with no one out. Mederos struck out Pat Brady but a wild pitch brought home a run. Mederos got Webb on a called third strike, then a flyball stranded the other runner keeping it 2-0 Davidson.
Kayne reached on an error to start the third inning and stole second base. However, Mederos struck out the side to end the threat. The final K was his 100th on the year.
Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) walked to start the third inning then went to third base on Roman Grimaldi’s (Duluth/North Florida CC) single. Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius) hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1.
Chase FitzPatrick dropped a two-out RBI double down the right field line in the fifth, extending the lead to 3-1.
The Eagles got to Lamb in the seventh. Benedict drew a one-out walk and advanced to third when Porter singled to right field and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Wirnsberger hit a sacrifice fly. Blackburn hit a deep shot to left field that hit off the top of the Green Monster’ for a RBI double to tie the score.
Mederos struck out a career-high 12 batters, one start after fanning a then season-high 11 against Wofford. He was charged for three runs (two earned) on seven hits in 7.1 innings. He walked three to go with his career-high strikeouts, also doing so in his second-longest outing of the year (8.0 vs. Davidson in April). Dexter Bobo (Cumming/Darton College) came on with a runner at second and one out in the eighth but got a groundout and strikeout to end that threat.
Kamppi threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win (3-2). He walked two and struck out two.
The Eagles out-hit Davidson 12-8, including two apiece by Grimaldi, Porter, Wirnsberger, Blackburn and Phillips. Porter also scored two runs, extending his streak to 13 consecutive games scoring a run.
Starter Chris Lamb went 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits. He walked four and struck out five. Middour, who started game one of the regular season series, gave up just the one run on a hit in 3.0 innings, walking two and striking out four.
Piacenza reached safely in all five plate appearances, three hits and two walks.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 14:19