Eagles Complete Season-Opening Sweep of Presbyterian
STATESBORO, Ga. Senior Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell) and freshman Eric Phillips (Carrollton/Carrollton), the number eight and nine hitters for Georgia Southern, combined for six RBI leading the Eagles to a 10-8 win over Presbyterian on Sunday (Feb. 22) at J.I. Clements Stadium. With the win Georgia Southern completes the season-opening three-game sweep of the Blue Hose.
For the second straight game, Presbyterian’s Jesse Harmon led off the game with a home run. The Eagles responded with four runs in their half of the second.
Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius) singled to start then Matt Miller (Canton/Woodstock) doubled down the right field line. Will Southwell (Moultrie/Colquitt County) lined a sacrifice fly and Miller would score on a balk by Andrew Foushee (0-1).
Jonathan King (Athens, TN/Young Harris) was hit by a pitch then Pierce homered down the right field line, the third career home run for the senior shortstop.
The Blue Hose plated five runs in the top of the fourth off starter Michael Hester (Evans/Greenbrier). Gabe Grammer lined a RBI single, Zac Rhinesmith was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded then Cory Lyda followed with a 2-run single. Rhinesmith and Lyda worked a double-steal. Benedict caught Lyda in a rundown, but it was long enough to allow Rhinesmith to score, taking a 6-4 lead. But again the Eagles had an answer in their half.
Miller drew a leadoff walk. Southwell hit a foul ball to third base, Jared Combs had the ball but could not hold on and dropped it for an error. Southwell took advantage and lined a single to center. King reached on an infield bunt to load the bases. Pierce and Phillips, making his first collegiate appearance and start, each lifted a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) walked then Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) and A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bryant) followed with a RBI single each to make it 8-6. Benedict lined a single to center and Porter tried scoring on the play but Lyda fired a strike home to end the frame.
Phillips came through again in the clutch during the fifth. With the bases loaded and one down, Phillips lined a 2-run single to left, extending the lead to 10-6.
Combs delivered a RBI single in the seventh making it a three-run game. In the eighth reliever Charles Matthews (Athens/Spartanburg Methodist) gave up a walk between a strikeout and flyout. Closer Kyle Kamppi (Savannah/Benedictine) came into the game but walked the first two batters he faced. A wild pitch brought home one run and put both tying runs in scoring position. Combs lined a shot at Pierce, who made an impressive back-handed stop and threw onto first to end the inning.
Kammpi gave up a two-out double in the ninth but recorded his first save of the year when Phillips caught pinch-hitter Dane Fehr’s pop-up in shallow centerfield.
“Anytime you can sweep a series you have got to feel good. I am proud of our team, we had a lot of different guys step up throughout the weekend and do some good things,” said head coach Rodney Hennon. “We made some mistakes in all areas and have some improvements to make but overall it was a good weekend.”
Once again the Eagles took advantage of errors by Presbyterian, four in the game and 10 on the weekend by the Blue Hose, while playing errorless defense all weekend.
Pierce and Phillips combined for only two hits but the six RBI proved to be the difference. Miller had two hits and scored three runs. King also scored three times and Benedict added two hits.
Also making his collegiate debut, Colin Snow (Alpharetta/Alpharetta) came on in relief to earn the win. The freshman right-hander allowed one run on three hits in 2.2 innings, striking out one and not allowing a walk. Matthews was charged for one run on a hit in 1.1 innings. Kammpi gave up the one run on one hit while walking two, recording the final four outs.
“I thought Colin came in and gave us a lift and Charles did a nice job,” said Hennon. “Kamppi wasn’t as sharp as he has been but he battled through and found a way to win.”
Foushee gave up seven runs (five earned) on five hits in three innings. Stewart Curry pitched 2.2 innings of hitless ball as Presbyterian actually kept the Eagles without a hit over the final 3.2 innings.
Lyda finished 4-for-4 with two runs scored. Harmon had two hits and three runs scored.
The Eagles continue their 12-game homestand to start the year, playing host to Georgia Tech in a two-game series. Tuesday night’s (Feb. 24) game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Sunday, 22 February 2009 00:28