Eagles Take SoCon Opener at UNC Greensboro
GREENSBORO, N.C. Up one run in the ninth, Georgia Southern scored four times to break open a close game and the bullpen closed the door as the Eagles defeated UNC Greensboro 11-6 Sunday afternoon (March 15).
Both teams were ready to hit the field after sitting out a near 48-hour rain delay starting on Friday night’s scheduled 7 p.m. first pitch. It was the league-opener for the Eagles (13-2 overall, 1-0 SoCon).
Up one run in the ninth, Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) singled and Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius) was hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced on a groundout, then Porter had an incredible jump on pitcher Greg Smith and stole home. Jonathan King (Athens, TN/Young Harris) recorded his first-ever extra-base hit as an Eagle, a RBI double for the second run. Will Southwell (Moultrie/Colquitt County) brought home another run on a groundout then Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell) lined a RBI single.
The bullpen of Charles Matthews (Athens/Spartanburg Methodist), Kyle Kamppi (Savannah/Benedictine) and Dexter Bobo (Cumming/Darton College) scattered three hits over the final 3.2 innings, striking out four and securing the win.
“I was really proud of our team. It’s tough to sit around for a couple of days not knowing if you’d get a chance to play. I thought our guys were focused and ready to go play when the time came,” said head coach Rodney Hennon. “We got an outstanding effort from our bullpen and did some good things late to put the game away.”
After the long delay, Georgia Southern wasted no time getting on the scoreboard.
Porter lined a one-out double in the first. After a flyball, the Eagles took advantage of consecutive throwing errors by third baseman Kris Richards which would bring home a run and put two runners on base. A wild pitch by Greg Martin, RBI single from King and RBI double by Southwell spotted the Eagles a 4-0 lead.
The Spartans got a RBI single in the first inning and sacrifice fly in the second to cut the Eagles’ lead in half.
Southwell was hit by a pitch with one out in the fourth. Pierce followed with his fourth career home run, an opposite field shot down the right field line making it 6-2.
UNCG (2-9, 0-4) got two singles to start the fifth inning, but the Eagles were able to turn a 4-6-3 double play. The Spartans used two-out hitting to plate two runs. Another fielding error by UNCG in the sixth allowed another GS run, making it 7-4.
In the sixth, UNCG again put the first two runners on the board with singles. Southwell made a diving stop to keep two runners from scoring, but his throw home was not in time. Benedict threw out Michael Wall in a rundown for the first out. With two down, two on and holding onto a one-run lead, Ray Quinones lifted a flyball to left field. Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) made a diving catch to end the scoring threat.
The Eagles not only took the league-opener, they also captured the season series against UNCG.
“We did a nice job of that (taking advantage of the three errors). They helped us out a little bit and our guys were able to capitalize on it, and was probably the difference in the game. It’s always big to get that first win, especially on the road under the circumstances this weekend,” said Hennon.
Chris Mederos (Valdosta/Andrew College) improved to 4-0, allowing six runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. He struck out four and did not issue a walk.
The 6-8 hitters of King, Southwell and Pierce had two hits apiece and combined to drive in seven runs while scoring five.
Martin (0-3) gave up six runs (two earned) on five hits in five innings. Four Spartans had two hits apiece, holding an 11-9 edge in that category.
The Eagles are scheduled to play at North Carolina A&T on Monday afternoon (March 16) at 1 p.m.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Sunday, 15 March 2009 00:24