Phillips' Walk-Off Single Seals 6-5 Win
STATESBORO, Ga. – Eric Phillips tied the game with a solo home run in the sixth inning and drilled a walk-off RBI single in the ninth as Georgia Southern took a 6-5 non-conference win over Jacksonville Tuesday night (April 13). Phillips finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored sending the Eagles past the Dolphins at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Georgia Southern improved to 18-15 with the win, while Jacksonville watched its record dip to 17-17 overall. The Eagles have now taken two straight from the Atlantic Sun program.
Trailing by one entering the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles put the tying run on base with a leadoff walk from Jake Ware (Statesboro, Ga.). A sacrifice bunt from Arthur Owens (Fayetteville, Ga.) put Ware on second before Kevin Bowles (Statesboro, Ga.) hit a slow roller up the middle for a single. But a wild throw from Dolphin shortstop Jamaal Hawkins allowed Ware, who reached third on the infield single, to score, knotting the game at 5-all with one out. Kyle Blackburn (Marietta, Ga.) drew a walk, putting two runners on base before A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) hit into a fielder’s choice, moving the winning run to third base.
With two outs, Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) walked to the plate and roped what would have been a home run but flew just left of the left field foul pole. But the sophomore responded two pitches later lining a fastball to the left field wall for the game-winning hit as GS took the non-conference game, 6-5.
Owens finished the game 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Bowles went 2-for-5 with a RBI and run scored. Ware, in his first start of the 2010 season, went 1-for-2 with two runs scored.
Chris Beck (Jefferson, Ga.) picked up the win throwing one complete inning, giving up only one hit, while walking none and striking out one. Dolphin closer Glenn Witkowski drew the loss working two-thirds of an inning allowing two hits and one run.
For Jacksonville, Jonathan Murphy went 4-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored.
The Eagles got off to a shaky start as Jacksonville jumped out with a 4-0 lead after two innings. A solo home run to left field led off the contest as Murphy handed the Dolphins a 1-0 lead after only four pitches. Esterlin Perozo tripled in the next at-bat and scored on a sacrifice fly from Hawkins for a 2-0 lead after the top of the first.
A throwing error in the second inning put a potential runner on third for the Dolphins as Chuck Opachich walked to open the inning before Alex Swenson singled through the left side advancing Opachich. Jimmy Howick popped up a bunt to reliever Michael Hester (Evans, Ga.) that was unplayable, but as Blackburn tried to get the potential out at second, an errant throw sailed into left field moving Swenson to third, allowing Opachich to score for a three-run cushion. A single up the middle off the bat of Murphy plated Swenson as JU took a 4-0 lead.
Georgia Southern used the fourth inning to send seven batters to the plate gathering four hits to cut its four-run deficit in half, 4-2. Owens lined a ground-rule double down the right field line and moved to third on a Bowles groundout. Blackburn roped a single up the middle to score the Eagles’ first run of the game before Phillips’ single to left moved Wirnsberger to second after reaching on a fielder’s choice. Victor Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.) cut the deficit in half using a single up the middle to drive in Wirnsberger as the Eagles started to come alive in the fourth.
A one-run fifth inning put GS within one run, 4-3. With one out, Ware lined a single up the middle to get the inning started. On the next at-bat, Owens hit a double past the glove of the first baseman down the right field line moving Ware to third base. It took a Bowles single to left field to score Ware as the Eagles pushed the game to 4-3.
Blackburn saved a run in the sixth inning with Opachich standing at third base. The senior Dolphin walked with one out and stole two bases, putting him on third, but was stranded when Blackburn made a remarkable play at first holding the runner and getting the out, unassisted. Hester worked his way out of the jam forcing a popup to shortstop to end the inning unscathed.
It took one swing from Phillips to tie the ballgame at 4-apiece in the sixth as the sophomore homered for the second time in as many games to left field with one out.
Hawkins took the run back in the next frame with a solo home run returning the advantage to Jacksonville, 5-4, which snapped four innings of scoreless action for the visiting Dolphins.
Both teams were scoreless in the eighth and Beck held the Dolphins in the ninth despite a runner on third. A groundout opened the inning before Murphy singled to left and stole second. Beck caught Perozo looking for the second out before a passed ball moved Murphy to third base. But Beck got out of the jam forcing a popup to first base in foul territory, setting up the come-from-behind ninth inning for Georgia Southern.
The Eagles continue this four-game homestand welcoming Samford for a three-game series this weekend. Georgia Southern opens the set against the Bulldogs on Friday, April 16 at 7 p.m.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:21