Pitching Propels Eagles Past Mountaineers in Doubleheader
In the opener, Jake Brown (Forest Hill, Md.) pitched six innings and Roman Grimaldi (Duluth, Ga.) hit a solo home run as the Eagles captured an 8-3 win.
In the nightcap, Matt Murray (Spring City, Pa.) pitched 7.2 innings and Steve Cochrane (Mooresville, N.C.) hit a three-run homer as Georgia Southern claimed a 5-2 victory.
The Eagles increased their winning streak to three games and improved to 8-7 overall and 2-0 in league play, while the Mountaineers, who began the day as one of only four undefeated Division I teams in the nation, dropped to 10-2 overall, 0-2 in SoCon action.
Led by Brown and Murray, Georgia Southern’s pitching staff shut down a potent Appalachian State lineup that had been averaging 8.7 runs per game. With their bullpen working 4.1 scoreless innings, the Eagles limited the Mountaineers to four earned runs on 16 hits with 20 strikeouts and three walks.
“Jake [Brown] did a nice job setting the tone for us in the first game,” said head coach Rodney Hennon. “We got down early and I really liked the way he responded after he gave up a few runs. We got him a lead, and he did an outstanding job pitching with that lead. After sitting around for (a 43-minute rain delay), we didn’t feel like we should put him back out there.
“Matt Murray followed suit in Game 2. After those first two innings we didn’t do a lot offensively, but he got settled in and really stepped up big for us.”
Meanwhile, Cochrane was 3-for-8 with five RBI on the day as Georgia Southern collected a total of 15 hits during the twinbill.
Brown (2-2) gave up three runs (all earned) on six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. It was the second consecutive strong outing for the senior lefthander, who tossed a complete-game four-hitter in a 9-1 win over Marshall on March 5. Dexter Bobo (Cumming, Ga.) worked the last two innings of the first game for his third save of the season.
Murray (2-0) allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits tying a career-high 11 strikeouts and one walk. Andy Moye (Alpharetta, Ga.) pitched the final 1.1 innings of the second game for his first save of the year.
The three-game series was scheduled to begin on Friday (March 12), but inclement weather led to a postponement and the teams played a doubleheader on Saturday.
Ryan Stetson lifted a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth to put the Mountaineers up 1-0 as Jerod Faggart and Jeremy Dowdy had back-to-back RBI doubles in the fifth as the visitors increased their lead to 3-0.
Appalachian State starter Matt Andress (3-1) had little trouble in the first four innings, surrendering just two hits and retiring 10 consecutive batters, but the Eagles rallied in the bottom of the fifth. They sent 10 men to the plate and scored five runs on three hits, three walks and a hit batter as the rain started to come.
After Kevin Bowles (Statesboro, Ga.) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Kyle Blackburn (Marietta, Ga.) and Cochrane delivered two-run singles as Georgia Southern went ahead 5-3.
Reports of lightning in the area led to a 43-minute delay during the middle of the sixth inning. Colin Snow (Alpharetta, Ga.) relieved Brown to start the seventh and pitched one inning before yielding to Bobo.
Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) had an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh to give the Eagles a 6-3 advantage. The hosts added two more runs in the eighth on Grimaldi’s second homer of the season and a Bowles sacrifice fly.
Cochrane was 2-for-4 with two RBI, Phillips was 2-for-4, and Blackburn was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Andress was charged with the loss. The first of three Mountaineer pitchers, he gave up five runs (all earned) on five hits in five innings with one strikeout and three walks.
An error with two out in the top of the first set up an RBI double by David Towarnicky that gave Appalachian State a quick 1-0 lead to open game two.
But Georgia Southern went ahead to stay in the bottom of the inning. Bowles and A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) singled before Cochrane hit his first home run of the season to put the Eagles on top 3-1.
Arthur Owens (Fayetteville, Ga.) added an RBI double in the second as Georgia Southern’s lead grew to 4-1, but Mountaineer starter Tyler Jackson (1-1) settled down and retired the next 13 batters he faced.
Appalachian State got a run-scoring single from Hector Crespo in the sixth to cut the Eagles’ cushion to 4-2. After relieving Murray with a man on first and two out in the top of the eighth, Moye got the final out of the inning on a sliding catch by Owens in right field.
Georgia Southern added an insurance run on Wirnsberger’s RBI double in the eighth - Wirnsberger was 2-for-4 in the game.
Jackson absorbed the loss. The first of two Mountaineer pitchers, he allowed four runs (all earned) on five hits with nine strikeouts and no walks.
The series will conclude on Sunday (March 14) at 1:30 p.m.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Saturday, 13 March 2010 22:02