Eagles Close Out Regular Season With Sweep of Wofford
STATESBORO, Ga. Georgia Southern fell behind early but Matt Murray (Spring City, PA/Owen Roberts) settled down and the offense took over in a 9-5 win over Wofford on Sunday afternoon (May 17). The Eagles close out the regular season 38-15 overall and 20-8 in the Southern Conference.
For the sixth time in the 10-year tenure of head coach Rodney Hennon, the Eagles finished at least second in the regular season standings. The 20 conference wins are the most since the 2004 team went 21-9.
The Terriers (17-32, 7-22) put the first two runners on base to start the game, then Michael Gilmartin hit a 3-run homer off Murray. Mac Doyle later added a RBI single for a 4-0 lead.
Wofford had runners at the corners with one out in the second inning. Kyle Behrendt took off for second. Benedict’s throw was cut off by Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell), and his throw home nailed James Foster for the second out. Murray struck out Gilmartin on a called third strike to end the inning.
GS took advantage of three errors in the third to tie the score. Eric Phillips (Carrollton/Carrollton) hit a 2-run homer. Later in the frame, Neil Robinette booted a grounder off the bat of Kyle Blackburn (Marietta/Walton) which allowed Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) to score.
The Eagles took the lead in the fourth thanks to two-out RBI singles courtesy of Benedict and Porter. A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bryant) hit his team-leading 13th home run to start off the fifth. He later added a two-out RBI single in the sixth then beat out a double play ball in the eighth which allowed Benedict to score for his third RBI in the game.
Wofford loaded the bases in the ninth off Kyle Kamppi (Savannah/Benedictine) and Behrendt lined a RBI single. With the tying run at the plate, Kamppi got Gilmartin on a groundout to close out the team’s 26th win this year at J.I. Clements Stadium the highest home win total since 1990 (26-3).
While the offense was providing the run support, Murray settled down after a rocky first inning to retire the final 14 batters he faced in a row and 16 of his last 17. The freshman right-hander improved to 5-3 overall after striking out a career-high seven in seven innings pitched. He allowed four runs on seven hits and did not walk a batter.
Head coach Rodney Hennon could not have asked a better finish to the season.
“You always want to put yourself in the best possible position heading into the Southern Conference Tournament and we did that thanks to the sweep today. Matt (Murray) got off to a rocky start but he did a great job settling in and our offense kept the pressure on,” said Hennon. “This has been a great year at home (26-5 record) and we would like to thank all our fans for their support all season long.”
Benedict finished with three of the team’s 11 hits. Wirnsberger and Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) both extended their hitting streak to 12 games while Pierce extended his to 11 consecutive and Phillips is now at 10 straight. Porter, Wirnsberger and Phillips had two hits apiece.
Behrendt led Wofford with three hits. Starter Anthony Rowland gave up four runs on three hits in 3.0 innings. Drew Sheridan (1-2) was charged for a loss after allowing two runs on three hits.
The second-seeded Eagles open up the 2009 Southern Conference Tournament, playing in the 9 a.m. game on Wednesday (May 20) against seventh-seed Davidson. All games will be played at Flour Field in Greenville, South Carolina.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Sunday, 17 May 2009 17:01