Offense Propels Eagles to 19-7 Win Over Crusaders
STATESBORO, GA - Georgia Southern's Shawn Payne went 5-for-6, drove in four runs and scored three times as the Eagles rallied from an early deficit to defeat Holy Cross 19-7 on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 27) at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The Crusaders led 5-2 after three innings, but Georgia Southern sent 13 batters to the plate and posted eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take its initial lead. The Eagles then sent 10 men to the plate and added five more runs in the sixth to cushion their advantage.
Georgia Southern (2-4) collected 21 hits en route to its biggest offensive output since a 20-8 victory over Davidson on April 18, 2009. In addition, the Eagles drew 10 walks and were hit by five pitches as they snapped a three-game losing streak.
Playing its first game of the season, Holy Cross (0-1) committed five errors, but limited the consequences allowing only two unearned runs.
"I'm proud of the way we bounced back, certainly," said Eagle head coach Rodney Hennon. "I thought we took some better swings as the game went on. But we still have a lot of work to do to get better and we have to come out ready to play and improve tomorrow.
"Charles Matthews threw the ball well out of the bullpen. But 10 walks and one hit batsmen is not acceptable - bottom line. We have to improve there and get to a rhythm on the mound," said Hennon.
Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) was one of six Georgia Southern players with at least two hits. Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs, Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs, Arthur Owens (Fayetteville, Ga.) was 2-for-2 with an RBI and three runs, Steve Cochrane (Mooresville, N.C.) was 2-for-2 with an RBI, and Kevin Bowles (Statesboro, Ga.) went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs. Kyle Blackburn (Marietta, Ga.) launched his second home run of the season, a three-run blast in the fourth.
Georgia Southern's bullpen pitched well at times, giving up two runs (both earned) on three hits in 6.1 innings. However, the Eagles did issue nine walks and hit one batter.
Michael Hester (1-0), an Evans, Ga., native, the second of five Georgia Southern pitchers, picked up the win working 1.2 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and two walks.
A crowd of 1,786 watched as the Eagles and Holy Cross met for the first time in history. Prior to the game, the members of Georgia Southern's 1990 College World Series team were honored as well as the three newest members into the Wall of Fame - Derrell Baker, Tod Lee and William Rushing.
The Crusaders scored three runs with two outs in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Eric Oxford and a two-run homer by Steven Tkowski. An A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) RBI single for the Eagles in the bottom of the first cut the deficit, 3-1.
Alex Maldonado's solo homer with two outs in the top of the second increased the Holy Cross lead to 4-1. But Owens used an RBI single in the bottom of the inning to draw the score, 4-2.
John Sills had a one-run single in the top of the third as the Crusaders went up 5-2 and chased Georgia Southern starter Matt Murray (Spring City, Pa.).
After Payne made a diving catch in left-center field to end the top of the fourth, the Eagles chased Holy Cross starter Matt Shapiro in the bottom of the inning. Blackburn homered to right-center field, Victor Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.) had a one-run double, Phillips had a two-run single, and Payne had a two-run single as Georgia Southern went up 10-5.
"A big play of the ballgame for us was Shawn Payne's catch with two outs in the fourth," Hennon stated. "It seemed they scored early always with two outs, but then he made that big catch and we came in and took our first lead."
The Eagles then scored two runs on a pair of Crusader errors in the fifth and used a Payne RBI double, a two-run single from Bowles, an RBI single from Burress and a Phillips sacrifice fly in the sixth to increase its lead to 17-5.
Tkowski drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh and scored Maldonado on a wild pitch for the last Crusader run in the eighth to make it a 17-7 game. The Eagles then added their last two runs in the bottom of the eighth on Payne's RBI single and Cochrane's RBI double.
Seven different Holy Cross players had one hit apiece. Tkowski was 1-for-2 with three RBIs and a run. Shapiro (0-1) was charged with the loss as he allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits with three strikeouts and here walks.
Game two of the series will take place on Sunday (Feb. 28) at 1:30 p.m.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Saturday, 27 February 2010 18:22