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Eagles dig big hole, can't talon way back

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    Heading into this weekend, the notion of The Citadel out-slugging Georgia Southern seemed improbable.
    The Bulldog offense came to Statesboro ranked next-to-last in the league, while GSU boasted the most dangerous lineup in Southern Conference and one of the best in the country.
    But this interesting series took an unexpected turn Saturday when The Citadel slammed three home runs — including a pair of two-run bombs by Kyle Jordan and a Chris McGuiness grand slam — to down GSU 12-8 and tie the series at 1-1.
    The Bulldogs (24-22, 12-11) halted their five-game losing streak and handed the Eagles (27-19, 11-9) their first loss in eight games.
    Georgia Southern was lurking in the fifth when Ty Wright’s 16th homer — a two-out solo shot to dead center field — pulled the Eagles within two at 4-2. But the Bulldogs rallied for six runs in the sixth, two on Jordan’s homer over the scoreboard and four on McGuiness’ first-career grand slam, which chased GSU starter Kyle Kamppi and put the visitors on top 10-2.
    The Eagles got three runs back in their half of the inning when Chris Shehan doubled and scored on a wild pitch and David Richardson slammed a two-out, two-run bomb to center.
    But Jordan — son of Bulldog head coach Fred Jordan — was still hot and pushed The Citadel lead to 12-5 in the seventh with his second two-run shot, becoming the first Bulldog to hit multiple home runs in a game since Richard Jones did it against the Eagles last season.
    After going down in order in the seventh, GSU started a rally in the eighth, plating three runs with no outs. Jeremiah Parker’s RBI double and A.J. Wirnsberger’s two-run home run to right pulled the Eagles within four, but the Bulldogs switched pitchers and Matt Reifsnider escaped the inning without further damage. He also tossed a scoreless ninth.
    Wes Wrenn (5-5) earned the win, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits over 52⁄3 innings. He struck out four and walked one. Kamppi (4-3) took the loss and was charged with nine earned runs and 11 hits over 52⁄3.
    Griffin Benedict and Wirnsberger led GSU at the plate with three hits each while Wright, Richardson and Shehan had two hits apiece. Sid Fallaw, McGuiness and Jordan each had three hits, and Jordan finished with a career-hit five RBIs.
    The Citadel led from the start, jumping out to a 3-0 lead with three RBI singles in the first. GSU didn’t score until the fourth when Shehan led off the frame with his team-leading 17th home run, a solo homer to right-center.
    GSU’s Andy Moye (2-4) will go against Asher Wojciechowski (4-0) in today’s 1:30 p.m. series finale.
Notes: Children ages 14 and under will be admitted to today’s game free with a paid adult. GSU officials will be accepting donations to support Bulloch County’s Joseph’s Home for Boys, which benefits local children in need…Richardson’s eighth-inning double made him the eighth Eagle to have at least 10 doubles this season. His hitting streak is now at 12 games.

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.

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