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Eagle bats lift GSU over Jacksonville

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Eagle third baseman Chris Shehan delivered three extra-base hits and four RBI to support a strong outing by pitcher John Ducey as Georgia Southern defeated Jacksonville 10-6 Tuesday. The Eagles improved to 4-2 overall while JU dropped to 4-2.
    Georgia Southern out-hit Jacksonville 15-11 and won at JU for the first time since 2001. The Eagles have out-hit all of their opponents this season.
    Jacksonville got a leadoff hit from Logan James in the first inning. Ducey, a senior transfer making his first appearance in an Eagle uniform, got a lineout for the first out then enticed a groundball from Mike McCallister for a 4-3 inning-ending double play.
    In the second, Griffin Benedict lined a leadoff single. Shehan slammed a 3-1 fastball over the left field fence, spotting the Eagles an early 2-0 lead. It was Shehan’s first home run this year and the first runs allowed by Dolphin starter Matt Gardner this season.
    JU tied the game in its half of the third. Matt Lopez was hit by a pitch to start the frame then took second on Brad Simmons’ single. John Tiner dropped down a sacrifice bunt on a 2-2 count, advancing the runners. James brought home the first run on a RBI groundout. Pete Clifford ripped a two-out RBI double into the left field gap.
    The Eagles regained the lead for good in the fourth. Benedict reached on a catcher’s interference. With one out, Jeremiah Parker lifted a flyball to center, but the ball popped out of Tiner’s glove in centerfield. With runners at first and second, Chris Hollis lined a two-out RBI single to right.
    With two outs in the sixth, Brian Pierce skipped a line drive off the top of the left-field fence for his first career home run. His first RBI of the season extended the Eagles’ lead to 4-2.
    A two-out rally in the seventh increased the Eagles’ lead. Adam Rapoza struck out the first two batters of the seventh, but then A.J. Wirnsberger and Benedict lined back-to-back singles. Shehan lined a double over McCallister’s head in right field, plating both runs. Parker followed with another run-scoring double down the right field line. Pierce’s RBI single to left field, made it 8-2.
    Matt Miller scored on a sacrifice fly by Benedict in the eighth, then Shehan, who doubled to start the top of the ninth, scored on a Hollis sacrifice fly.
    The Dolphins plated four runs off Burt Barto in the ninth before Kyle Kamppi came on in relief and finished off the win.
    Ducey (1-0) gave up the two runs on six hits in six innings of work. He walked one and struck out two. Shehan and Wirnsberger tallied three hits apiece while Benedict, Parker and Pierce added two each.
    Gardner (1-1) gave up three runs on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. Clifford led the Dolphins had three hits.
    The Eagles continue their Jacksonville trip today with a 4 p.m. game at North Florida.

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