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Eagles defeat Bulldogs

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Eagles defeat Bulldogs

Georgia Southern second baseman Ben Morgan, left, turns a double play as The Citadel's Grant Richards slides into second during the third inning at J.I. Clements Stadium on Friday.

Two Friday night pitchers went at it, and Chris Beck came out on the winning end.
    The Georgia Southern starter went seven-plus innings as the Eagles held off The Citadel 4-3 Friday in the first of a three-game series at J.I Clements Stadium.
    Beck (4-0) pitched into the eighth inning, allowing six hits and two earned runs.
    The Bulldogs (10-16, 5-8 Southern Conference) sent Matt Talley to the mound.
    Talley (1-3) entered the game with a career 11-1 record against SoCon competition, but GSU (16-11, 7-3) scored a pair of unearned runs to help overcome Talley’s complete-game, six strikeout, eight hit performance.
    Beck faced a game-high seven batters in the fourth inning, when The Citadel put together a two-out rally to plate a pair of runs and take a 2-0 lead.
    Designated hitter Joe Jackson got his only base hit of the game, a two-out single, to extend the inning.
    William Ladd walked, and Drew DeKerlegand fought off four foul balls before an infield single loaded the bases.
    Justin Mackert singled up the middle for a pair of RBIs.
    “All teams are going to make runs at you — little runs, big runs — but it’s just if you can stop it and make sure you can get them back,” said Beck, who struck out Legare Jones to get out of the fourth. “Two runs scored, and my team came back and put two runs on the board. You get more confidence after you see your team do that.”
    The Eagles responded in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff double by Ben Morgan and an RBI single from cleanup hitter Victor Roache (2-for-4, 2 R).
    Roache advanced to third on a double by Michael Burruss, and tied the game at 2-2 when William Ladd, the Bulldogs’ left fielder, couldn’t get a glove on the Burruss hit.
    The Citadel threatened early in the fifth, when catcher Grant Richards shot a liner out to centerfield, but Shawn Payne gloved it with a diving catch to rob extra bases.
    “When I dove, I kind of thought I was going to trap it,” Payne said, “but I laid out and extended, got under it and made the catch.”
Beck sat down eight of the next nine he faced after that.
    “It definitely pumped me up,” said the sophomore righty about Payne’s catch in the outfield. “I think I got the next two guys on first-pitch fastballs that came out a lot faster than what the first couple.”
    The Eagles took the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a miscue by the Bulldogs.
    Third baseman Andy Moye walked and Payne singled to put runners on the corners with one out.
Morgan grounded into a would-be, 4-6-3 double play, but Jones, The Citadel’s shortstop, went high on the throw to first. The ball ended up in the Bulldogs’ dugout, allowing Moye to score to give GSU a 3-2 lead.
    The Eagles tacked on another run in the sixth when Roache scored on an RBI double by catcher Tom Richardson.
    The Citadel tacked on another run after Nick Orvin reached on an error to lead off the eighth inning and chase off Beck.
    Matt Murray came in and allowed a single and a sacrifice-fly RBI before retiring the final five batters he faced, including two strikeouts, to earn his fourth save of the season.
    Action resumes in Game 2 today at 2:30 p.m.

Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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