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Roache powers Eagles to sweep

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Roache powers Eagles to sweep

Victor Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.) came up big again hitting two more home runs to spark Georgia Southern (18-11, 9-3) to a come-from-behind 11-9 win and a series sweep of The Citadel (10-18, 5-10) on Sunday, April 3rd. Roache launched his sixth home run of the week just a day after sending three over the wall and moved into second place in the NCAA rankings with 12, closely trailing behind Jake Lowery of James Madison.

The sophomore outfielder was the first Eagle to hit five or more home runs in a week since 2008 SoCon Player of the Year Chris Shehan hit five during the week of March 11th, 2008. Shehan, one of the members of the NCAA-record 14 homer game, hit two in a mid-week game against USC Upstate on March 11th and three in the weekend series with Columbia.

Sunday's game was tied 2-2 after the fourth inning, but a six-run fifth inning and a single run in the sixth put the Bulldogs up 9-5. Georgia Southern rallied with four runs in the seventh inning and two more in the eighth to complete its largest comeback of the season.

Georgia Southern got three or more hits from its three, four and five hitters with Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) leading the way with four hits. Phillips came around to score four of the Eagles' runs after Roache and Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) both picked up three hits. Roache drove in five runs while Burruss plated two.

Both teams' bullpens factored into the decision after both starters had exited the game before the sixth inning. Justin Russell lasted the longest, allowing five runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings of work. Andy Moye (Alpharetta, Ga.) got into some early trouble and allowed a leadoff homer to Nick Orvin, but left after the fourth inning after allowing just one earned run on four hits.

Will Middour (Atlanta, Ga.) picked up the win after pitching two-thirds of a scoreless eighth inning. Statesboro's own Taylor Burke picked up the first out of the inning. Jarret Leverett (Eatonton, Ga.) picked up his first career save after throwing a scoreless ninth inning. Leverett allowed just one hit and struck out a batter in the inning. Matt Murray (Spring City, Pa.) lowered his ERA to 0.57 and really helped GSU get back in the contest, throwing a pair of scoreless innings in the middle of the game.

After a leadoff home run in the top half of the first inning, Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) led off the bottom half of the inning with a triple and scored a ground out. Three consecutive singles followed the out and scored Phillips, who singled into the right-field corner.

Georgia Southern was held scoreless after that until the sixth inning when Roache launched his first homer getting three of the six runs back The Citadel scored in the top-half of the inning. Four doubles sandwiched around Roache's second home run in the seventh inning drove in four runs to tie the contest at 9-9.

The Eagles manufactured the winning run in the eighth inning after a free pass was issued to Roache. An error on a failed pick-off attempt sent him to second base, and a sacrifice bunt by Ben Morgan (Evans, Ga.) moved him to third base. Phillips drove a ball back up the middle with the infield in to plate Roache. The junior captain came around to score the second run of the inning  on a double by Burruss.

Georgia Southern returns to J.I. Clements Stadium for a single game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Mercer. The Eagles will take their longest trip of the season this weekend when they face Conference USA member Marshall in a three-game series in Beckley, W.Va.

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