The Statesboro Blue Devils were cruising along up 3-0 against the visiting Benedictine Cadets, until Benedictine started playing small ball in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs to tie the game, and then adding three more in the top of the eighth.
The Blue Devils managed to put the tying run on third in the bottom of the eighth, but that’s where things would end, as they fell 6-5.
“Overall I was pleased, I thought we played pretty well,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “Eddie Mitchell wasn’t as sharp as he was his last outing, but he pitched pretty well, and Neal Fordham did good in relief.”
Benedictine scored three runs in the top of the eighth, all with two outs. The Cadets got an RBI double from Justin Thomas, and then an RBI single by Josh Kindred as they’d grab a 6-3 lead.
The Blue Devils (5-5) rallied in their half of the inning. Statesboro got one run home as a Dake Williams ground ball resulted in a fielder's choice, scoring Ames Rackleff from third. Jackson Proctor then hit a single to center that plated pinch runner Blake Stanford.
Drake Horton followed that up with a single, but with runners on the corner Ryan Lindsey popped up to the catcher to end the game.
“We had as many quality at bats tonight as we have all year,” Simmons said. “This is a good team we played against tonight, and if you give a team like that a few runs, you're going to hurt yourself.”
Statesboro took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Williams fielder's choice with the bases loaded. They would manufacture two more runs in the fourth inning. Proctor beat out an infield hit that scored Harrison Hughes from third. The Blue Devils would then load the bases, and Horton came in to score on a wild pitch.
Blue Devil pitcher Eddie Mitchell cruised through the first four innings. Mitchell allowed only two hits, and struck out four through the first four innings, before the Cadets got to him in the top of the fifth.
The Cadets began playing small ball in the fifth, and the Blue Devils struggled with their bunt defense. Three straight bunts loaded the bases for Benedictine first baseman Kam Edge, who played the first run with a sacrifice fly to right. Back to back singles by Rome Dean, and Ryan Pickard tied the game at 3-3.
“I feel like we really lost the game in the fifth,” Simmons said. “They started bunting, and we didn’t do a very good job of defending the bunt. We have to do a better job with that.”
Proctor led the way for Statesboro at the plate going 2-4 with two RBI. Dean went 3-4 with two RBI for Benedictine.
Up next Statesboro travels to Savannah to play Benedictine Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Grayson Stadium.