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Eagle Baseball splits with West Virginia
GS baseball
Georgia Southern starting pitcher Daniel Collins delivers to the plate during the second game of the Eagles' doubleheader with West Virginia, Saturday, at J.I. Clements Stadium. - photo by Georgia Southern AMR

It was a rough weekend for the Georgia Southern  Baseball offense, but the Eagles were able to walk away with at least one win.

Georgia Southern totalled just three runs and 13 hits in a three-game series against West Virginia. Following a 5-1 loss on Friday night, the teams played a doubleheader on Saturday as impending rain forecasted for Sunday threatened the originally scheduled series finale. West Virginia quieted GS bats once again in a 3-1 win to begin Saturday’s action. The second game saw the Eagles’ lowest hit output (3) of the entire series, but GS starter Daniel Collins combined with David Johnson and Cole Whitney to shut out the Mountaineers and salvage a 1-0 win.

“I’m proud of our guys for bouncing back,” GS coach Rodney Hennon said. “Obviously it was tough losing the first two games of the series.”

With the Eagles’ offensive woes becoming a trend early in the season, Collins might have known that it would take a phenomenal effort to come up with a win. But if those thoughts crossed his mind, he never showed it.

Collins cruised through six innings of work, scattering four hits and striking out five while lowering his season ERA to 0.82. The grad student transfer threw his last pitch with the game still knotted at 0-0, but West Virginia starter Kade Stroud (6.2 IP, 2H, 1R, 8K) finally blinked in the bottom of the sixth, allowing Collins to claim the win.

Georgia Southern (2-4) scratched out the game’s only run with one of their three hits and a little bit of luck. Nolan Tressler reached on an error to begin the frame and — following a Christian Avant strikeout and an infield single by Blake Evans — worked his way around to third base. A fielder’s choice hit into by Jason Swan brought Tressler home and that was it for the scoring.

Johnson allowed only a hit and a walk in working through the seventh and eighth. Whitney allowed a leadoff single to Tristan Hudson in the ninth and Hudson worked his way to third with two outs, but Whitney got T.J. Lake to pop out to third to end the series on a high note.

“David did a much better job out of the bullpen in that second game and Cole pitched well to end it,” Hennon said. “Our pitching and defense made big plays the entire game. As it turned out, we needed every one of those to be able to get the win.”

Through six games, the Eagles have been held to three runs or fewer five times. Georgia Southern doesn’t figure to be one of the better power hitting teams in the Sun Belt Conference and a lack of timely hitting was evident in its series finale loss to Auburn last week in which it stranded 16 runners on base in a 13-inning loss.

“Obviously, we know that the offense has struggled,” Hennon said. “Right now, we have guys who aren’t taking the best approach and who maybe aren’t thinking enough about what pitchers are trying to do with them. But we’ve got guys who can hit. We’re going to see that get better as we move forward.”

Georgia Southern will take a quick trip to the Palmetto State on Tuesday to take on the College of Charleston before returning to J.I. Clements Stadium for a weekend series against No. 9 Georgia.