The Georgia Southern baseball team snapped a four-game losing streak and - more importantly - began Sun Belt Conference play on the right note, defeating UL Lafayette by a score of 6-3 Friday night at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The Eagles (8-10, 1-0 Sun Belt) took advantage of UL Lafayette miscues, got some timely hits, and were bolstered by a stellar outing from starting pitcher Brian Eichhorn to break back into the win column.
“It’s always good to get that first one (in a weekend series),” GS coach Rodney Hennon said. “(Louisiana) helped us a little bit and then we did a good job of moving guys over and getting big hits.”
Eichhorn allowed just one earned run and struck out nine over seven full innings. Hennon praised the junior right-hander for working around a few Eagle fielding errors. Eichhorn had to burn up most of his tank of gas as he threw 118 pitches.
“The big thing was my teammates giving me a lead to work with,” Eichhorn said. “I might have thrown some pitches, but I was in a rhythm and everything was going smooth for me.”
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Georgia Southern scored three runs and never looked back. A walk and a hit batter began the inning, with Steven Curry lofting a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Christian Avant scored on a wild pitch by ULL starter Nick Lee and Mason McWhorter singled to center for a 3-1 GS lead.
A pair of Eagle errors handed the Ragin’ Cajuns (7-10, 0-1) a run in the fifth, but the Eagles got RBI singles from Noah Searcy and Jason Swan in the bottom half for a 5-2 advantage.
The Cajuns chipped at the lead once more in the sixth. Hayden Cantrelle reached base with a two-out single. Eichhorn continued to make good pitches, but an error by McWhorter on a grounder and an errant throw by Matt Anderson on a pickoff attempt allowed Cantrelle to score.
Georgia Southern concluded the scoring in the bottom half of the seventh when Searcy raced home on a wild pitch.
Cole Whitney relieved Eichhorn and got the first two outs of the eighth inning before Chase Cohen emerged from the bullpen to lock down his third save of the season.
The teams return to J.I. Clements Stadium today at 3 p.m. for the second game of the series.