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Eagles tame Red Wolves
GS wins 7-4 in game one
051217 GSU BASEBALL 02 web
Georgia Southern's Evan McDonald slides for a score to get the Eagles on the board before teammate C.J. Brazil is thrown out at second to end the second inning against Arkansas State at J. I. Clements Stadium Friday.

Georgia Southern was in danger of dropping a fourth consecutive Sun Belt series opener until the Eagles realized that they’re right in the middle of a race for positioning in the upcoming conference tournament.
    The Eagles erased a 4-3 deficit, scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh and cruising home from there to notch a 7-4 victory at J.I. Clements Stadium Friday night.
    “The guys hung in there,” GS coach Rodney Hennon said. “The bullpen picked us up and we were fortunate to have a four-run inning to get us over the top.”
    Trailing by a run in the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles (34-16, 16-9 Sun Belt) went back to their bag of tricks, as they are quickly making a name for themselves as a team that does its damage late.
    Ryan Cleveland had struck out in his first three at bats, but laced a single off of Arkansas State (22-25, 10-15) reliever Bo Ritter to lead off the frame. Ty Martin — who went 3-for-3 on the night — drew one of his two walks to put the Eagles in business.
    Jordan Wren laid down a good sacrifice bunt that became even better when ASU third baseman Alex Howard threw wild to first, allowing Cleveland to score and putting Eagle runners on second and third. Mason McWhorter was intentionally walked before Ritter was lifted from the game.
    Tanner Kirby was brought in from the Red Wolves’ bullpen, but lost a duel to Cal Baker as the Eagle third baseman worked a full count before drawing a walk to give Georgia Southern its first lead of the night. Logan Baldwin lofted a sacrifice fly and Evan McDonald shot an RBI single into center to widen the lead.
    And that was more than enough for the Eagles’ bullpen.
    Evan Challenger started for Georgia Southern and was solid, but was touched up for four runs off of eight hits in 5.1 innings before Ryan Fredrick carried the team through the sixth. Jacob Condra-Bogan worked through the seventh and after becoming the beneficiary of the Eagles’ big rally - kept ASU from responding in the eighth to put himself in line for his fifth win of the season.
    In the ninth inning, anyone in the Sun Belt could have predicted the result.
    Landon Hughes marched in from the GS bullpen and notched his eighth save of the season in impressive fashion. The senior closer needed just 18 pitches to strike out the side and send Eagle fans home happy.
    “Like I said, our bullpen was key,” Hennon said. “It’s great how things have worked out. Challenger picked up Condra-Bogan a couple of times earlier this season. Tonight, Condra picked him up. And then you’ve got Landon coming in and pitching a great ninth.”
    Arkansas State was the first to crack the scoreboard in the top of the second when Derek Birginske launched a two-run homer to left center. Georgia Southern clawed back, getting an RBI single by C.J. Brazil in the bottom half of the frame and tying things up when McWhorter split the gap for a two-out RBI single in the third.
    The Red Wolves regained a 3-2 lead on a Grant Hawkins single in the fifth, but the Eagles answered once again — and once again answered with McWhorter — as the freshman outfielder levelled the score with another two-out single.
    ASU pushed ahead one final time in the sixth when Birginske plated Alex Howard with a sacrifice fly.
    Red Wolf starter Tyler Mitzel preserved that lead through the bottom of the sixth and struck out seven while scattering nine hits in his performance. But Mitzel was lifted heading into the seventh and the Eagles’ assault on the ASU bullpen proved to be the difference in the game.
    Georgia Southern will look to keep the momentum going on its current four-game win streak as Chase Cohen takes the mound for a scheduled 6:30 p.m. first pitch.