Once again, Jake Brown found himself in a pitcher’s duel.
Once again, he got the best of it.
For the second time this season, Brown went the distance as the Georgia Southern Eagles held on for a 6-4 win over UNC Greensboro.
“(Assistant coach B.J.) Green basically said that what a team does is pick each other up and I did that tonight,” said Brown, who struck out seven and allowed three earned runs in nis nine innings of work. “(Colin) Snow went deep for us, he battled in (Tuesday’s 13-inning, 8-5 loss to South Carolina). But he picked everybody up and saved their arms, and I basically did the workhorse routine this time.”
Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh, it was freshman Arthur Owens (2-for-4) who gave the advantage back to GSU (12-11, 5-2 Southern Conference). He drove in catcher Michael Burress (2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R), who had doubled to lead off the inning, with an RBI single to left.
“The coaches told me that (UNCG starting pitcher Warren Slack) had been struggling with his off-speed a little bit,” Owens said about the at-bat, “to try to get a fastball early in the count and barrel one up. He started me off with a slider in the dirt. I knew maybe a fastball would be coming, he gave me one, I barreled it up and got the RBI.”
The Eagles made it 5-3 later that inning when Kyle Blackburn (2-for-3, HR) watched a ball-four wild pitch hit the backstop and Roman Grimaldi scored from third.
Each team tacked on another before Brown finished the job.
Nobody was able to get one out of the infield until the top of the third, when the Spartans (11-10, 0-4) put together a rally.
Zach Leach led off the inning with a fill-count walk and Kris Richards, batting in the nine hole, hit a one-out single to left. Chris Barker walked to load the bases, followed by an infield single by Harry Slade that scored Leach and broke the 0-0 tie.
An error on a Corey Overholtzer grounder allowed Richards to score, and a sacrifice fly by cleanup hitter Ed Jayjack made it 3-0.
“Jake really gutted it out for us,” said GSU coach Rodney Hennon. “We had a couple of walks and an error in that inning, led to three runs, but I was pleased with our guys’ response. Nobody pressed the panic button.”
The Eagles started chipping away in the bottom of the fifth, Burruss roped a double to the left-field corner to lead things off. He advanced on a flyout by Shawn Payne and scored on a Grimaldi single to cut it to 3-1.
A two-run blast by Blackburn, his seventh home run of the season which tied A.J. Wirnsberger for the team lead at seven on the season, tied the game at 3-3.
Matt Murray gets the start today. It will be the second of the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at J.I. Clements Stadium.”
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.