Georgia Southern rode a 12-game winning streak into Thursday’s series with The Citadel.
Then, they ran smack-dab into Asher Wojciechowski.
The junior Bulldogs pitcher went the distance, allowed seven hits and four runs – all in the eighth inning – struck out nine and walked only two on his way to his 10th win of the season and a 9-4 Citadel at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The win also clinched at least a No. 2 seed in next week’s Southern Conference Tournament, and left GSU with the No. 3 seed regardless of the outcomes of the next two games.
Trailing 9-0, the Eagles (34-20, 19-9 SoCon) sent eight men to the plate in an eighth inning that nearly cut the score in half. Michael Burruss – who had GSU’s only hit until that point – started things off with his second single of the day and made it all the way around to third on an error in left field.
Arthur Owens drove in Burruss with a single of his own, and after Randy J. Williams walked on four-straight pitches, Shawn Payne crushed his fifth homer of the season to straightaway center to close the gap to 9-4.
“Our guys didn’t quit. We fought back, but (Wojciechowski) pitched a very good ballgame and you have to tip your hat to him,” said GSU coach Rodney Hennon. “It was just one of those games where when a guy’s pitching as well as he was you can’t afford to make many mistakes. We made some mistakes early in the ballgame.”
Relief pitcher Chris Myers got through the top of the ninth unscathed, but Wojciechowski had enough left to finish the job for his third complete game in a row.
The Bulldogs got on the board with a little help from Georgia Southern in the top of the third.
After Nick Orvin and Brad Felder reached on back-to-back one-out singles, Matt Simonelli hit a grounder down the third base line off A.J. Wirnsberger’s glove and into left field to score Orvin. Felder took third and Simonelli reached on the error.
The Citadel made it 2-0 on an RBI groundout by Bryan Altman that drove in Felder and 3-0 on an RBI single by Justin Mackert that drove in Simonelli.
“They capitalized on our mistakes,” Hennon said. “Now we’ve just got to pick ourselves up and focus on coming out here (today). What happened is over with.”
Justin Mackert made it 4-0 with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth, and the Bulldogs got two more in the seventh to make it 6-0.
Brown was replaced by Charles Matthews and Myers as The Citadel put three more on the board in the eighth for a 9-0 advantage.
Brown finished with no walks, three earned runs and four strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Game two takes place today at 7 p.m.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.