DeleteMatt Murray threw five shutout innings in relief to earn the win in Georgia Southern's (7-3) 4-3 series-opening victory over St. John's (3-4) Friday night at J. I. Clements Stadium. Back-to-back doubles in the sixth inning broke open a 3-3 tie late in the game. Both bullpens factored into the decision, and only one run was allowed by either pen.
Michael Burruss went perfect at the plate with three singles and a double in four at-bats. Burruss singled three straight times before doubling to lead off the seventh inning. Eric Phillips made his one hit count driving in Burruss, who plated the first Eagle run in the first inning, for the winning run.
Murray came in out of the bullpen for Chris Beck, started the game and allowed just two hits but three runs in four innings, and went the distance striking out five batters in the process. Murray earned his second win of the season after allowing only three hits and no runs.
Stephen Rivera was tagged with his first loss of the season after allowing one run and four hits in 2.1 innings of action out of the bullpen. Rivera entered the game in relief of Sean Hagan, who started the contest for the Red Storm. Hagan allowed three runs and nine hits but got into trouble in the fifth inning.
St. John's led off the game with a run in the top of the first inning. Pat Talbut singled with one out in the inning and scored after three straight walks forced him in. Beck coaxed a double play out of Jeremy Baltz to escape the inning without further damage. Georgia Southern got the run back in the bottom half of the inning scoring with Payne, who tripled to lead off the bottom of the first, crossing the plate on an RBI single from Burruss.
The Eagles took a 2-1 lead in the second inning, but St. John's responded with two runs in the third inning. Andy Moye scored on a double by Ben Morgan, after reaching base on a two-out single in the bottom of the second. A walk, a stolen base and a fly out put Jimmy Brennan in position to score the first run from third base on a ground out by Joe Panik in the third inning. St. John's added the second run on a pair of errors by the Georgia Southern defense.
Victor Roache plated a two-out run in the fifth inning to tie the contest at 3-3. The sophomore outfielder used his only hit to score Shawn Payne, who doubled with one out in the inning.
To order baseball tickets for upcoming games call the Georgia Southern Athletic Ticket Office at 800-GSU-WINS. Single games tickets are available at the gate for $8 for adults and $4 for youth (3-12).
All games this weekend can be heard on either 102.9 FM in Statesboro and are also available online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch.