2012 SoCon Baseball Tournament
The Citadel 8, College of Charleston 6
Georgia Southern 19, Elon 2
Appalachian State 7, Furman 5
Samford 7, Western Carolina 0
Elon 14, College of Charleston 12
Georgia Southern 8, The Citadel 1
Furman 9, Western Carolina 8
10:50 p.m., Appalachian St. vs. Samford, late
3 p.m., The Citadel vs. Elon
7 p.m., Appalachian State-Samford loser vs. Furman
10 a.m., Georgia Southern vs. The Citadel-Elon winner
1 p.m., App. State-Samford winner vs. Furman-TBA winner
GREENVILLE, S.C. — For a second straight day, great pitching and a big inning from the offense lifted Georgia Southern's baseball team to a Southern Conference Tournament victory.
This time the victory came in an 8-1 win over No. 7 seed The Citadel Bulldogs on Thursday night at Fluor Field.
GSU (32-26), the No. 6 seed, advanced to Saturday with back-to-back wins, the eighth time the Eagles have done so in 13 seasons under head coach Rodney Hennon, after a third-inning grand slam. GSU improved to 5-2 in the last seven games in The Citadel (25-32) series.
The Citadel's Kevin Connell loaded the bases in the third inning and GSU's T.D. Davis cleared them with his first career grand slam. Davis hammered a 2-1 pitch from Connell (1-5) off the third level of the condos in left field to blow open a 1-0 lead.
The Citadel's freshman left-hander walked the nine-hole hitter, Zac Lenns, to start the big inning and allowed three more walks, including an RBI free pass to Garren Palmer for the first run of the frame.
Connell later struck out Tyler Avera to get out of the bottom of the third without any more damage but was pulled after allowing a leadoff single to Brent Pugh to start the fourth inning. The freshman allowed five earned runs on three hits and five walks over three frames.
In a repeat of the match-up from Game 2 of the regular season series, GSU starter Justin Hess bested Connell for a second time this season and picked up the win in his first-ever SoCon Tournament appearance.
Hess (5-3) allowed just one leadoff base runner to reach base and stranded nine runners on base. The five other Bulldogs base-runners all reached with two outs, including the run in the sixth inning. The junior right-hander struck out seven batters over six innings and threw just under 100 pitches.
The Bulldogs threatened for a big inning in the top of the sixth after scoring a two-out run on an RBI single from Tyler Griffin.
An errant throw from GSU's Scooter Williams on an attempt to throw out Joe Jackson at the plate allowed two base runners to move into scoring position.
Hess battled back after giving up the walk and two hits in the frame, and coaxed a fly out to end the inning.
The Eagles added single runs in the final three innings, and Jarret Leverett provided three scoreless frames of relief to pick up his team-best seventh save.
Leverett struck out the side in the seventh inning and finished the game with seven strikeouts.
GSU will have today off and will play at 10 a.m. Saturday against the winner of Friday's game between The Citadel and Elon.
GSU's game can be heard on the Boomer 103.7 FM.