DAVIDSON, N.C. — Josh Wirsu tossed a season-high seven innings and struck out a team-best 13 batters as the Georgia Southern Eagles evened the three-game series with a 7-5 win over the Davidson Wildcats at Wilson Field on Saturday.
Georgia Southern (20-8, 4-4 SoCon) picked up their 20th victory of the season and bounced back from a series opening 5-2 loss on Friday night. Kody Adams, who extended his reached base streak to 10 games, led GSU with three hits. Five different Eagles tallied multi-hit games and seven of the nine starts recorded at least one base hit.
Wirsu settled in after allowing three runs over the first three innings and retired 10-straight batters starting in the fourth inning. Wirsu (5-2) picked up the win en route to becoming just the second Eagle to strike out 10 or more batters this season. The junior righthander bested the previous team high of 12 punch outs set by Sam Howard against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Feb. 21. Wirsu allowed three runs — two earned — on four hits and three walks.
“I was really feeling my fastball and was able to throw it for strikes. The slider complimented my fastball and they started complimenting each other as I was getting deeper into the game,” Wirsu said.
Ryan Cleveland broke open a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning with a RBI double. Cleveland dropped a ball into the left centerfield gap to score Aaron Mizell, who was hit by a pitch before stealing second base.
Cleveland, who extended his hit streak to six games, later capped off the Eagles' scoring with his fourth home run of the season in the eighth inning. The freshman first baseman hit a solo shot that bounced off of a pine tree in right field to put the Eagles ahead 7-3.
Davidson (15-8, 6-2 SoCon) got the run back in the bottom of the eighth inning on a solo home run from Forrest Brandt.
The Wildcats pulled within two runs in the ninth inning on a pinch-hit single from Brian Fortier and threatened to tie the game with runners on first and second base.
Jason Richman struck out Andrew Pope and coaxed a ground ball to third base to end the threat and the game. Richman (1) worked a full inning and allowed one unearned run on two hits to earn his first career save.
“I was confident in my defense. I am glad that we pulled out a W tonight and got what we needed to do done,” Wirsu said.
Danny Mooney suffered the loss after allowing four runs on nine hits. Mooney (3-3) struck out eight batters and walked two over 5.2 innings.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning after a pair of walks scored on a Ryan Lowe single and a Sam Foy sacrifice fly.
GSU tied the game at 2-2 in the second inning on Garrett Chapman's two-RBI double off the wall in left field.
Chase Griffin put the Eagles ahead 3-2 in the third inning with a RBI single that dropped in right field. Davidson quickly tied the game in the bottom half of the frame on an error by the shortstop Dalton Busby.
The same two teams will meet tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the deciding game of the series. Eric Alonzo is scheduled to make his first weekend start for the Eagles. Davidson will counter with Nick Neitzel.