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Eagles hold off CSU Bucs, 7-6

    Georgia Southern stranded 18 runners in a 3-2 win at Charleston Southern on April 9.
    This time, the Eagles made them count.
    GSU stranded only five and scored five runs on just two hits in the bottom of the second as it knocked off the Buccaneers 7-6 on Wednesday at J.I. Clements Stadium.
    Kyle Rowe got the save for the Eagles (24-21), despite allowing a two-run single to CSU’s Bobby Ison in the ninth and watching as the potential tying run was gunned down at home by GSU right fielder Robbie Dodds to end the game.
    Garren Palmer (3-for-4, RBI, R) led off for the first time and got his first start since April 8, at Appalachian State.
    "It's just good to help the team win any way I can," Palmer said. "Anytime I am in the lineup I enjoy it. It has been awhile since I led off. It was fun."
    Charleston Southern (17-25) starter Stephen Leopard didn't bring his best stuff to the ballpark.
    He allowed three GSU hits — a single by Palmer, a double by Dodds and a two-run single by Chase Griffin — to lead off the game as GSU took a 2-0 lead.
    Leopard left the game after walking the first two batters of the second.
    Brent Pugh drew a walk from reliever Daniel Vargas, and Scooter Williams walked in a run.
    Palmer knocked in a run with a single, Pugh crossed the dish on an RBI fielder's choice by Dodds, Williams scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Griffin (1-for-2, BB, 3 RBIs) and T.D. Davis roped a double over the head of Ison in center.
    That was it for Vargas, as the Buccaneers ran out their third pitcher of the frame. Austin Weekly got a pop out from Tyler Avera to stop the bleeding and leave the Eagles with a 7-1 lead.
    Relief pitcher Heath Durand pitched 3.1 scoreless innings for the win.
    "He did a great job for us tonight," Palmer said about Durand. "If he didn't pitch as well as he did, who knows what would have happened.? It was great to see him step up for us."
    The Bucs got a run in the second off an RBI single by Robbie Street, and tacked on three more in the third with five-consecutive one-out singles to trail GSU 7-4 after three innings.
    The Eagles sent the minimum to the plate in the third and fourth innings after Zac Lenns and Palmer both singled and were caught stealing.
    Georgia Southern starter Evan Challenger gave up four runs on nine hits without a walk or a strikeout in three innings of work.
    The Eagles return to action Friday at home in the first of three games against Furman, at 6 p.m., in J.I. Clements Stadium.
NOTES: Georgia Southern head men's basketball coach Mark Byington, head women's soccer coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel and GSU equipment manager Stewart Carter each threw out the game's first pitch. Vanderspiegel and the 2012 Eagles were honored for their Southern Conference title. They finished 10-7-5 and won the first SoCon championship in program history. ... The Eagles did not record a strikeout in the win. … Williams, who started at centerfield and hit in the nine hole, was in the starting lineup for the first time since April 24 at Western Carolina. ... Announced attendance was 1,003.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.