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Eagles pound Jacksonville, get 12th straight win
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            JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Georgia Southern remembered the two unearned runs it needed to squeak by Jacksonville in a 6-5 win back on April 13.

            The Eagles didn’t let it come to that, this time.

            The pounded out a season-high 25 hits including six for extra bases as they rolled to a 19-4 win over the JU Dolphins Tuesday in Sessions Stadium.

            Jacksonville (23-25) used seven pitchers in the game, getting no more than two innings of work.

            It got interesting in the early going as the teams battled to a 3-3 tie through two. Georgia Southern took a 3-0 lead with two runs in the first and another in the second that crossed after back-to-back doubles by Arthur Owens and Randy J. Williams.

            The Dolphins fought back in, scoring three in the second on an RBI single by Chuck Opachich to tie it.

            “I liked the way our guys responded,” said GSU coach Rodney Hennon. “We made some mistakes early in the game, but we responded well each time that we did.”

The Eagles answered with three more in the third to take a 6-3 lead. Back-to-back singles by Burruss and Owens, again on two outs, drove in Bowles, Eric Phillips and Victor Roache.

            An unearned Jacksonville run in the third was all it added to its tally.

            The Eagles continued the two-out production in the top of the fifth when they broke the game wide open recording six hits – four with two down – and pushing six runs across the plate to take a 12-4 lead. A Burruss groundout almost turned into an inning-ending double play, but the freshman designated hitter beat the throw at first to open the gates and spark the rally.

            An Eric Phillips three-run homer in the seventh, RBIs by Shawn Payne and an RBI double by Owens in the made it 19-4 after eight.

            While the offense was busy touching the dish, the pitching was equally as impressive. Colin Snow relieved freshman starter Justin Hess and pitched to just one over the minimum in the appearance, going 3.2 innings, allowing two hits and striking out four. He retired 11 of the 12 batters he faced.

            “He’s got some confidence,” Hennon said. “He’s throwing the ball like he was earlier in the year and now he’s making pitches when he needs to.”

            Bowles crossed the plate four times and finished the game 3-for-4. Shawn Payne (3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI) and Arthur Owens (3-for-4, 2B) each scored three times and Williams (2-for-4), Phillips and Blackburn (2-for-6, 3 RBI) and each scored twice.

            Nine different Eagles scored when all was said and done.

            Georgia Southern turns its attention to The Citadel in a three-game series starting Thursday at J.I. Clements Stadium. A sweep in that series will put GSU in a tie with College of Charleston for the regular season Southern Conference championship. The Cougars would garner the No. 1 seed in next week’s tournament by virtue of a tiebreaker with the Eagles.

 

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