JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Georgia Southern Baseball team (15-11) scored a run in the ninth inning, but left the bases loaded in a 4-2 loss to Jacksonville Tuesday, March 29th at Sessions Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. A single bad inning cost the Eagles and dropped Justin Hess (Panama City, Fla.) to 0-2 on the season. The Dolphins scored three runs in the fourth inning on four consecutive hits to take an early 3-0 lead.
Hess made his first start of the season and pitched well except for the one bad inning. He was tagged with his second loss of the year and his scoreless inning streak ended at 14.1 innings after a near perfect three innings to start the contest. The sophomore pitcher allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five while allowing just one walk.
Georgia Southern loaded the bases in the ninth inning with one out after Chris Anderson allowed three walks and recorded a fielder's choice to start the inning. Ben Morgan (Evans, Ga.), who went 2-4 on the day, drove in the run with an infield single. Anderson struck out a pinch hitter and coaxed a fly out to get out of the jam and grab his third save of the season.
Joe Ryan, who entered the game in the fifth inning, inherited the win after the Dolphins took the 3-0 lead. Ryan threw a scoreless inning and struck out a batter on just 11 pitches. He was one of five different Jacksonville pitchers who appeared on the mound and did not allow a run.
Jacksonville scored three runs on three-straight hits in the fourth inning. Jonathan Murphy led off the inning with a double and scored on a Daniel Gulbransen outfield single. Adam Brett Walker followed with a deep two-run bomb over the centerfield wall. Hess allowed a fourth-straight single to Jimmy Howick, but worked a fly out and a classic 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Georgia Southern got a run back in the seventh inning on a Victor Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.) solo shot to lead off the inning. The Eagles had a solid opportunity to score a run in the sixth inning before a fielder's choice wiped out a run at the plate. Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) started the rally with a base hit to right field and moved to third base on a single by Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.). A nice defensive play by Taylor Ratliff robbed Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) of a hit, and the Eagles of a run.
The Dolphins extended their lead to the final score, 4-1, with a leadoff homer in the eighth inning by Gulbransen, his third of the season. Joe Lower (West Palm Beach, Fla.), who worked out of a tough spot in the seventh inning, recorded a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to retire the side. Lower struck out three batters and allowed one run on two hits in 1.2 innings of work.
The Georgia Southern Baseball team returns home to play host to the reigning Southern Conference champion, The Citadel, in a three-game weekend series. The busy weekend kicks off on Friday at 7 p.m. with a pre-game ceremony to honor Head Coach Rodney Hennon for his 500th career victory.
Head Football Coach Jeff Monken will throw out the first pitch before Saturday's 2:30 p.m. contest. The annual Clements Crazies Tailgate will take place before the game, and it will also be a GSU Spring Family Weekend. The series wraps up on Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. first pitch.
Georgia Southern Baseball games can be heard live on Eagle 102.9 FM and are also available online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision with broadcasts beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch.