The bats finally got going for the Georgia Southern Eagles.
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning, GSU scored seven unanswered runs and held on for a 7-4 win over Davidson on Game 1 of a double header Friday afternoon at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Davidson (18-27, 8-19 Southern Conference) stranded eight runners in the first five innings, and finally broke the scoreless tie when catcher Daniel Gerow launched a two-run homer off of Georgia Southern starting pitcher Chris Beck.
Beck (7-3) got the win, going six complete while walking three and striking out seven.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, GSU coach Rodney Hennon was ejected after a strike called on a low pitch to Eric Phillips.
Assistant coach Mike Tidick took over management and third-base coaching duties.
Tidick didn’t miss a beat after taking over for Hennon at third base, calling a successful double steal with Phillips and Scooter Williams on base after Phillips singled following the ejection.
“You know the game, and you’ve just got to let things develop and try to do the best job you can,” said Tidick, who is in his 12th season at GSU. “I haven’t been out there in a couple years, but I feel pretty comfortable doing it.”
Hennon will not return to the field with the Eagles until Game 3 against Davidson on Monday. By SoCon rule, an ejected coach must serve a one-game suspension in the next contest.
The Eagles (28-21, 15-10) registered only three hits in the first five innings, but the nation’s leading home run hitter changed all that with Phillips and Williams on board in the sixth.
Right fielder Victor Roache hit his 25th homer of the season to give GSU the lead for good.
The homer sparked seven unanswered runs over the next three innings.
Michael Burruss extended the inning when he reached on an error by Davidson shortstop Michael Zeblo. Burruss advanced to second when Steve Cochrane doubled down the left-field line.
A sacrifice fly by Tom Richardson to center got Burruss across and gave GSU a 4-2 advantage.
Shawn Payne scored another in the seventh after getting hit by a pitch. He stole second and third, and crossed the plate on an RBI groundout by Scooter Williams.
An RBI double by Tom Richardson and an RBI, bunt single by Phillips put the Eagles ahead 7-2 in the eighth.
Matt Murray, the GSU reliever, picked up the save, pitching three innings and striking out four. He gave up two earned runs in the top of the ninth on a pair of singles, an RBI double by Forrest Brandt and an RBI sacrifice fly by Drew Gadaire.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.