CHARLESTON, S.C. — Two early errors by the Georgia Southern Baseball team proved to be the deciding factor in a pitcher's duel between a pair of ace right-handers in the series opener with The Citadel on Friday.
Neither pitcher allowed an earned run and both tossed quality starts in a game decided by mistakes on the infield. Chris Beck threw his fourth complete game of the season, but Austin Pritcher picked up the 4-1 win for The Citadel.
Beck (4-5) went eight innings but fell below .500 for the second time this season with his third loss in a complete game performance. The junior right-hander allowed just four hits to The Citadel (18-24, 8-11), with two coming off the bat of Justin Mackert, and struck out seven batters.
Pritcher (5-3) allowed six hits to the Eagles but gave up just one unearned run over seven innings for his fifth-straight win at Joe Riley Park. Ben Morgan tallied two of the six hits in his return to the lineup but was erased from the base paths both times.
After The Eagles scored their lone run of the game in the top of the third inning on a Bulldog error, The Citadel took a 4-1 lead with three unearned runs in the bottom of the third. Joe Jackson, who scored the Bulldogs' first run of the game in the second inning, grounded into a bases loaded fielder's choice that resulted in the second GSU error of the game.
Tyler Avera's fielded the ball at third base and went home with the throw, but it sailed wide of the plate and to the backstop to allow the first two runs to score in the bottom of the third. A sacrifice fly from Bo Thompson in the next at-bat plated the fourth run of the game, before Beck struck out Tyler Griffin to end the inning.
A lead off fielding error by the pitcher in the top half of the frame allowed Zac Lenns to reach base safely. He would later score from second base on a single through the left side from Avera for the Eagles' lone run. A running catch and throw from the leftfielder Mackert made it a close play at the plate for Lenns.
After Pritcher retired the side in order in the four inning with two of his four strikeouts, the Eagles posted two hits in the fifth inning but came up scoreless. With two runners on base and two outs, Avera sliced a fly ball down the right field line but a running catch from Hughston Armstong kept a pair of runs off the board. Ben Morgan (Evans, Ga.) led off the inning with a base hit but was thrown out trying to extend his single into a double. Two batters later, Scooter Williams (Detroit, Mich.) singled through the right side of the defense before Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) was hit by a pitch.
After the Bulldogs tallied the four runs in the first three innings, Beck held The Citadel to just two hits and posted five of his strikeouts to keep the Bulldogs off the board in the final five innings. The junior retired the side in order in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings and stranded a runner in the eighth inning.
Georgia Southern was unable to rally in the final six frames. The Eagles had five base runners but sent just the minimum to the plate in all but the fifth inning. A runner's interference call on a fielder's choice in the seventh inning ended the frame and a double play in the eighth wiped out a lead off walk of Williams.
The three-game SoCon series continues tomorrow at 5 p.m. and concludes on Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest at Joe Riley Park.
All baseball games this season can be heard on the Boomer 103.7 FM and inside J.I. Clements Stadium on 88.1 FM. Audio for all games is also available on the web and subscription video is available for all home games at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision.