CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Georgia Southern (22-15, 11-4) survived a high-scoring 16-13 affair for the series victory over Western Carolina (14-19-1, 5-13) on Sunday, April 17th. Three home runs, four multi-hit performances and 16 hits provided the offense for the Eagles to score their 16 runs.
The series finale was knotted at 1-1 after three innings before the two teams combined for 16 runs in the fourth. Georgia Southern scored 11 of them and pushed across the game-winning RBI on a Steve Cochrane (Mooresville, N.C.) two-RBI triple in the sixth inning. The Eagles tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning, and Matt Murray (Spring City, Pa.) pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the game.
Cochrane picked up four of GSU's hits and drove in a team-high four RBIs. Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.), Victor Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and Garren Palmer (Dalton, Ga.) all homered in the game and tallied multi-hit games. Phillips and Roache had three hits, while Palmer recorded two with three RBIs.
Justin Hess (Panama City, Fla.) earned his second win of the season after striking out a season-high seven batters, but allowed six runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings. The Eagles used five more pitchers before Murray came on in the ninth for his sixth save of the season.
Adam Curtis was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on five hits in three innings. Brandon Johnson threw a scoreless final 2.2 innings for the Catamounts and struck out three batters while allowing four hits.
A pair of solo shots provided the scoring in the first three innings before both teams batted around in the fourth inning. Georgia Southern nearly batted around twice in the top-half of the fourth, scoring 11 runs, just five short of the school record. The record for runs in an inning is 16, set in 2007 against New Jersey Tech.
Phillips led off the fourth inning with a single to left field and scored on a homer by Roache. Back-to-back base hits and a hit by pitch were sandwiched around a pair of outs before a walk and single by Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) drove in three more runs. Three-straight walks followed, scoring two more Eagle runs before a three-run big fly by Palmer capped off the inning.
After the two-RBI triple by Cochrane in the sixth, the Eagles added two more runs in the seventh on RBI singles by Phillips and Cochrane. Brent Pugh (Atlanta, Ga.) led off the inning with a single before Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) was hit by a pitch. The two RBI singles followed a sacrifice bunt by Burruss.
The Catamounts batted around again in the sixth inning, scoring five more runs. WCU also put single runs on the board in the seventh and eighth inning to reach its 13-run total.
The Eagles return to action next weekend in a Southern Conference series against Elon at J.I. Clements Stadium. The series opens Friday at 7 p.m. and continues on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.