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First-place Eagles win 6-3, take Samford series

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - For a third-straight time the Samford Bulldogs scored first, but for a second-straight day the Georgia Southern Eagles rallied from the early deficit to pick up the series victory 6-3 on Sunday afternoon.

Georgia Southern (12-7, 5-1 SoCon) scored three runs on a wild play in the eighth inning to secure their first regular-season series from the defending Southern Conference Tournament champions since 2010. Ben Morgan scored the go ahead run on a wild pitch and two more runs followed after Richard Greene threw the ball wide of the plate and into the Eagle dugout.

Samford (12-9, 2-4 SoCon) tied the contest at 3-3 on a sacrifice fly by Patrick McGavin in the seventh inning. Kyle Rowe (2-0) came on in relief  following the run and stranded two batters after coaxing a fly out from Greene. Rowe allowed just one hit and a walk over the final 2.2 innings to earn the win in his first appearance since Feb. 27.

Andres Gracia (0-3) held GSU scoreless over his first three innings out of the bullpen before being lifted without recording an out in the eighth inning. Gracia hit Ben Morgan to lead off the inning and allowed a double to Chase Griffin before Arthur Strauss intentionally walked T.D. Davis. All three runners scored without a hit to hand Gracia his third loss of the season.

Eagle starter Josh Stevenson threw his second-straight five inning start and held the Bulldogs to two runs on four hits. Stevenson worked around three walks and left with the lead after setting down the side in order in the fifth inning.

Samford started the scoring with a single run in the third inning. After Stevenson struck out Drew McWhorter to start the inning, Frankie Navarrete doubled down the left field line and scored a batter later on a single by Zeth Stone.

Georgia Southern responded with three runs in the fourth inning. Chase Griffin and Davis led off the inning with back-to-back singles before Robbie Dodds grounded out to score the first run. Arthur Owens doubled to plate the second run, and Brent Pugh recorded a two-out single to score Owens.

The Bulldogs got a run back in the bottom half of the fourth. Christaan Durdaller walked to lead off the frame and scored on a two-out error by the third baseman Pugh.

Baseball remains on the road in the mid week before returning home to host Davidson in a three-game set starting on Friday. The Eagles will wrap up a five-game road swing at Georgia Tech Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.