CHARLESTON, S.C. — Thirteen hits, including two from five different hitters, helped Georgia Southern bounce back from a one-run outing and even the Southern Conference series with The Citadel at a game apiece. Justin Hess added the fourth-straight quality start from the pitching staff and earned the win in a 5-2 victory on Saturday.
The Eagles got multi-hit games from Eric Phillips, Scooter Williams, T.D. Davis, Zac Lenns and Brent Pugh. With a pair of doubles on the day, Phillips moved into a tie for third place in GSU's career hit column with former major league catcher Todd Greene, while both Lenns and Pugh tallied their second two-hit game of the
Hess (3-2) was wild early and allowed a first inning run but settled down to keep The Citadel (18-25, 8-12) off the scoreboard and allowed Georgia Southern (24-20, 11-9) to rally. The junior right-hander gave up seven hits and just one walk in six innings to go along with seven strikeouts in what continues to be a fine April for him. Hess gave up two hits in both the first and second frames but scattered single hits in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
The Citadel jumped ahead 1-0 behind a sacrifice bunt and a pair of hits. A lead off double from Nick Orvin came around to score on a RBI single from Justin Mackert. The Bulldogs threatened for more runs after Mackert reached third base on a pair of wild pitches, but Hess struck out Bo Thompson to end the frame.
The Bulldogs received back-to-back singles in the second inning, but Hess got a pair of ground balls to get out of the jam. Kevin Connell coaxed a pair of double plays to keep the Eagles' offense at bay early in the game, but Georgia Southern broke through for two runs in the
The Eagles tallied four hits to take their first lead in the series, 2-1, and had a third run thrown out at the plate to end the frame. A one-out single up the middle off the bat of Davis made a lead off single from Chase Griffin count. A two-out single from
Lenns put runners on the corners and a failed pick off attempt at first base allowed Davis to score.
Connell (1-4) lasted just four innings and gave up one earned run on seven hits and two walks. The bullpen started off strong but gave up three runs in the final five innings. Both Zach Sherrill and T.J. Clarkson allowed a run in the game and both gave up three hits each.
The Eagles picked up an insurance run in the sixth inning on a bunt from Lenns and stretched their lead to four runs with two more runs in the eighth. A second bunt, this time from Stryker Brown,
drove in an error in Ben Morgan. Phillips added his second double in as many at-bats to score Lenns.
Jarret Leverett tossed the final three innings for his fourth save of the year. Leverett (S, 4) allowed one hit, a home run to Bo Thompson, but limited the damage to just one run with no walks. The senior left-hander struck out a pair of batters in three innings and retired the side in order in the ninth inning.
The rubber match of the three-game SoCon series gets underway Sunday at 1 p.m. at Joe Riley Park.