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Georgia Southern tops No. 1 Florida


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Georgia Southern Eagles threw everything they had at the number one team in the nation.

It worked.

Three GSU pitchers locked the Florida Gators down to the tune of a 7-0 win Tuesday in McKethan Stadium.

Florida hadn’t lost a home game since No. 4 Arkansas won in Gainesville on April 21, 2010. Georgia Southern ended the streak at 24 games.

Of course, to the Eagles (8-5), it was just another mid-week game, and the Southern Conference schedule starts Friday at Furman.

"We’ve got to enjoy it tonight," said GSU coach Rodney Hennon. "After that, we’ve got to prepare for Friday night."

The park began to empty of Florida fans with two outs in the top of the seventh, and it wasn’t because the defending SEC champions had the lead. A two-run single by GSU’s Steve Cochrane made it 5-0 Eagles.

Florida (10-2) led off the game with a base hit, but it was all Eagles after that.

Georgia Southern got on the board in the top of the fifth, and worked for every base.

"They had some great arms that they kept running out there," saidGSU coach Rodney Hennon about Florida, which entered the game with a 1.91 ERA, "but we had some great at-bats and we executed the bunting game."

Andy Moye led things off with an infield single, and Ben Morgan beat out a sacrifice attempt for an infield hit of his own.

Scooter Williams laid down a sac bunt to put runners on second and third with one out, and Moye crossed the plate on a passed ball. Shawn Payne singled up the gut to score Morgan and give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.

"We just played hard," Payne said, "We played the game right."

Florida didn’t. The Gators — which committed three errors on the season entering Tuesday - committed four errors, and four GSU runs were unearned.

Georgia Southern tacked on three more runs in the seventh after Morgan led off the inning by reaching on an error. Williams laid down another sacrifice, and Payne singled up the middle again to score Morgan.

Payne took second with a stolen base and third on a groundout by Michael Burruss.

Payne was hung up at third when Eric Phillips attempted a two-out squeeze play, but while the Gators were trying to gun down Payne at third, Phillips took second.

Both runners scored when Steve Cochrane lined a two-run single to left field giving GSU a 5-0 advantage.

The Eagles hung two more unearned runs on the board in the top of the ninth.

The Gators, which struck out only 45 times through 11 games entering the matchup with GSU, went down on strikes 11 times while Chris Beck, Josh Adams and Matt Murray combined to allow only three hits for the fourth Georgia Southern shutout of the season — the most since 2003. The three Eagle pitchers combined to face just three batters over the minimum.

Adams (3-1) got the win on the mound for the Eagles, and Murray picked up his second save of the season.

Florida burned through six pitchers, after Nick Maronade pitched 2.2 innings in his first start since the NCAA super regionals on June 7, 2009.





: Jesse Piccolo and Colt Kinnamon are no longer with the Eagles after violating team rules. … Shawn Payne extended his reached-base streak to 42 consecutive games dating back to 2010. … Announced attendance was 3,401. … The win was the first documented victory by any Georgia Southern athletic program over a consensus, all-Division I No. 1-ranked opponent.


Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.