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GSU bats struggle in second straight SoCon defeat

ELON, N.C. — A four-run sixth inning and continued great starting pitching helped Elon pick up their second win in the series over the Georgia Southern Baseball team with a 7-2 victory. The Eagles' lead off batter reached in seven of the nine innings but scored only once after a great start from the Phoenix's Dylan Clark.

Clark (4-1) posted a career-high eight punch outs and held Georgia Southern (7-8, 0-2) to one run on seven hits over the first seven frames. David Whitehead came on in relief in the eighth inning after Stryker Brown led off with a double and retired three in a row to get out of the jam. He walked three in the ninth inning but closed out the final two frames without allowing a hit.

The Eagles opened the final inning with back-to-back walks by Brent Pugh and Casey Kicklighter before a ground out moved both runners into scoring position. Garren Palmer (Dalton, Ga.) loaded the bases, and Tyler Avera (Baxley, Ga.) drove in a run with a fielder's choice before Whitehead struck out Brown to end the frame.

Jarret Leverett (1-1), making his first start of the season, kept GSU within reach in the early going but was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits in four innings. Leverett did not walk anyone and struck out two batters in 68 pitches.

Georgia Southern opened the game with a two-out home run off the bat of Eric Phillips in the first inning, but Elon tied the contest immediately in the bottom frame. A fielder's choice erased a lead off single by Sebastian Gomez but came around to score on a two-RBI double from Garrett Koster. Alex Swim moved Niko Fraser into scoring position prior to the double with an infield single.

The Phoenix took a quick 3-1 lead after scoring two more runs in the third inning. Ryan Kinsella plated both runs on a single to right field. Both runners moved into scoring position with stolen bases after Elon started the inning with a hit by pitch and a single.

The Eagles remained down just two runs going into the sixth inning, but the Phoenix batted around in the frame to score four runs on three hits and a pair of bases loaded walks. Niko Fraser plated a pair of runs with a one-out double into the gap in right center field.

The three-game series concludes tomorrow with Justin Hess (0-0, 7.15) on the mound for the finale against Elon. He will try and help Georgia Southern salvage a game when he squares off with Spencer Medick (0-0, 2.08) at 1 p.m.