Georgia Southern got a win on Friday by hitting Appalachian State’s bullpen.
The Mountaineers made sure that didn’t happen again.
With the tying run on third base, ASU relief pitcher Taylor Thurber struck out pinch hitter Robbie Dodds looking on a full count to earn the save and a 3-2 Appalachian State win to even the series on Saturday at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Starter Tyler Moore did his job for Appalachian State (6-15, 1-1 Southern Conference), pitching seven full and allowing two runs on five hits.
Georgia Southern (18-6, 2-3 Southern Conference) got the leadoff runner on board in the seventh and the ninth inning, and each time advanced him to second with a sacrifice bunt, but ASU’s pitching came through when it counted.
“Hats off to App State. They played better than we did today,” GSU coach Rodney Hennon said. “We did a good job with the short game, we executed, we gave ourselves an opportunity, and we didn’t get the hit. That’s the way baseball is sometimes.”
Moore finished his day by striking out Chase Griffin to end the seventh, with runners on the corners after Moore hit Aaron Mizell with a pitch for the second time of the game. Kody Adams had reached with a bunt single, moved to second on Dalton Busby’s sacrifice and taken third on a groundout, but Moore got Griffin swinging.
“He just pitched a very good ballgame for them, gave them a strong effort,” Hennon said about Moore. “We had opportunities, we just failed to get the big hit.”
Ben Morgan (1-for-3, 2 RBIs) came up with runners on first and second with one out in the sixth, but Moore coaxed a double play to get out of trouble.
ASU reliever Dallas DeVrieze set GSU down in order in the eighth, including a pair of strikeouts.
Morgan reached on an error to start the ninth, took second on a Kody Adams sacrifice and stole third with two outs, but Thurber ended the threat with a flyout and the Dodds strikeout.
Morgan tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out double that drove in Garren Palmer and Ryan Cleveland.
Georgia Southern came into the game leading the nation with 32 home runs, but it was Appalachian doing all its damage with the long ball. The Mountaineers had hit just nine homers on the season coming in, but first baseman Alex Leach hit his first long ball of the season with a solo shot in the third, and shortstop Dillon Dobson hit a two-run bomb in the fourth.
GSU starter Josh Wirsu (4-2) took the loss, going 5.1 innings and allowing five hits.
Relievers Ryan Frederick, Eric Alonzo, Tripp Sheppard and Jason Richman combined to throw 3.2 innings. They combined for two scattered hits and seven strikeouts.
“We pitched fairly well, we made a few mistakes, they hit a couple home runs, and that’s the difference in the ballgame,” Hennon said.
The series will be decided today in a game pushed back by weather. Originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m., the game will be pushed back an hour.
Will Middour will get the start, with a 12:30 p.m., first pitch.
NOTES: Busby was back in the lineup Saturday after taking Friday off with a sore throwing arm. … Richmond pitched in his second game in a row and 17th this season. … The Eagles fell to 56-19 all-time against the Mountaineers. … GSU’s next win will be the 600th in Hennon’s career. … Announced attendance was 1,085.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.