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Roache hits grand slam, Eagles win

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Georgia Southern Baseball team (12-9, 4-2) escaped Birmingham with a 9-2 win over Samford (15-7, 5-1) at Joe Lee Griffin Field on Sunday, March 20th. The Eagles handed the Bulldogs their first conference loss and put an end to their streak of four-straight losses with Sunday’s win.

Andy Moye (Alpharetta, Ga.) pitched a solid seven innings to earn his second win of the season. The senior captain allowed one earned run on seven hits and struck out five batters with only one walk. Matt Murray (Spring City, Pa.) threw two scoreless innings in relief to close out the game. Murray struck out four Bulldogs and allowed no hits or runs.

Charles Basford was tagged with his first loss of the year and lasted only four innings before being removed for Grant Sides. Basford allowed six runs on seven hits, while Sides allowed three unearned runs in 1.2 innings of work. Three other pitchers threw scoreless innings out of the bullpen but the damage was already done.

Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) led off for the first time in his career, reached twice and drove in a run with a base hit in the fourth inning. Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.), who had been the leadoff hitter, had his 49-game reached-base snapped after going 0-4 in the game.

The Eagles finally got a grand slam of their own in the third inning. Victor Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.) recorded his fourth career grand slam and second of the season to retake the lead, 5-2. Arthur Owens (Fayetteville, Ga.) battled in his second at-bat of the day and dropped a fly ball into left field for a base hit with one out in the inning. Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.), who extended his hit streak to 14 games, was hit by a pitch to move Owens to second base before a walk of Steve Cochrane (Mooresville, N.C.) loaded the bases for Roache.

Phillips put Georgia Southern on the board with a two-out solo shot in the first inning. The Eagles kept the inning going with back-to-back singles from Cochrane and Roache before Basford recorded a strike out to end the inning.

Samford took a 2-1 lead in the second inning after leading off with a double by Brandon Miller and a Kevin Putkonen walk. Gardner Richey pushed a sacrifice bunt past Moye to move both runners into scoring position. A pair of ground balls by Tommy Corbin and Tyler Filliben scored the two runs in the inning.

Georgia Southern added four more runs to extend its lead to 9-2, including three in the sixth inning. Burruss plated Brent Pugh (Atlanta, Ga.) from third base to score a run in the fourth inning. Pugh doubled to lead off the inning and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stryker Brown (Dalton, Ga.), who recorded his first start and first hit of his career. Burruss singled to left center on the next at-bat to score the run.

GSU scored three unearned runs in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach. Brown placed a ball just out of reach of leftfielder Phillip Ervin to start the two-out rally. An error by the third baseman allowed the inning to continue and moved Brown to second base. Owens smacked a single off the pitcher's glove to score, driving in the first run of the inning. Phillips bounced a double off the left field wall to drive in Burruss for the second run and Cochrane sent a base hit into the outfield to plate Owens for the third run of the inning.

Georgia Southern returns home to J.I. Clements Stadium for a single game with Kennesaw State on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before hitting the road for the second-straight weekend. The Eagles will face #21 College of Charleston in a three-game series beginning Friday, March 25th.