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Baseball bashes Mavs once again
GS Baseball
Georgia Southern catcher JD Kaiser, center, is mobbed by teammates as he returns to the dugout after an eighth inning home run against UT Arlington during the first game of a double header at J.I. Clements Stadium on Friday, May 20.

The Georgia Southern baseball team moved their schedule up to try and avoid the rain on Saturday, but mother nature had other plans and the Eagles had to postpone game two after bad lightning and rain rolled in with the Eagles up 3-1 in the fourth inning. 

The Eagles rained home runs on U.T. Arlington in the first game of the doubleheader Friday afternoon. The Eagles hit seven home runs in their 18-9 victory which marked the most homers in a game since Georgia Southern set the NCAA record with 14 in 2008 in their 26-8 win against Columbia. 

The Eagles were paced by Noah Ledford with a pair of home runs including a grand slam and a 3-run homer for a total of seven RBI’s. 

“Noah’s grand slam was kind of the hit of the game that kind of gave us some breathing room and opened it up there,” said Eagle coach Rodney Hennon. “I felt like Sam Blancato’s homer was big as they had come back to tie the game as we answered them quickly and got the lead back.  

The Eagles jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Christian Avant hit a solo homer to start the scoring and Jarrett Brown added an RBI single. The Mavericks answered with a run in the second and then tied the game with a Sam Cowell homer in the top of the fifth. 

The Eagles were able to retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth on home runs by Blancato and Kyler Hultgren. Arlington added another run in the top of the sixth, and then the eagles pulled away with nine runs in the bottom of the inning. Georgia Southern sent 15 batters to the plate in the sixth highlighted by Ledford’s grand slam. 

Ledford added another home run in the second game Friday bringing his home run total to 15 and his RBI total to 64 which is the most by an Eagle player since Victor Roache had 84 in 2011. 

“It wasn’t all about me it was definitely a team effort in the first game,” said Ledford. “We executed much better than we did yesterday. We were able to bring in runners which we struggled with in the first game. I am seeing the ball good right now and just have to keep doing it.” 

While the game was pretty much over the final home run was still pretty noteworthy. In his fist collegiate at bat at home former Statesboro High standout J.D. Kaiser ripped the first pitch he saw over the fence in left-center for his first home run as an Eagle. 

“It was a pretty surreal moment,” said Kaiser. “I was sitting in the dugout and coach Hennon and coach beck told me to get ready. Noah Searcy did a great job getting on right before me so I was going to be aggressive as I could be and he just happened to give me a good pitch to hit. I put a good swing on it and then kind of blacked out running the bases and then I looked up and saw it go over the fence. I knew I hit it good, but I didn’t know I hit it that good. The Good Lord was on my side and helped push that one out.” 

The icing on the cake for Kaiser came as his dad, Statesboro football coach Jeff Kaiser, walked into the ball park just before he walked to the plate.  

“When I was coming around third, I happened to look up and I saw him standing there clapping right next to the dugout,” said Kaiser. “I made sure to point to him. He has always been my coach and has helped me through some stuff and I am glad he was there to witness that.” 

The Eagles honored their seniors between games and then fell behind 1-0 in the third and final game which started at 6:30. The Eagles responded with three runs in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Christian Avant and a two-run homer by Ledford. The game will resume at 10:00 a.m. with the Eagles up in the bottom of the third inning. 

Regardless of what happens the Eagles will be the second seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Tournament. There was a possibility of Coastal Carolina catching the Eagles for the No. 2 seed but the Chanticleers lost to South Alabama 15-7 Friday night and are now locked into the third seed.