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Diamond Eagles slaughter Spartans
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    Brian Pierce (Roswell/Roswell) record a career-high four hits for the second straight game as Georgia Southern defeated USC Upstate 17-8 Wednesday (March 12) at J.I. Clements Stadium. The Eagles (8-6 overall) won for the seventh time in the last nine games.
    Pierce finished the game 4-for-4 with a career-high six RBI. In the two-game sweep, Pierce was 8-for-8 with two runs and six RBI. The junior shortstop’s batting average has jumped from .200 to .404 over the past eight days. His eight consecutive base hits are the most since Chris Shehan (Strasburg, PA/Lampeter-Strasburg) had seven consecutive during the 2006 season.
    The Spartans (5-10) struck first. With one down USCU got back-to-back singles then Phillip Morgan lined a double to centerfield. A.J. Clark scored on the play but Matt Miller’s (Canton/Woodstock) throw to Pierce then relay to catcher Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius) nailed Andrew Runion at the plate. Starter Charlie Strohecker (Alpharetta/Milton) got a groundout to get out of the inning.
    Much like the previous night’s game when they scored six runs without recording an out in the seventh inning, the Eagles accomplished the same feat in the first inning.
    Leadoff hitter Miller worked the count full during his first at-bat, but fouled a pitch off his leg and had to leave. Jonathan King (Athens, TN/McMinn County) entered as a pinch-hitter and walked. Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) hit his first home run of the year for a 2-0 lead. Shehan singled, stole second and scored on Kyle Blackburn’s (Marietta/Walton) single.
    A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bear Bryant) and Jeremiah Parker (Carrollton/Carrollton) walked to load the bases. Benedict walked to bring home another run and chase starter Robert Stegbauer. Pierce lined a 2-run single as the first eight batters reached safely. Two batters later King added a sacrifice fly to cap the 7-run frame.
    The Eagles added four more runs in the second. Parker hit a RBI single, Pierce added a 2-run single then King hit another sac fly for an 11-1 lead.
    Ty Wright (Montrose/West Laurens) hit a 2-run homer in the third, a shot that easily cleared the scoreboard in left field. It was his first career home run as an Eagle. The Spartans scored twice in the fourth then hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth, making it 13-6.
    GS plated four more runs in the sixth to put the game away. Shehan singled and eventually scored on a throwing error by pitcher Brian Dempsey. Pierce recorded his eighth straight base hit, a 2-run single, then pinch hitter Kevin Bowles (Statesboro/Statesboro) hit a sacrifice fly — his second career RBI.
    USC Upstate scored a run in the eighth and ninth inning for the final margin. Georgia Southern held a 14-11 edge in hits and also took advantage of three errors and 12 walks issued by the Spartans.
    Shehan also finished 4-for-4 while matching his career-high of four runs scored. Wright finished the game with two hits, two runs and two RBI. Wirnsberger and Parker scored three runs each (both matching a personal-high) and Benedict scored twice.
    Strohecker (1-0), on a pitch count, picked up his first win of the year allowing one run on three hits in three innings. Tony Chisman (Conyers/Salem), one of five pitchers on the day for the Eagles, threw two scoreless innings.
    Stegbauer (0-2) was charged for seven runs on three hits and four walks, all without recording an out. Runion had three hits, two runs scored, two RBI and pitched two scoreless innings.
    Georgia Southern begins a four-game homestand against Columbia, starting Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.