Georgia Southern baseball coach Rodney Hennon is never afraid to lay out a tough schedule for his teams. That has shown early this spring as the Eagles began 5-5, with four of their losses coming against ranked opponents.
The Eagles made the short drive up to Athens on a soggy Tuesday night to take on Georgia - which was ranked fourth in the nation. That’s where the winless streak against ranked teams came to an end as Georgia Southern righty Tyler Owens tossed 6 ⅔ innings of brilliant three-hit, one-run ball to lead the Eagles to a 6-3 victory.
“It was a good win,” Hennon said. “Tyler Owens pitched a great one for us and then Hayden Harris came in and got the job done.”
Owens cruised through six scoreless innings before allowing a walk and a one-out single in the seventh. Owens got the second out on a sacrifice fly by Cole Tate before being lifted for a much-deserved rest of the night off.
Hayden Harris slammed the door on UGA in the seventh and then worked a scoreless ninth. He surrendered a leadoff double in the ninth and gave up RBI singles to Tate and Chaney Rogers, but mowed down Mason Meadows on a high fastball to wrap up the win for the Eagles.
Georgia Southern jumped on top of the Bulldogs and starting pitcher Garrett Brown in the fourth inning.
Austin Thompson singled with one out and came around to score on a double by Christian Avant. Jason Swan traded places with Avant as he launched an RBI double of his own. Swan came around to score one batter later on a fielding error to make it 3-0.
Parker Biederer made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Avant capped his big night at the plate with a two-run single in the seventh.
“We had a lot of guys contribute offensively for us,” Hennon said. “I thought the guys played loose and played good baseball.”
Tuesday’s game was the first of a season-long three-game series set to be played in three different ballparks. The teams are scheduled to play in North Augusta tonight and the Bulldogs will pay a visit to J.I. Clements Stadium March 11.