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Eagles sweep opening series with Ball State
GS baseball
Georgia Southern's Christian Avant, left, celebrates with teammate Mason McWhorter after scoring to tie the game in the seventh inning against Ball State at J.I. Clements Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 15. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT

The Georgia Southern baseball team earned a season-opening sweep over Ball State on Sunday, mostly due to solid play over the first three games while receiving an assist from Mother Nature to wrap things up.

Georgia Southern cruised to a 6-0 lead on opening night before rallying late for a 7-4 victory in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at J.I. Clements Stadium. The night end of the twin bill turned into a laugher early as the Eagles sent 20 batters to the plate and scored 15 runs in the first inning en route to a 16-0 win.

Sunday’s series finale was initially scheduled for 12 p.m., but it was announced on Saturday that the first pitch was being moved up to 11 a.m. in an attempt to avoid approaching weather issues. But the rain fell early and often Sunday morning, forcing a cancelation before the lineups had been exchanged.

The Georgia Southern offense was quiet for much of the weekend, but roared to life once in each game.

The Eagles nursed a 1-0 lead into the eighth inning of Friday’s game before Jason Swan broke the game open with a three-run double and Jarrett Brown capped off the win with a two-run blast.

Early Saturday afternoon, the Eagles found themselves in a 4-0 hole thanks to some timely two-out hitting by the Cardinals. Mason McWhorter singled home a run in the sixth before the rest of the Eagle lineup unloaded in the seventh.

Christian Avant cut into the deficit with an RBI double, but Ball State kept it at 4-2 by cutting down an Eagle runner at the plate. The Cardinals nearly escaped without further damage, but a two-out throwing error allowed two runs to score and tie the game up. Mitchell Golden scored on a wild pitch to give the Eagles the lead and Blake Evans ripped a two-run single to put Georgia Southern in front for good.

The Eagles were relentless in the third game as they chased Ball State starter Mike Pachmayer before the right-hander could record an out. Steven Curry led off the game with a single. He made the first out of the inning on his second trip to the plate, but made it worthwhile as a sacrifice fly made it 7-0. Curry strode to the plate for a third time in the inning and laced another single, plating the 15th run of the frame.

Georgia Southern fell just one run short of the school record for runs in an inning, set in a 16-run outburst against the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2007.

There is no shortage of Eagle players enjoying a great statistical start to their 2020 season.

Mitchell Golden missed all of last season due to injury, but hasn’t missed a beat at the plate as he is 6-for-10 so far. Swan has driven in a team-high five runs, six different players have an on base percentage of at least .385 and the team is batting .406 as a whole.

On the mound, Jordan Jackson, David Johnson and Jake Martin all notched wins. Of the 13 players to throw a pitch for the Eagles over the weekend, only two allowed any runs and none made more than one appearance.

Georgia Southern jumps back into action and will look to keep the momentum going when it hosts No. 19 Georgia Tech Tuesday night at 6 p.m. The Eagles will hit the road for the first time next weekend as they head to Greenville, N.C. for a three-game series against No. 21 East Carolina.