Josh Lairsey started off the current eight-game homestand picking up a win thanks to a solid pitching performance. It was only fitting the senior left-hander did exactly that again on Senior Day to wrap up the stretch at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Lairsey pitched seven shutout innings as Georgia Southern completed a Southern Conference sweep of Davidson, 2-0 Sunday at J.I. Clements Stadium.
With the victory, the Eagles (30-22, 11-10 SoCon) won their 10th straight. In the eight years that Rodney Hennon has been head coach, the Eagles have won at least 30 games each season. The shutout was the first by Georgia Southern since a 4-0 win over UNC Greensboro on April 21, 2006.
In the first inning, leadoff hitter Zach Kayne extended his hitting streak to 12 games when he took Lairsey’s pitch down the left field line for a double. However Lairsey, one of eight seniors honored in a pre-game ceremony, was able to work out of the jam recording two strikeouts and stranding two runners on base. That would be the only extra-base hit Lairsey would allow.
With his pitch count on the rise after two innings, Lairsey was able to work around a bunt single in the third and still managed to throw just seven pitches in the inning. During their half, the Eagles gave him a lead thanks to Jeremy Beckham’s speed.
The junior second baseman punched a single through the right side to start the inning. He stole second and third during senior Mike Economos’ at-bat, his league-leading 26th and 27th steal. Beckham scored on Economos’ groundout for a 1-0 lead. His 27th stolen base moved him into a tie with Rocky Baker for 10th place among the GSU season leaders.
Griffin Benedict, making his first start in 10 days, hit a towering home run to the right field gap with two outs in the fourth inning. His second homer of the year put the Eagles ahead 2-0.
Davidson (17-29, 6-15) threatened in the sixth when Alden Crissey and Rob Wilson hit consecutive one-out singles to put runners on the corners. Lairsey retired Blake Osborn and Pat Brady end the inning. In the seventh Davidson again used back-to-back singles to put two runners on with two down, but Lairsey retired Matt Webb on a shallow fly ball.
Kyle Kamppi pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, then senior A.J. Battisto struck out the side in the ninth to earn his eighth save of the year.
“It wasn’t the best performance I had, but with the defense behind me I was able to make some pitches to get out of a jam. I struggled with my curveball today but had a change up to pick up that part of the game,” said Lairsey. “Given the circumstances today it was a very emotional type of win, giving my fellow seniors and myself a good ending to our last weekend home game. It’s always big to win in this conference. You must be prepared to come out and play every day. The road doesn’t get any easier with The Citadel coming up. We’ll go back to work on Tuesday and continue to keep playing hard.”
Lairsey, who went 27 appearances before finally recording a win against Georgia State on April 24, won his second straight decision. The senior lefty (2-1) gave up one double and scattered six singles as only two Wildcats made it past second base. He walked two and struck out five.
Beckham had two of the Eagles’ six hits and scored a run. Chris Shehan extended his hitting streak to 13 games thanks to a second inning double. Shehan’s double was his 19th this season, moving him into a share of the team lead. Jeremiah Parker walked to snap his 16-game hit streak.
Chris Kennedy (1-2) allowed just two runs on six hits in 6.2 innings. He walked two and struck out one. Kayne and Chase FitzPatrick had two hits apiece.
The Eagles travel to The Citadel for a three-game set starting Friday with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m.