By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Georgia Southern gets a huge win, blows away UNCG
Placeholder Image
    Believe it or not, the wind wasn’t blowing out of J.I. Clements Stadium in the first inning Friday night.
    But that didn’t stop Georgia Southern from launching three balls out of the park during the opening frame, providing a comfortable cushion for starter Kyle Kamppi, who was unshakeable on the mound as the Eagles cruised to a 14-2 Southern Conference series-opening win over UNC Greensboro.
    The Georgia Southern bats produced plenty of support for Kamppi, who turned in the best performance of his career, tossing seven shutout innings and lasting eight – his longest outing at GSU and the longest by an Eagle this year. Kamppi (5-3), a converted closer, allowed just one run on four hits and struck out six during his first-career Friday night start.
    “He was really attacking the hitters, which is what coach has been preaching to our whole staff,” said Eagle left fielder Chris Shehan, who started the first-inning home run parade by bouncing a three-run shot off a pine tree in right with no outs.
Griffin Benedict followed with a solo homer over the trees in right, and one batter later A.J. Wirnsberger joined the party with a solo bomb to make it 5-1.
 Georgia Southern (29-20, 13-9) added five more runs in the second on Ty Wright’s RBI double, a Shehan run-scoring single and Wirnsberger’s second home run in as many at-bats – a two-out, three-run shot to left to chase starter Rob Gilliam and put the Eagles on top 10-1. It was Wirnsberger’s fourth-career two-home run game and third this season.
    “As hard as he was throwing it tonight, if we made contact it was going to go out,” said Wirnsberger, who leads GSU with 19 homers this season. “It was a big win, and we’ve just got to keep it up throughout the weekend.”
    Gilliam was charged with the loss, allowing 10 earned runs and striking out five in 1 2/3 innings.
    The Eagles out-hit UNCG (30-21, 14-8) 13-5 led by right fielder Phillip Porter, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Wright added two doubles while Shehan had two hits and five RBIs. GSU also turned one double play and played error free.
    “I’ve got to give credit to my defense – they were great all night,” Kamppi said. “I just stayed aggressive and worked ahead.”
    The Eagles added three runs in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk to Porter, a run-scoring wild pitch and Shehan’s RBI groundout, which made it 14-1.
    Junior right-hander Drew Murray (7-1, 7.28) will start for the Eagles today against junior right-hander Greg Martin (6-2, 3.49). First pitch is 6 p.m.
Notes: Heading into the ninth, the GSU had surrendered just four hits, which was on track to tie a season-low until UNCG’s Ricky Orton led of the ninth with his 21st career home run and 15th this season. … There was a brief delay in the bottom of the seventh when a Phillip Porter foul ball shattered a light bulb on the right-field line, raining glass on the field below. … Wirnsberger (19) and Shehan (18) have the most home runs by an Eagle since Tommy Peterman hit a nation-high 26 in 1996.

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.