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GSU knocked out of tourney
Chris Shehan GSU MBaseball
Georgia Southern’s Chris Shehan takes a cut against UNC-Greensboro in Friday’s loss in the Southern Conference Tournament Charleston, S.C. The Eagles’ season came to an end at the hands of the Spartans. - photo by TODD DREXLER/SoCon Photos
    CHARLESTON, S.C. — The key to winning the Southern Conference tournament is no secret.
    More often than not, it comes down to pitching, and from the get-go, Georgia Southern knew it’d have to shore up the shakiest part of its game to have a chance at bringing home the title.
    But for the second-straight night, opponents battered the Eagle bullpen with Friday’s damage coming at the hands of UNC Greensboro. The Spartans rallied for seven runs in the seventh to beat GSU 12-9 and knock Georgia Southern out of the tournament for the second consecutive year.
    It was the first time in five tries this season Greensboro topped the Eagles, who ended their season at 33-25.
    “The biggest thing is we did not pitch as well as we needed to,” an emotional GSU coach Rodney Hennon said. “We got away with it a little bit in the opening-round game with Greensboro, but it came back to bite us in the last two ballgames.
    “I’m proud of our kids. They battled all year long and today was no exception. You’ve got to tip your hat to Greensboro.”
    Ty Wright tied the game at 5-5 with a leadoff home run in the top of the seventh, but the Spartans (33-26) countered by hammering GSU’s bullpen. The assault started with Tim Carrier’s leadoff home run to left.
    Georgia Southern later swapped reliever Aaron Eubanks in favor of Tony Chisman, but Greensboro added two more runs when Matt Gaski’s two-out, two run single stretched the UNCG lead to 8-5.
    The Spartans weren’t done.
    UNCG designated hitter Greg Feltes kept his team rolling with a grand slam — his second in two days — off Burt Barto to make it 12-5.
    “The SoCon is really a hitter’s conference, and a lot of times the bullpen is really where you can jump on a team,” Feltes said. “We worked the counts and jumped on (starting pitcher Andy Moye). Once we got into the pen, we knew that’s where we could really get them.”
    The Eagles got two runs back in the top of the eighth on Wright’s RBI single and David Richardson’s run-scoring fielder’s choice. GSU’s ninth-inning rally fell short after the Eagles plated two runs on Brian Pierce’s RBI groundout and Jeremy Beckham’s run-scoring single to center.
    “Having beaten them four times, I know that gave them a little more fuel and made them want to beat us that much more today,” Beckham said.
    Wright led the Eagles with three hits, while Griffin Benedict, Jeremiah Parker, A.J. Wirnsberger, Richardson and Beckham added two hits each.        Eubanks took the loss, giving up two earned runs over three innings. Chisman was charged with four earned runs in1⁄3 of an inning, and Moye gave up five earned runs in 31⁄3. Moye walked five and struck out four.
    The Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on Chris Shehan’s two-run single and Parker’s RBI base hit.
    Moye didn’t allow a hit while cruising through the first two innings, but the Spartans got to the redshirt freshman in the third with Feltes’ two-out, two-run single to left to pull UNCG within a run at 3-2.
    The Spartans knotted the game the following inning on catcher Adam Deleo’s second home run of the year, a solo shot to left, and took a 5-3 lead on Gaski’s two-run single.
    Eagles pulled within a run in the top of the sixth when Pierce’s sacrifice fly brought home Benedict, who led off with a single. GSU didn’t do any more damage in the frame, despite having the bases loaded with no outs.

Shaking up the lineup
    The Eagles had some changes in their lineup stemming from the absence of right fielder Philip Porter, who was out after being hit by a pitch in the face Thursday night. Porter suffered swelling, but should be okay.
    Changes included moving Wright from designated hitter to right field, Benedict from catcher to designated hitter, Parker from first to catcher and Will Southwell to first.

Who’s out
    Third-seeded Furman eliminated No. 6 seed Appalachian State in the early game Saturday, beating the Mountaineers 13-12 on a walk-off fielder’s choice with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

On deck
    The Paladins advance to face second-seeded College of Charleston today at 10 a.m. Furman needs to beat the Cougars twice Saturday to advance to Sunday’s championship, while Charleston needs just one win to earn a spot in the title game.
    Greensboro moves on to meet top-seeded Elon and will have to win twice to go to the championship game.

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