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Three-run ninth lifts Diamond Eagles over Towson
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    Deep underneath the dog pile just to the right of home plate, Will Southwell and Phillip Porter gasped for air as their Georgia Southern teammates jumped in one after another in celebration of their come-from-behind win over Towson Friday night at J.I. Clements Stadium.
    The Eagle bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead, setting the stage for Porter to cap a career day by sending the payoff pitch between Towson’s first and second baseman for a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The clutch hit brought home pinch hitter Will Southwell, who tied the game two batters earlier with a two-run double down the right-field line.
    “It was pretty intense,” Southwell said of the post-game pileup. “We just did a good job as a team of picking each other up all night.”
    The three-run ninth inning lifted Georgia Southern to a 13-12 win, its second victory this year. The Eagles (2-4) entered the ninth down 12-10 before Southwell knotted the game with a one-out, two-run double to score Griffin Benedict, who was hit by a pitch, and Jonathan King, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
    After another out, Porter followed with his career-high fifth hit, highlighting his 5-for-6 outing in his first start of the season. He finished with three RBIs, a career-best two doubles and two runs scored.
    “I was lucky I got some pretty good pitches to hit with the guys in front of me,” Porter said. “We needed a good team win like this for us to build off of.”
    With the game knotted at 10, the Tigers (2-2) went ahead 12-10 in the top of the ninth on Matt Collins’ two-run homer run to left off GSU closer Kyle Kamppi. Kamppi (1-1) earned the win despite allowing two earned runs on two hits in 1.2 innings.
    A red-hot Porter broke a 7-7 tie in the sixth with his fourth consecutive hit of the night, a one-out RBI single to bring home Matt Miller, who reached on his team-leading fifth double. Kyle Blackburn made it 10-7 two batters later, drilling a double to left center to score Porter and Chris Shehan, who was intentionally walked.
    But the Tigers answered against GSU’s bullpen, making it a one-run game in the seventh with Greg Furmanek’s two-out, two-run home run off true freshman reliever Michael Hester. They tied the score at 10 the following inning Gary Helmick’s solo shot to left off redshirt freshman Ryan Steidl.
    Trailing 7-2, Georgia Southern rallied for five runs in the fifth to knot the game on Benedict’s two-out, two-run double over the centerfielder’s head. Earlier in the inning, the Eagles chased Tiger starter Josh Squatrito after Miller reached on a one-out walk and came home on Porter’s RBI double to center. Shehan did Squatrito in with a two-run shot over the fence in left center, his second home run of the year, to pull GSU within two at 7-5.
    Senior left hander Aaron Eubanks (0-1) will take the mound for Georgia Southern in today’s 2:30 p.m. game, and redshirt freshman Andy Moye (1-0) will start the series finale Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Sophomore right hander Zach Umberger and junior righty Nate Curd will start the final two games for the Tigers.
Notes: Prior to Friday, Georgia Southern was 0-4 in games in which its opponent scored first. The Eagles fell in a 1-0 hole to Towson in the first inning Friday… The Eagles had trouble getting off the field with two out as 10 of Towson’s 12 runs were scored with two men out…A.J. Wirnsberger, Jeremiah Parker, Benedict and Blackburn had two hits each…GSU’s top four batters combined nine hits, seven RBIs and eight runs scored…Eagle starter Drew Murray allowed seven earned runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

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