GSU drops second consecutive SoCon series

Colin Ritsick

A ninth-inning comeback in game three of this weekend’s series against Appalachian State University on the road saved Georgia Southern University’s baseball team from being swept in this Southern Conference rivalry.

The Eagles (20-11, 10-5 SoCon) lost their second conference series in a row by dropping the opener on Friday by a score of 9-5 and were shutout for the second time this season, losing 2-0 on Saturday. GSU posted three runs in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday to avoid the series sweep and beat the Mountaineers (17-10, 8-6 SoCon) by a score of 8-7.

GSU has now lost four of its last six games and has fallen into second place in the SoCon. Elon University holds the top spot with a conference record of 12-6. College of Charleston, the Mountaineers and Western Carolina University all sit right behind GSU.

The bats of App. State dominated Friday’s game. The Mountaineers tallied 15 hits on sophomore pitcher Sam Howard (5-3) and seven earned runs in Howard’s four innings of work. Senior pitcher Drew Johnson pitched three innings in relief starting in the sixth inning. Johnson did not allow a run and let up only four hits.

Senior infielder T.D. Davis led the Eagles offensively going two for three from the plate with one RBI and one run scored as well as a walk.

Saturday’s game belonged to Mountaineer junior pitcher Sam Agnew-Wieland. The Georgia-native and transfer from Middle Georgia College shut the Eagles down in a two-hit, complete game shutout. The only other time GSU has been shut out this year was against Kennesaw State University on March 6 by a score of 5-0.

Agnew-Wieland’s impressive day on the mound overshadowed the excellent performance from the Eagles freshman pitcher Jason Richman. The lefty allowed only one earned run throughout the 6.2 innings he pitched. Richman gave his team an opportunity to win by holding the ASU to only two runs, but the offense just couldn’t make it happen on Saturday.

Sunday looked like it was going to result with the Eagles’ getting swept for the first time this year. Heading into the ninth inning, GSU was down by a score of 8-5 and the Mountaineers were getting excited. The Eagles had been hitting the ball consistently all day long, but it still seemed as if defeat was inevitable until a three-run inning that started with Davis singling up the middle was just enough for the Eagles to escape with a win.

Junior outfielder Robbie Dodds followed Davis’ lead and singled to right field, moving Davis to third. Junior designated hitter Arthur Owens was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sophomore Zac Lenns was the equalizer and tied the game up at seven runs apiece with a two-RBI single to center field. Senior Scooter Williams got to play the hero on Sunday with his RBI double to right field that scored the winning run.

Roughly half of the season is left and the Eagles control their own destiny as the remainder of the schedule includes a three-game series against WCU in two weekends, a three-game series against Elon in three weekends and a three-game series against CofC at the very end of the year in May.

GSU will play next at Charleston Southern University today at 3 p.m.