Eagles use insane 6th inning to salvage game against No. 9 Bulldogs

McClain Baxley

The Georgia Southern baseball team was able to earn a much-needed 10-7 victory against the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs to cap a three game series after falling to the Bulldogs 4-2 earlier Saturday afternoon.

Game two—UGA wins 4-2

In the blink of an eye, the visitors shot out to a two run lead in the second inning off of freshman LHP Braden Hays. GS cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third inning with freshman third baseman flying out to centerfield, scoring sophomore centerfielder Nolan Tressler.

Mason Meadows squandered all built momentum with a deep solo homerun off of Hays.

The Eagles continued to put runners on base, but could not plate them. At the end of the game, GS had left 13 runners on base. Not ideal for Rodney Hennon’s squad, but thanks to solid outings from Hays and the bullpen, the Eagles were able to keep the Bulldogs at bay.

“Game one I thought we played good baseball and played good defense,” Hennon said. “We got pretty good pitching.”

The problem for GS continued to be the failure to bring their runners home as the team went 1-21 with RISP, an abysmal showcase for the home team.

The two teams traded runs to end a rather quick game in game two, giving UGA the series win.

“Sometimes when you’re struggling to score, they don’t always fall for you,” Hennon said. “That was the case in the first game.”

Game three—GS wins 10-7

The series finale featured an inning that may never be recreated again.

Facing a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning with one out, junior Matt Anderson stepped up to the plate with one out. UGA’s third pitcher of the game, Christian Ryder, hit Anderson for Anderson’s second HBP of the game.

10 pitches later, Anderson was on third, Tressler was on second and Thompson was on first, all by wild pitches and a walk.

With one out and bases loaded, junior second baseman Steven Curry took his 52nd career HBP to score Anderson, making it a 6-4 game.

“Some people say I stand on the plate, but I don’t think I do,” Curry said. “I kind of dive into the pitch too. I really don’t know [why I get hit so much] though.”

Jack Gowen walked freshman third baseman Blake Evans to make it a one-run game. Another UGA pitching change went for naught as Adam Goodman hit sophomore rightfielder Noah Searcy, tying the game at six.

{{tncms-inline account=”Captain” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">TIE GAME AS SEARCY GETS HIT FOLKSSix batters hit by pitch this game, six walks, six strikeouts. Bases loaded, one out, Davis at the plate.<a href="https://twitter.com/GeorgeAnneSport?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GeorgeAnneSport</a></p>— Captain (@McclainBaxley) <a href="https://twitter.com/McclainBaxley/status/1102037361712644098?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 3, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/McclainBaxley/status/1102037361712644098″ type=”twitter”}}

Goodman walked senior leftfielder Tyler Martin to give the Eagles their first lead of the weekend, but the damage wasn’t over yet.

Sophomore first baseman Jason Swan went in to pinch hit and reached on an error at third base to bring three more runs home.

A popfly from Anderson ended the bizarre inning.

“It was seven runs with no hits and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that before,” Curry said. “I know their bullpen was really wild today so everyone really bought in with that approach. We got on base, eventually they made some mistakes and we scored.”

The seven run-sixth inning was what GS and relief pitcher sophomore Hayden Harris needed to give the Eagles their first win of the series.

“They helped us a little bit, but we’ll take it,” Hennon said of the sixth inning. “It was definitely a strange inning.”

Harris went two and two-thirds innings with one hit and two strikeouts to earn his first save of the season.

“You have to go out get one [win] anyway you can,” Harris said. “We grinded out seven runs without a hit, made them work. I knew if I was coming in, I was just going to have to go to work and find a way to get it done.”

GS ended a 10 run game with just four hits and two errors in a wild, momentum boosting victory over an top-ranked, in-state program. As far as winning another game against a ranked SEC team, Curry and the team hopes to use the win to carry them into the last stretch of non-conference play.

“Honestly, I’m not afraid of anybody, me personally,” Harris said. “I don’t think we should be afraid of anybody because we’re a good baseball team. Those guys they’re good, but I feel like it’s a little bit of SEC hype.”

At 4-6 the Eagles will have another chance to get win against an in-state team as Mercer comes to J.I. Clements Stadium Wednesday at 6 p.m.

“It’s huge, especially going into this week with Mercer,” Curry said. “Hopefully we can keep it up with these instate rivals. That’s our goal—to dominate the state.”

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Daily Managing Editor, gasports@georgiasouthern.edu