Eagles drop three game series to Bulldogs

McClain Baxley

Game 1- GS 9, UGA 22

Opening Day for the Eagles started off really well, but then turned devastating starting in the fifth inning.

Georgia Southern got on the board first and in a big way during the third inning.

Outfielder Tyler Martin singled to right field and a wild throw advanced the redshirt junior to second, scoring infielders Steven Curry and Mitchell Golden.

The Eagles weren’t done with just two runs though.

Next hitter up was first baseman Mason McWhorter. This was Mcwhorter’s first game back since his shoulder surgery over the offseason, but you couldn’t tell as he had a blast over the right field wall for a run homerun.

UGA picked up two runs of their own in the third by way of an infield error.

Both teams continued their hot offense in the fifth, but it was the Bulldogs who really took advantage.

The home team was able to plate six runs in the fifth inning, earning their first lead of the evening.

Unable to stop the ‘Dawgs or create any offense of their own, GS fell into a 17-7 hole by the end of the seventh.

The Eagles would go on to lose the first game of the season 22-9.

Starting RHP Brian Eichhorn went 4.1 innings allowing six hits, five runs and five strikeouts.

Game 2- GS 8, UGA 3

Game 2 of the three game series in Athens began as a duel on the mound between two young pitchers, but the Eagles’ bats finally came alive.

Sophomore pitcher Seth Shuman had his first start of the season after going 8-0 last year and faced freshman Bulldog ace Emerson Hancock.

The home team continued the hot hitting from the night before and quickly plated two runs in the bottom of the first.

It looked like it was going to be another long blowout like Friday, but Shuman collected himself and didn’t allow another run on the afternoon.

Back and forth the pitchers went and it wasn’t until the seventh inning that GS had any sort of offensive hope.

A wild pitch from losing pitcher Will Proctor resulted in a comedy of errors for the Bulldog infield.

With some more impressive hitting from Curry and Golden, the Eagles had a 4-3 lead at the end of the seventh.

In the top of the eighth inning, outfielder Nolan Tressler hit a double advancing infielder Chandler Corley to third and then an error brought him home.

Mason McWhorter hit his second RBI of the young season to score Steven Curry.

A Jason Swan double to right field brought two more runs in to end the scoring for the day.

The Eagles won 8-3 as Shuman improved to 9-0 in his young career and junior relief pitcher Chase Cohen earned his first career save.

{{tncms-inline account=”George-Anne Sports” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">FINAL: GS wins 8-3. Eagles spoil UGA’s undefeated season. Shuman improves to 9-0 in his career and Cohen gets his first career save with 5 strikeouts. Teams will be back on the field tomorrow at 1:00. <a href="https://t.co/ccuUxe0ilb">pic.twitter.com/ccuUxe0ilb</a></p>— George-Anne Sports (@GeorgeAnneSport) <a href="https://twitter.com/GeorgeAnneSport/status/964969266566062082?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 17, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/GeorgeAnneSport/status/964969266566062082″ type=”twitter”}}

“We settled in and played better baseball,” Coach Rodney Hennon said when asked about how the team was able to put Friday night’s loss behind them.

Game 3- GS 3, UGA 4

If Saturday’s game was a pitching duel, then Sunday’s game three was a pitching masterpiece.

The game didn’t begin that way though as freshman RHP David Johnson quickly loaded up the bases.

Masterfully though, the young gun cooled off and threw a strikeout, had a clutch toss home and a pop fly to keep the game scoreless.

This bend but don’t break style of defense was the plan Sunday as UGA left seven players on base in the first six innings. The mentality worked until the seventh inning when freshman Griffin Davis came in for relief.

Davis walked the first batter he faced, but two quick ground outs later and he got too comfortable. Keegan McGovern came up and hit a two run homerun to break the scoreless tie.

GS wouldn’t go down easy.

The eighth inning was a good one for the visitors who were partly assisted by poor pitching.

Catcher Matt Anderson doubled to center field and Austin Thompson singled. Golden then singled to right field scoring Anderson.

Then the walks started coming in. Jason Swan was hit by a Zac Kristofak pitch which scored Thompson to make it a 2-2 game.

GS continued to take the free base loading as Corley was walked to bring Golden home.

UGA had a quick, scoreless eighth inning. The Eagles couldn’t get on base so the game went to the bottom of the ninth.

The first batter up singled to center field.

Then the momentum shifted to the Bulldogs as relief pitcher Cole Whitney failed to muster up the SAC bunt to get to players on base.

Freshman RHP Hayden Harris came in to immediately walk Tucker Bradley and then walking McGovern to tie the game.

The last pitcher to see the mound was sophomore RHP Braxton Johns who came into the game with 1 out and bases loaded.

With not much room for error, Johns put a ball right in the sweet spot for Cam Shepard to hit a SAC fly scoring another Bulldog in walk-off fashion.

Head Coach Rodney Hennon was noticeably proud of his young pitching core. “Obviously the big play there is not getting the out on the bunt there at the end,” Hennon said. “But, we’ll go back to work.”

Eagles will return home to J.I. Clements Stadium for one game with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this Tuesday at 6 p.m.