May 12, 2012
Statesboro, Ga. - Georgia Southern broke open Saturday's game at J.I. Clements Stadium with 10 runs in the decisive fifth inning as the Eagles evened the best-of-three Southern Conference series with Western Carolina with a 16-4 victory.
GSU recorded a season-high tying 18 hits, capitalizing on eight walks and four Catamount errors to score the victory and set the stage for Sunday afternoon's rubber-match. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 pm.
Morgan McKinney (6-3) suffered the loss for the Catamounts, allowing eight runs - only four of which were earned - on nine hits through four innings, exiting the game in the fifth with the bases loaded. McKinney struck out three against three walks in the start for WCU, one of six pitchers to see action.
Highlighting the bullpen work for WCU was senior Andrew Blackwell who tossed two innings, fanning three against two walks while holding GSU to two runs on four hits. Freshman William Frazier carded a pair of strikeouts in the three outs he tallied in tossing one inning.
Offensively, three Catamounts posted multiple-hit games with Aaron Attaway reaching base four times, finishing 2-for-3 with a double and two walks. Ross Heffley finished 2-for-5 with an RBI single with Dykota Spiess entering the game late and posting a 2-for-2 showing at the dish with a double, RBI and a run scored.
Georgia Southern (27-24, 13-13 SoCon) had six players record multi-hit games with first baseman T.D. Davis finishing 4-for-5 with four runs scored and Garren Palmer posting a perfect 3-for-3 day, a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Hunter Thomas drove in four runs for the Eagles, finishing 2-for-5 at the plate.
Eagle starter Justin Hess (4-3) scattered eight hits through seven innings, limiting the Catamounts to one earned run while posting four strikeouts against two walks. WCU managed three hits through the first inning and one batter as Adam Martin opened the second with a single that whizzed past Hess up the middle. However, GSU would not allow another WCU hit until Spiess delivered a pinch hit single to right field - a span of 16 batters.
The Catamounts (30-19, 14-12 SoCon) finished with 11 hits in the losing effort, stranding 11 on base while the Eagles left 12. In two games in Statesboro, WCU has stranded 24 runners on base.
GSU climbed on top with two runs in the second inning, opened by the lead-off solo home run by Palmer. The Eagles would stretch the lead to 5-0 through four with a three-spot in the bottom of the fourth inning ahead of the 10-run fifth which left the Eagles with a commanding 15-0 lead.
Western Carolina closed the game with four runs in the final three innings including two in the ninth to provide the final tally.