STATESBORO, Ga. - The Georgia Southern Baseball team rallied for two runs in the ninth inning but dropped their second game in as many days to Samford. The Bulldogs struck for three first inning runs but had to hold on for a 6-5 win on Saturday afternoon at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Georgia Southern (25-23, 11-12) fell behind early after Samford (32-16, 18-8) scored four runs over the first two innings off of Eagle starter Justin Hess (Panama City, Fla.). The day did not start well for Hess (3-3) after a lead off fielding error by shortstop Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.), a single off the bat of Brad Moss and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position. The Bulldogs took advantage of the early opportunity and struck for three runs in the first inning on a RBI single from Phillip Ervin and a pair of ground outs from Saxson Butler and C.K. Irby.
Hess settled down after the first inning and allowed just a pair of single runs in the second and fourth innings. The junior right-hander gave up three earned runs on eight hits over five innings and sat down the last four batters he faced. Hess allowed a lead off home run to Christiaan Durdaller in the second inning and worked out of a three-hit jam in the fourth inning. Hess avoided a big inning and gave up just one run on a RBI double by Zeth Stone.
Trailing by three runs, 6-3, heading into the ninth inning, Georgia Southern rallied to score two runs on a bases-loaded infield single by Phillips and a throwing error by Tommy Corbin. The error by the third baseman also allowed Scooter Williams (Detroit, Mich.) to move in to third base. With runners on the corners and two-outs, C.K. Irby struck out Chase Griffin (Leesburg, Ga.) to end the ball game.
The save by Irby (S, 9) cashed in a quality start by Josh Martin, who allowed three runs in 6.1 innings. Irby came in for Lex Rutledge, who walked Brent Pugh (Atlanta, Ga.) and allowed a base hit to Ben Morgan (Evans, Ga.) in the ninth inning, and got the final two outs after allowing the hit to Phillips.
Martin began the game with three perfect innings before walking Williams to start the fourth inning. The Eagles took advantage of the free pass and scored two runs on a pair of hits and an error. Griffin singled to right centerfield to plate Williams and move Phillips, who reached on a base hit to third base. Phillips later scored on a grounder to third base which was misplayed by Corbin.
Georgia Southern added a third run in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single from Phillips. The Eagles were held scoreless for the next three innings after the bullpen combined for two scoreless frames. Martin allowed a one-out single to Williams, but Joseph Burns and Tyler Vanderheiden retired the side with a pair of flyouts. Rutledge retired two batters in the eighth inning after Vanderheiden coaxed a ground out to start the frame.
The three-game series concludes tomorrow with a 1:30 p.m. first pitch. Will Middour (2-3, 4.17) will look to avoid the sweep against likely starter Kyle Putkonen (2-5, 6.22).
All baseball games this season can be heard on the Boomer 103.7 FM and inside J.I. Clements Stadium on 88.1 FM. Audio for all games is also available on the web and subscription video is available for all home games at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision.
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