Bulldogs Hold Off Georgia Southern for 8-7 Victory
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Joe Jackson collected three hits and The Citadel took advantage of four costly errors by Georgia Southern to defeat the Eagles 8-7 Sunday afternoon at Riley Park and take the Southern Conference series two games to one. The Bulldogs improve to 19-25 overall, 9-12 in the conference and host North Florida for a two-game midweek series starting Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Jackson's three hit outing was his 15th multi-hit game of the season and his two RBI effort led the Bulldogs as well. Hughston Armstrong also collected two base hits for The Citadel, which was out-hit 15-9 in the game. James Reeves picked up his team-best sixth win in relief, allowing three runs on five hits in 3.1 innings of work. Ryan Hines earned his fifth save, giving up one run on two hits in two frames.
Scooter Williams had a career day in a losing effort for the Eagles, going 5-for-5 with a double and three RBI and three runs scored. Brent Pugh added three hits, while Will Middour took the loss. Middour was tagged for six runs – three earned – on five hits in 2.2 innings. The Eagles left 12 runners on base in the game, including at least one runner in each of the first eight innings.
Georgia Southern (24-21, 11-10 SoCon) scored first for the first time in the series, plating a single run in the first and two in the second for an early 3-0 lead. Scooter Williams lined a one-out single to left center in the first and stole second. One out later, Chase Griffin knocked a RBI single to right to score Williams. In the second frame, a hit by pitch and three straight singles manufactured the two runs, with Eric Phillips and Williams collecting the RBI base hits.
The Bulldogs broke the floodgates open in the third, scoring six runs on five hits and used three Georgia Southern errors to send 11 batters to the plate in the frame. Hughston Armstrong got things going with a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Griffin, the Eagles catcher. Nick Orvin attempted to drop a sacrifice bunt, but reached on throwing error by Tyler Avera at third, taking second on the error as Armstrong scored the Bulldogs' first run. Mason Davis reached on an infield single and both Davis and Orvin advanced to scoring position on a passed ball. Justin Mackert loaded the bases on a five-pitch walk and Joe Jackson delivered a two-run double down the right-field line to knot the game at 3-3 and put Mackert at third. Bo Thompson gave The Citadel the 4-3 lead with a sacrifice fly to deep center to score Mackert.
The Citadel wasn't finished in the third however, as Jackson moved to third on a groundout and scored on a fielding error by Phillips at short that allowed Bailey Rush to reach base. A single by Johnathan Stokes moved Rush to second and a RBI single to right by Armstrong completed the six-run inning by plating Rush for a 6-3 Citadel lead.
Back-to-back singles by Mackert and Jackson in the fourth inning gave the Bulldogs runners at the corners and four straight balls to Thompson by reliever Josh Stevenson loaded the bases. Georgia Southern brought in Taylor Burke to face Rush and Burke plunked him with a 2-2 pitch to force in a run. The Eagles then replaced Burke with Kyle Rowe who walked Stokes to force in another run and give the Bulldogs an 8-3 lead. Stokes battled back from a 0-2 count to draw the count full and force Rowe into a breaking ball that missed for ball four.
Georgia Southern chipped away at the Bulldogs' lead in the sixth, scoring three runs for an 8-6 Citadel advantage. Brent Pugh singled to center and Phillips drew a full-count walk to put a pair of runners on with one out. Williams drove a two-run double down the left-field line for his fourth hit of the game and a RBI single to center by Avera plated the third run of the frame.
The Eagles came within one run in the eighth with a RBI groundout by T.D. Davis, for an 8-7 score, but Hines struck out Morgan with runners at second and third to end the frame. Hines then induced three fly outs in the ninth to close the door on the Eagles.
Tuesday's first pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. and Wednesday game is the beginning of a Citadel-Charleston RiverDogs doubleheader starting at 3:00 p.m.
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