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Courtesy of UGA Sports Communications
STATESBORO-----Georgia Southern evened its series with Georgia by posting a 3-2 victory Saturday in front of a crowd of 3,098 at Jack Stallings Field.
The Eagles (1-1) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first, utilizing two doubles, two stolen bases and a Bulldog miscue. Chase Griffin pushed the first run across on a sacrifice fly while T.D. Davis added an RBI-double. Georgia (1-1) got one run back in the second on an Eagle error. GSU reclaimed a two-run lead in the third. Third baseman Ben Morgan reached on a leadoff walk, stole second and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Arthur Owens for a 3-1 advantage.
Georgia redshirt junior Patrick Boling made his first start since 2011, and the Bulldog registered a career-high nine strikeouts in four innings. However, he left trailing 3-1 as Georgia turned to senior Bryan Benzor to start the fifth. Meanwhile, Eagle sophomore left-hander Sam Howard kept the Bulldogs off balance, going seven innings and allowing just one unearned run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
The Eagled looked to Chris Myers who took care of the eighth and Kyle Rowe pitched the ninth for his first save. Georgia’s bullpen provided four scoreless innings. Senior right-hander Bryan Benzor pitched three innings, allowing just one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Sophomore left-hander Jarrett Brown tossed the eighth frame for the Bulldogs. Howard (1-0) earned the win while Boling dropped to 0-1.
“I was disappointed, not in the team but in myself as we didn’t handle their left-hander today, and I have to get them prepared better,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “I thought we would pitch better today, and I thought we did that, but bottom line is we didn’t hit. Overall, we played a good game but came up short. We’ve got to get some runs when we get the leadoff guy on and get some more two-out hits.”
Bulldog freshman designated hitter Daniel Nichols (2-for-4) smashed his first career home run with a two-out blast in the ninth to cut it to 3-2. However, Rowe came back to retire Brett DeLoach to secure the Eagles win. Bulldog sophomore second baseman Nelson Ward went 2-for-3 to give him six hits in the series. The rubber game of the series will be Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
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