Georgia Southern defeats ETSU in 7-6 thriller

Sunday, March 20, 2005

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 20, 2005) - With a man on third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Georgia Southern right fielder Brent Stephens made a lunging catch on a fly ball to the wall in right by ETSU junior pinch-hitter Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) to give the Eagles a 7-6 victory Sunday afternoon from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.

            The win extends the Eagles' win streak to six games, running their record to 13-7, 6-0 in Southern Conference play. East Tennessee State falls to 11-5, 2-4 in SoCon games.

            Georgia Southern took a 3-0 lead after scoring a run in the first inning and two more in the second. Greg Dowling hit an RBI groundout in the first while Flint Wipke hit a two-run homer in the second.

            The Eagles added another run to their lead with a run in the top of the fourth on an RBI single to left by Jeremy Beckham.

            East Tennessee State rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Eagle lead to one. The Bucs loaded the bases with one out after junior shortstop Chuck Hargis (Powell, Tenn.) and senior second baseman Nick Crowe (Johnson City, Tenn.) singled and senior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) walked. Junior first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) was hit by a pitch to force in a run and sophomore designated hitter Mike Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.) followed with a two-run single to right-center.

            Georgia Southern responded immediately in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs to make the score 6-3. Brett Pelfrey doubled to left with one out and Derrick Smith followed with a towering two-run homer to right-center.

            The Bucs again cut the GSU advantage to one run after scoring a run in the sixth and seventh innings. Hargis hit his second homer of the season in the sixth, a solo shot down the right field line. Junior left fielder Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.) drove in a run with a single up the middle in the seventh.

            The Eagles scored an important insurance run in the top of the eighth as Wipke hit a solo homer, his second of the day, into the net above the left field wall.

            ETSU again got within one run in the eighth as Moore hit his sixth home run of the year, a solo blast to right-center.

            Buccaneer sophomore centerfielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) led off the ninth with an infield single, diving into first to beat the throw. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior pinch-hitter Justin Clear (Lafollette, Tenn.) and advanced to third on a deep fly out to center by Glafenhein. But Stephens then made his stellar play against the right field wall to preserve the victory for the Eagles.

            Everett Teaford earned the win (4-1) for the Eagles, allowing four earned runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. He also walked two and struck out four on the afternoon. Steve Cogswell earned his fifth save of the year after pitching the ninth for Georgia Southern.

            Buccaneer junior lefty Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) was charged with the loss (2-3) after allowing six earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched. Calicutt also struck out two and walked one.

            Crowe, Glafenhein, Hargis and junior right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) each had two hits on the day for the Bucs. Giroud drove in two runs while Moore and Hargis scored two.

            Pelfrey, Smith and Wipke all had two hits in the win for the Eagles. Wipke also led the team with three runs scored and three RBIs.

            "This was a highly-competitive series," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "I tip my hat to Georgia Southern, they made great plays in pressure situations all series."

            The Bucs return to the diamond Wednesday night at 7 p.m. as they host in-state rival Tennessee from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
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