Joe Jackson singled in Mason Davis with two outs in the 11th and The Citadel pitching staff continued to throw up zeroes as the Bulldogs clinched their Southern Conference series with a 1-0 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Logan Cribb and three relievers combined on a three-hitter to emerge victorious in a classic pitcher's duel against Justin Hess and Kyle Rowe. The Citadel (19-17, 8-6 SoCon) has not allowed a run in 20 innings in the series and will go for a sweep on Sunday behind freshman right hander Austin Mason.
Cribb worked the first 5 2/3 innings and allowed two hits with a season-high seven strikeouts but did not factor in the decision. Zach Sherrill gave up just one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings before David Rivera retired the Eagles in order in the 10th and earned the win after the Bulldogs snapped the deadlock an inning later.
Rivera has been in the right place at the right time this season, recording his team-leading fifth win of the season against one loss in only 31 2/3 innings on the mound. He has three of his wins in conference action.
After Rivera (5-1) hit Garren Palmer to lead off the bottom of the 11th, Skylar Hunter came in and struck out Scooter Williams, Ben Morgan and Chase Griffin to finish off the shutout and earn the eighth save of his freshman season. Bulldog pitchers struck out a total of 12 Georgia Southern batters while walking only three.
Hess matched Cribb and the Bulldog bullpen pitch for pitch, allowing only four hits while fanning nine in nine innings. Kyle Rowe worked around a one-out double byDrew DeKerlegand in the 10th and retired the first two batters in the 11th when Davis singled to center with two outs to start the game-winning rally.
Davis swiped second, his 15th steal of the year in 18 attempts. Hughston Armstrong walked and Jackson followed with a single to left. Williams fielded the ball quickly but his throw home hit Davis who slid past the plate but reached back to score the only run of the game.
Davis had two of The Citadel's seven hits in the game and has hit safely in six straight games including five contests with multiple base knocks to raise his average up to .307. The Citadel second baseman has been particularly hot against conference foes, batting .364 in SoCon games. Jackson extended his hitting streak to a career-long eight games and upped his team-leading RBI total to 35.
Neither team had many good scoring opportunities over the course of the game. The Eagles got the leadoff batter on in four of the first six innings but could not break through. After giving up a leadoff single in the third, Cribb retired nine in a row before coming out with a runner at second and two out in the sixth.
Sherrill, making his NCAA-leading 29th appearance of the season, got Robbie Dodds on a comebacker to get out of the sixth inning trouble. Sherrill then retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth and got a line drive double play to first to end the ninth and send the game into extra innings.
Bo Thompson had a seventh inning single for his only hit in five trips to the plate, but it was enough to extend his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 35. Armstrong went 0-for-4, only the second time in his past 14 games that he failed to get a base hit.