Georgia Southern overcame a 4-0 deficit heading into the sixth inning and went on to post a 7-4 victory over The Citadel in the opening game of a Southern Conference series Friday night at Riley Park.
The teams will conclude the series with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon. The final game originally scheduled for Sunday was pushed up due to the likelihood of rain in the Charleston area later in the weekend.
The Eagles (22-10, 5-5 SoCon) took advantage of wildness by the Bulldog pitching staff to score six runs on only four hits over the sixth and seventh innings. Meanwhile, the combination of Sam Howard and Matt McCall blanked The Citadel (13-18, 1-9) on only one hit from the fifth inning on.
Howard (4-3) earned the win with six up-and-down innings. He allowed eight hits and walked two but was able to limit the damage by stranding six runners including the bases loaded in the third. Matt McCall retired nine of the 10 batters he faced out of the pen for his sixth save of the year.
Logan Cribb was nearly untouchable for the first five innings, blanking the Eagles on only two hits before running into trouble in the sixth. He hit a batter and allowed back-to-back singles, with Georgia Southern scoring on the second base hit to make it a 4-1 game.
Zach Sherrill relieved Cribb and gave up a hit and walk but was really hurt by a pair of wild pitches that both plated runs. Ross White issued two more walks to force in a run that tied the game at four.
Another bases loaded walk and fielder's choice grounder produced two more runs and a 6-4 Eagle lead in the seventh, and an error and RBI single by Aaron Mizell capped the Georgia Southern rally the following inning.
The Bulldogs looked sharp in building their early lead. Tyler Griffin and Calvin Orth reached on infield hits in the second, and Griffin scored on a sacrifice fly by Bret Hines. The following inning, Howard issued a walk to Bo Thompson and gave up a hard hit infield single to Griffin, both with the bases loaded, to make it 3-0.
Hughston Armstrong doubled for the second time in as many innings with one out in the fourth and scored on a single by Johnathan Stokes. But it was at that point that the Eagle pitching began to hold the Bulldogs in check.
Armstrong was one of four Bulldogs with two hits, joined by Stokes, Griffin and Orth. Drew DeKerlegand, playing in the 200th game of his career, was held without a hit and is still one shy of reaching the 200-mark in that category.