DAVIDSON, N.C. – Davidson brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning and staged a late rally scoring seven on two outs, but Georgia Southern worked out of the jam and closed out a 15-13 win Thursday evening (May 14) at Wilson Field. Georgia Southern moved to 31-19 overall and 17-8 in Southern Conference play, while the Wildcats dropped to 19-27, 5-20. Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) collected four RBI going 4-for-6 with two runs scored, while A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) drove in three runs on 3-for-6 hitting. Kyle Blackburn (Marietta, Ga.) tallied four hits and scored four times in the win with a solo home run. For Davidson, Michael Zeblo went 4-for-6 at the plate with four RBI and two runs scored. Calvin Sigelbaum was 2-for-3. Trent Franzago (Byron, Ga.) picked up the win relieving Eagle starter Jake Brown (Forest Hill, Md.) with Thomas Middour drawing the loss after three innings of work. Entering with two outs in the ninth and the tying run at the plate, Dexter Bobo (Cumming, Ga.) picked up his 10th save of the season working out of the jam and closing the win. Georgia Southern got on board quickly with a pair of runs in the first inning. Kevin Bowles (Statesboro, Ga.) and Blackburn opened the contest with base-hits. Phillips then roped a single down the left field line plating Bowles from second. A fielding error on the play allowed Phillips to take second and Blackburn to score unearned. A productive third inning cushioned the Eagles’ advantage as 11 batters were sent to the plate, scoring six of them on six hits. Phillips picked up two RBI on a double to center that scored Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Bowles. On his first hit of the ballgame, Wirnsberger scored GS’s fifth run when Blackburn crossed home plate. Phillips then scored in the next at-bat off a single from Victor Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.) before Georgia Southern’s seventh run in three innings came via a RBI single from Randy J. Williams (Valdosta, Ga.). As the Eagles batted around, Payne picked up his first RBI with a single to third base as GS took an 8-0 lead. Davidson got on board scoring three runs in the bottom of the third beginning with a two-run home run from Jake Berman. A fielding error by Wirnsberger at third allowed Sam Payne to score unearned for an 8-3 tally. With bases loaded, Eagle starter Brown forced a line out to second base to close the inning escaping further damage. Davidson’s second costly error of the ballgame came in the fourth on a Wirnsberger single. Blackburn scored easily on the single, but a fielding misplay in the outfield produced another run as Phillips scored on the play. After Wirnsberger stole third, the senior scored on a groundout from Roache as the Eagles took all three runs back allowed in the third for an 11-3 lead. Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) unleashed his first collegiate triple in the next at-bat, but was unable to score on a fly out from Arthur Owens (Fayetteville, Ga.). GS led 11-4 after a Zeblo solo home run to left field opened the home half of the fourth. But once again, the Eagles retaliated taking the run right back on a Blackburn RBI single in the fifth. Brown was chased from the game in the fifth after allowing a RBI single, leaving runners on first and third. Franzago picked up a strikeout and groundout to end the inning leaving both runners stranded. GS pushed the score to 14-5 on a Phillips fielder’s choice that plated Williams and a two-out RBI single up the middle from Wirnsberger in the seventh. The Wildcats manufactured a run in the seventh using a couple hit batsmen and a RBI single from Zeblo for a 14-6 score. Blackburn posted the last Eagle run with a solo shot to center field in the ninth, but the Wildcats tried to produce a late rally with two outs in the ninth. With bases loaded and two outs, Charles Matthews (Athens, Ga.) gave up a RBI double before a three-run RBI triple to Drew Gadaire. The Wildcat then scored on an Andrew Barna single up the middle as Davidson cut its deficit to 15-11. Bobo came in to close, but a two-run RBI single from Zeblo cut the score even further to 15-13. On a 2-2 pitch, Coleman Barron took one deep to left as Roman Grimaldi (Duluth, Ga.) went up the ladder at the wall to end the game.
Game two of the three-game series is set for 4 p.m. on Friday, May 14. The finale of the series will take place on Saturday, May 15 at noon.