STATESBORO — Georgia Southern evened its series with Georgia on Saturday afternoon, posting a 3-2 victory 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 Bulldogs miscue. Chase Griffin pushed the first run across on a sacrifice fly, and T.D. Davis added an RBI-double.
Georgia (1-1) got one run back in the second on an Eagles 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, Eagles sophomore left-hander Sam Howard kept the Bulldogs off balance, going seven innings and allowing one unearned run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
The Eagles 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. Benzor pitched three innings, allowing 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.
Georgia 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 and secure the Eagles win. Bulldogs sophomore second baseman Nelson Ward went 2-for-3 to give him six hits in the series. The rubber game of the series will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.