Baseball falls to Georgia Southern, 12-7

Feb. 28, 2007

Final Stats

STATESBORO, Ga. - Seniors Pete Clifford and Ryan McArdle each finished with four hits but the Eagles racked up 17 hits and four home runs as the JU baseball team fell to Georgia Southern, 12-7, Wednesday afternoon at J.I. Clements Stadium.

JU (5-8) finished with 11 hits in the contest but left 12 runners on base. Georgia Southern (9-6), which finished with four home runs in the game, snapped a four-game losing streak and took the season sweep from the Dolphins.

Freshman Glenn Witkowski (0-2) was tagged with the loss in his first collegiate start after allowing four runs on six hits in 2/3 inning.

Clifford went 4-for-4 to lead the Dolphin offense and pushed his batting average over .300 for the first time this season. McArdle also went 4-for-5 and added two RBI. Senior right fielder Mike McCallister also extended his team-high hitting streak to 10 games.

Drew Murray (2-2) earned the win after allowing three runs on 10 hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in six innings of work. Chris Shehan went 5-for-5 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.

"We had a chance to jump on them early but we only managed one run in the first," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "We batted around and got ourselves back into the game a couple of times but they always had an answer for us."

The Dolphins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first when sophomore designated hitter Brad Simmons laced an RBI single up the middle with two outs. With two outs, Clifford and McCallister hit back-to-back singles before Simmons drove in the first run in the next at-bat.

The Eagles answered back to make it 4-1 in the bottom of the first when Matt Miller led off with a home run to center, Kyle Blackburn crushed a two-run homer to right center and Griffin Benedict hit an RBI single to right field.

GSU pushed the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the second when Chris Shehan hit an RBI single to center with two outs.

The Eagles made it 8-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Mike Economos hit a solo homer to left center, Blackburn scored on a throwing error at first base and Shenan scored on a wild pitch from third.

The Dolphins cut the margin to 8-3 in the top of the sixth when junior shortstop hit an RBI double to left center and senior catcher Donnie Vickers drove in a run with a grounder to third. Simmons led off the inning with a single to center and senior first baseman Ryan McArdle followed with a single to right field. In the next at-bat, Lopez ripped the first pitch into the left center gap to drive in Simmons. Vickers followed with a grounder to third to score McArdle.

JU made it 8-5 in the top of the seventh when McArdle hit a two-out two-run single to left field. Freshman third baseman Chuck Opachich led off the inning with a single to short and moved to second after Clifford drew a walk. Both runners advanced on a groundout to short by McCallister. McArdle followed with a bases clearing single to left.

GSU pushed the advantage to 10-5 in the bottom of the seventh when Jeremy Beckham pulled a two-run homer to left field with two outs.

The Dolphins made it 10-6 in the top of the eighth when junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira scored from third on a wild pitch.

The Eagles pushed the lead to 12-6 in the bottom of the eighth when pinch-runner Brett Maxwell scored on a wild pitch and Miller drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center.

JU ended the game with a run in the top of the ninth when senior second baseman Logan James hit an RBI double to right center.

JU will next host LaSalle for a four-game series at Alexander Brest Field beginning on Friday at 3:30 p.m.