The Georgia Southern baseball team dropped the first of four games in the Atlanta area Tuesday night, losing 11-10 to Kennesaw State in 12 innings at Stillwell Stadium.
GS overcame shaky early pitching to bring a 10-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth, where a trio of pitchers would combine with an error to allow five runs in the frame, leaving junior pitcher Braxton Johns to take the Eagle loss.
Leadoff hitter Steven Curry would begin his three for five night with a double into the left corner, setting up an RBI single from freshman infielder Noah Ledford two batters later.
Freshman pitcher Jonathan Edwards made his first career start for the Eagles, allowing a single from KSU senior Jonathan Franklin. He eventually advanced to home on an Eagle error two batters later.
Owl freshman Nick Colina homered to right with two outs in the second, putting the Eagles down 2-1 to set up a third inning that would play out like the first.
After a strikeout from 9-hole hitter Blake Evans, Curry would pull a double down the left field line in nearly the same spot, setting up another sacrifice fly to advance to third and a run scored by redshirt senior third baseman Tyler Martin was picked off running back and forth between first and second.
Edwards was pulled in favor of redshirt sophomore pitcher Jacob Parker to start the third inning, who would allow two ground outs and close the inning on a 0-3 count.
A series of Owl pitching and fielding errors assisted GS in putting up five runs at the top of the fourth, starting as sophomore infielder Jason Swan scored in an errant throw to second. Evans’ single to right field would score sophomore infielder Austin Thompson.
An Owl pitching change would lead to a quick steal and a Curry RBI single. Junior outfielder Mason McWhorter would singled straight to the pitcher, and an errant Owl throw put him safely at first, allowing Evans to score.
GS sophomore pitcher David Johnson checked in to pitch at the bottom of the fifth inning, which resulted in three Owl runs. Senior AJ Willoughby snatched an RBI double, sophomore Tyler Simon hit groundout to second to send a runner in, and Franklin sent a runner in on a sacrifice fly to center.
When GS touched the mound in the sixth inning, Martin bat in Evans and a Curry advance on a single to left field, set up Ledford to send Curry home on a single for the Eagles’ ninth run.
Scoring would halt for both teams until the ninth inning, where a single from freshman catcher JP Tighe would put Thompson across home plate.
A couple of pop flies would send the game into the bottom of the ninth, GS leading 10-5.
GS freshman pitcher Aidan McAllister allowed a Colina double in his first appearance of the game, and was quickly yanked for redshirt freshman pitcher Austin Hohm. A walk and a strikeout later, senior pitcher Cole Whitney would take the mound, where a throwing error would load the bases, allowing KSU’s batting average leader, Terrance Norman, to single and put Colina andWilloughby across home plate. Catcher Justin Russell homered to tie the game at 10. Whitney would strike out the inning’s first batter on a full count to set up extra innings.
Both teams would go scoreless until Owl freshman Tyler Tolve scored on a Willoughby bunt to steal the win at home and snap the four game winning streak.
With this non-conference loss, GS still remains first in Sun Belt standings.
The team finishes out the season with an away series against Georgia State. The first game takes place on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Michael Smith, The George-Anne Sports Reporter, firstname.lastname@example.org