March 8, 2009
STATESBORO, Ga. - Griffin Benedict pounded out a career-high five hits with two home runs and six RBI to pace Georgia Southern to an 14-4 win over No. 20 East Carolina in the championship game of the 2009 Holiday Inn Eagle Invitational Sunday afternoon at J.I. Clements Stadium. With the win the Eagles improve to 11-1, while ECU falls to 8-2 on the season.
Griffin high-lighted an 8-run seventh inning with a pair of home runs to give the Eagles a 14-4 advantage.
Matt Murray improved to 1-0 on the season after allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Kyle Kamppi go the three-inning save, his second of the year, giving up one run on four hits with five punch outs. Jake Brown bridged the gap between GSU hurlers working one inning with one strikeout and one run.
Sthil Sowers fell to 1-1 on the year after working 4 1/3 innings where he allowed six runs on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks. In all, the Pirates used seven pitchers on the afternoon in Brad Mincey (1.2 IP, 2 H), Kevin Brandt (0.0 IP, 1 R), Bailey Daniels (0.1 IP, 2 R), Mike Wright (0.1 IP, 4 R), Joe O'Malley (0.1 IP, 1 R) and Ryan Wood (1.0 IP, no hits).
Kyle Roller gave ECU an early 2-0 lead on his second home run of the season in the first inning. Stephen Batts, who extended his hit streak to 12 games, reached base on a bloop single to right field with two outs before Roller unleashed a shot to right field, his 25th career home run.
Griffin Benedict's two-out double to right field pulled the Eagles within one, 2-1, in the bottom half of the first inning. Matt Miller drew a leadoff walk then stole second when A.J. Wirnsberger struck out before coming around to score on Benedict's third double of the year.
GSU took a 5-2 lead in the third thanks to back-to-back RBI singles up the middle from Wirnsberger and Benedict. Miller led off the inning with a single then took second when Phillip Porter was plunked by a Sowers fastball. Wirnsberger laced a shot back up the middle scoring Miller to knot the game at two. Benedict drove in his second run of the contest with his RBI single that pushed across Porter putting runners at first and second. After the runners advanced 90 feet due to a wild pitch, Ty Wright reached on a fielder's choice that scored Wirnsberger for the third run of the frame. The final Eagles run came on a sac fly by Randy Williams capping the scoring at 5-2.
Eric Phillips' RBI single up the middle pushed GSU's lead to 6-2 in the fifth frame. Benedict reached on his third hit of the game with one out then took second on Wright's single through the left side setting up Phillips RBI base knock.
ECU cut into the Eagles four-run lead by plating a run in the top of the sixth moving within three, 6-3, on Harrington's RBI ground out. Roller drew his second walk of the game then moved to second on Brandon Henderson's single through the right side before advancing to third on a wild pitch.
Ryan Wood scored on a Kamppi wild pitch to pull within two, 6-4. Wood led off the frame with a double to left-center then took third and home on a pair of wild pitches.
GSU put the game out of reach in the seventh with an 8-run inning pushing the lead to 14-4.
The Pirates will be back in action Tuesday when they play host to instate foe UNC Asheville for the first of two midweek games before welcoming in UCLA for a three-game series at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 5 p.m. (EDT).