Charleston Southern rally falls short in 7-6 loss to Georgia Southern

STATESBORO, Ga. — Georgia Southern’s Robbie Dodds threw out Charleston Southern’s Zack Hagaman on a tight play at the plate, ending the game and a ninth-inning rally by the Bucs in a 7-6 loss at Georgia Southern (25-21) on Wednesday night.

The Bucs (17-25) rallied to load the bases in the ninth and shaved two runs off a 7-4 lead, but Dodds threw out Hagaman from right field on a Robbie Streett single to end the Bucs’ late charge and the game.

CSU outhit the Eagles, 14-7, and dominated the final seven innings, but couldn’t overcome a rocky start that saw Georgia Southern jump out to a 7-1 lead through two innings.

The late rally nearly became CSU’s biggest comeback of the season. Pinch hitter Brian Welch reached on a leadoff walk and Bobby Ison singled for his third hit of the night to bring the tying run to the plate in Hagaman.

Hagaman followed with a single to the opposite field and catcher Drew Woodall came through with a two-run single to cut the lead to one.

Eagles’ reliever Kyle Rowe got Chase Shelton to fly out, but not deep enough to score a run ahead of Streett’s single and Hagaman’s bang-bang play at the plate.

The Bucs had to scrap back into things after a slow start.

Georgia Southern scored four runs in the first and five in the second on four early walks and an error by the Buccaneers. A two-run double from Chase Griffin in the first was the big blow offensively for the Eagles.

CSU got on the board in the top of the second as Shelton ripped a leadoff double and scored on an RBI groundout by John Faircloth to cut the Eagles lead to 2-1.

The Buccaneers strung together five-straight singles in the third to climb back into the game. Shelton, Drew Woodall, and Streett all had RBIs as CSU cut the Georgia Southern lead to 7-4.

Hagaman, Ison, and Streett each went 3 for 5 to lead the CSU attack. Woodall added two hits.

Leadoff man Garren Palmer had three hits and scored a run to lead Georgia Southern.

Starter Stephen Leopard (1-3) took the loss working an inning and allowing four earned runs. Reliever Austin Weekley worked out of a jam in the second and worked 11/3 shutout innings. Matt Witt and Joe Pistacchio each had two innings of scoreless relief.

Charleston Southern opens a three-game Big South Conference series at Winthrop University on Friday. First pitch is at 6 p.m. The game is available on ESPN3.