GREENVILLE – If The Citadel is to win a ninth Southern Conference baseball tournament title, the Bulldogs will have to do it the hard way.
The Citadel, seeded seventh, fell into the losers’ bracket of the tournament tonight, dropping an 8-1 decision to No. 6 Georgia Southern at Fluor Field.
The Bulldogs (25-32) will have to beat No. 3 seed Elon at 3 p.m. Friday, then defeat Georgia Southern twice on Saturday to make it to Sunday’s championship game.
Unable to build on the momentum from Wednesday’s dramatic 11-inning victory over College of Charleston, The Citadel was handcuffed for much of this game by Eagles pitcher Justin Hess. The junior right-hander gave up only one run on four hits over six innings, walking two and striking out seven.
Georgia Southern (32-26), which pounded Elon by 19-2 in its tourney opener, reached Citadel starter Kevin Connell for five runs in the third inning, the big blow a grand slam by first baseman T.D. Davis.
Four walks, two of them with two out, forced in one run before Davis unloaded with a drive over the wall in left-center for a 5-0 lead.
The Bulldogs got one run back in the sixth on singles by Joe Jackson and Tyler Griffin, sandwiched around a walk, to make it 5-1.
But GSU scored once in the sixth on Chase Griffin’s sacrifice fly and once in the seventh on Tyler Avera’s RBI single to go up 7-1. Eric Phillips’ RBI single in the eighth made it 8-1.