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 Buccaneers in a tough 7-6 midweek loss at Georgia Southern on Wednesday night.
The Bucs rallied to load the bases in the ninth and shaved two runs off a 7-4 lead for the Eagles entering the ninth, 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.
CSU falls to 17-25 with the loss, while GSU improves to 25-21.
The late rally nearly became CSU's biggest comeback of the season. Pinch hitter Brian Welch reached on a leadoff walk and centerfield 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 Chase 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 Robbie 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 (LP, 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 1.1 shutout innings.
Matt Witt and Joe Pistacchio each had two innings of scoreless relief.