Statesboro Ga. - Calvin Orth homered twice and drove in five runs to back the shutout pitching of Austin Pritcher and two relievers in an 11-0 victory over Georgia Southern in the opening game of a Southern Conference series Friday at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The Bulldogs moved back over the .500 mark both overall (18-17) and in the conference (7-6) with their second shutout of the season and fifth game with double figures in runs. The Citadel also snapped a three-game losing streak in conference series openers.
The Eagles dropped to 21-12 and 10-6 in the league. The Bulldogs will be looking to win its first SoCon series since taking two of three from Wofford on March 15-17 in game two of the set Saturday at 5 p.m. Logan Cribb will pitch for The Citadel against Georgia Southern's Justin Hess.
Pritcher cruised through the first seven innings to win for the first time since earning a 12-3 win over Samford on March 8. He allowed five hits and his seven strikeouts pushed him over the 200 mark in his career, finishing the night with 203. With 18 victories in his career, Pritcher (4-2) is the winningest active pitcher in the SoCon.
Skylar Hunter and Ross White both worked a hitless inning to complete the shutout, the first since an 8-0 win over Pittsburgh on March 1. Sam Howard took the loss for Georgia Southern after surrendering 11 hits and six runs (five earned) with three strikeouts in six innings.
Orth gave The Citadel the only run it would need when he tucked an opposite field solo homer just inside the right field foul pole. He added a grand slam to highlight a five-run eighth that blew the game wide open. The junior first baseman doubled his season home run total to four.
Hughston Armstrong singled with one out in the second, his second of four hits in the game, and scored when a base hit by Bo Thompson skipped past left fielder Zac Lenns all the way to the wall.
Armstrong matched his career-high hit total that he first established against Samford on March 10. He also stole two bases in the game and is a perfect 11-for-11 on the year. Thompson extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base by a hit, walk or hit batter to 34 straight games.
The Citadel pushed its lead to 5-0 with a three-run fifth. Mason Davis hit the first pitch of the inning from Howard over the fence in right center for his first home run of the season. Armstrong singled, Drew DeKerlegand walked and the duo pulled off a double steal, setting the stage for a two-run single by Johnathan Stokes.
The Bulldog shortstop has at least one RBI in his last six games and a total of nine over that stretch. Bret Hines had three hits including a double for the first multiple hit game of the freshman third baseman's young career.
The Citadel tied a season high with 16 hits and has 17 games with double figures, only two shy of its total from the entire 2012 season.