STATESBORO, Ga. – George Kirby matched his career high with 11 strikeouts and Robbie Welhaf recorded all nine of his outs via the K as the Elon University baseball team picked up a 4-2 victory over Georgia Southern in game one of a three-game series at J.I. Clements Stadium on Friday, March 2.
The Elon duo combined to record the final 10 outs of the game, and 11 of the final 12, on strikeouts. Kirby (1-1) earned the win for the Phoenix (4-6) as he allowed two runs on five hits and one walk in 6.0 innings. Welhaf struck out the first eight hitters he faced before a two-out single in the ninth. He then struck out the next to end the game to earn his first save of the year.
Offensively, Ryne Ogren extended his hitting streak to seven games by going 3-for-4 with a double, run scored and one RBI. James Venuto drove in a pair and doubled during a 2-for-4 night, while Matt Oldham recorded his third straight two-hit outing and scored twice.
For Georgia Southern (5-5), Braxton Johns (1-1) took the loss after he allowed one run on two hits in 0.1 inning of work. Eagle starter Brian Eichhorn was charged with two runs on six hits in 6.0 innings.
Chandler Corley recorded two of GSU’s six hits, while Mason McWhorter picked up the team’s lone RBI.
How It Happened: The two starters dueled through five scoreless innings before Elon was able to break through with a pair of sixth-inning runs. Oldham led things off with a single through the right side and moved to second on an Ogren single. Venuto followed by sending a 1-2 pitch to the gap in right-center to plate both runners.
Georgia Southern responded in the bottom half of the sixth. With runners on first and second, McWhorter doubled down the left field line to cut Elon’s advantage to 2-1. After a strikeout, a shallow fly ball to left was caught for the second out. The throw quickly came back in and was cut off to keep the runner at third, but the Phoenix threw behind the runner at second and the ball got away allowing the tying run to score.
The Phoenix went back in front in the seventh when Oldham and Ogren hit back-to-back doubles. Elon tacked on one more in the eighth when Garrett Stonehouse lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Josh Broughton.
Notes: Ogren has reached safely in all 10 games this season… His three-hit game marked the 44th multi-hit outing of his career… The 20 strikeouts were a season high for Elon and marked the second game this season with 17 or more Ks by the Phoenix staff… Every Eagle player who had a plate appearance struck out at least once… Elon improved to 25-23 all-time against Georgia Southern.
On Deck: The two squads will get together again on Saturday for game two of the series. First pitch is set for noon.