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February 09, 2008

USI drops a pair on the road to start the season

Box Score: #17 Armstrong Atlantic 9, #6 USI 4

Box Score Game 2: #17 Armstrong Atlantic 6, #6 USI 4 (10 innings)

SAVANAH, Ga. The sixth-ranked University of Southern Indiana baseball team opened the 2008 campaign with a doubleheader loss in Savanah, Georgia, Saturday afternoon. USI lost to 17th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University in game one, 9-4, and in the nightcap, 6-4, in 10 innings.

In game one, the Screaming Eagles (0-2) recorded their first lead of the season in the second inning. USI junior third baseman Alex Thieroff (Greenfield, Indiana) led off with a triple and scored when senior catcher Garret Oros (Aurora, Illinois) reached on a fielding error.

The AASU Pirates (5-0) bounced back to tie the score and take the lead 2-1 with a tally in the bottom of the second and the third innings. AASU extended the lead to 4-1 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth.

The Eagles cut into the lead during the top of the fifth when junior second baseman Kevin O'Hair (Scottsdale, Arizona) scored on an RBI double by sophomore shortstop Wes Fink (Clarksville, Tennessee). O'Hair got into scoring position after leading off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a pass ball.

After the teams traded runs in the fifth, the Eagles closed the gap to 5-4 with a pair of tallies in the sixth. Thieroff scored on a ground out by O'Hair, while USI junior rightfielder Greg Horn (Plainfield, Indiana) scored when senior centerfielder Michael Beaven reached on an error.

The Pirates would put the game out of reach with a run in the seventh and three runs in the eighth for the 9-4 win.

USI left-hander Cory Julian (Lynnville, Indiana) started the opener and took the loss for the Eagles. Julian (0-1) went four-plus innings, allowing six hits, five runs, four earned runs. He also struck out three.

Julian was relieved by sophomore right-hander Casey Geiger (Albion, Indiana) in the fifth. Geiger allowed six hits and four runs, one earned, to finish the game.

In the night cap, USI built a 4-1 lead through six-and-a-half innings before AASU came from behind to win, 6-4, in 10 innings.

The Eagles took the early lead with a pair of runs in the second inning. O'Hair's RBI single gave USI a 1-0 lead and an error on the same play gave the Eagles a 2-0 advantage.

After AASU cut the lead in half with a tally in the bottom of the sixth, USI increased the lead to 4-1 in the top of the seventh on O'Hair's RBI double and senior first baseman Matt Pleiss' (Newburgh, Indiana) RBI single.

The Pirates responded with three runs in the bottom of the seventh and sent the game into the extra inning. AASU catcher Derrek Miller ended the contest with a two-homer in the bottom of the 10th and a 6-4 Pirate win.

USI junior right-hander Shaun Larsen (Tell City, Indiana) took the loss in relief. He allowed two runs on two hits in 1.2 innings of work.

The Eagles got an outstanding performance from its starter in game two, senior right-hander Jeremy Kehrt (Plainfield, Indiana). Kehrt allowed six hits and one run, while striking out seven in six innings of work.

Offensively on the day, USI was led by O'Hair finished the day four-for-seven with two runs scored and three RBIs. Thieroff followed O'Hair with a three-for-eight day, with all three hits coming in the first game.

The Eagles finish the first half of a six-game road swing Sunday with a single game against AASU. Sunday's first pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. (CST). USI concludes the season opening road trip next weekend (February 16-17) with a three-game series at Henderson State University.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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