DALTONnow.com

May 31, 2014

NCAA tournament: Eagles and Owls both pull upsets

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The momentum that took Georgia Southern University’s baseball team through the loser’s bracket and to a championship at the Southern Conference tournament didn’t disappear Friday as the NCAA Division I Regionals began.

Sam Howard tossed a two-hitter and struck out 10 as the Eagles stunned Florida State 7-0 on Friday in the Tallahassee Regional.

During one stretch, Howard (7-6) retired 15 straight for the Eagles (40-21), who are coached by Dalton High School graduate Rodney Hennon and have former Catamounts Stryker Brown and Garren Palmer on the roster. Howard, a left-hander, walked two and threw 137 pitches.

Dalton Busby went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer and a double, and Garrett Chapman had a solo home run and a double as Georgia Southern pounded out 16 hits.

Brown, who started in left field, went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run. Palmer, who started at first base, was 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a sacrifice.

Florida State (43-16), which had won 19 straight NCAA regional games, had as many hits as it did errors. Georgia Southern chased right-hander Mike Compton (7-3) in the second inning, and the Seminoles used four relievers to finish the game.

Georgia Southern, the regional’s No. 4 seed, will play third-seeded Kennesaw State at 5 p.m. today, while the top-seeded Semi-noles will play second-seeded Alabama in an elimination game at 1 p.m.

The Eagles are making their 14th appearance in an NCAA Regional but have never advanced to a Super Regional. They improved to 18-28 all-time in NCAA tournament games with Friday’s upset.

Kennesaw State 1, Ala-bama 0: In another upset by a Georgia school at the Tallahassee Regional, Travis Bergen gave up just five hits in a career-high 8 2/3 innings as the Owls beat the Crimson Tide for their first-ever NCAA tournament victory.

Kal Simmons’ sacrifice fly in the fifth inning scored Brennan Morgan as the Owls (38-21) won for the 24th time in 25 games.

Bergen (8-4) had three strikeouts and scattered five hits before being pulled after allowing a two-out double to Austen Smith in the bottom of the ninth.

Smith had two doubles and Chance Vincent went 2-for-3 for Alabama (34-23).

• In Oxford, Miss., both opening-round games of the regional hosted by the University of Mississippi were rained out and rescheduled for today.

No. 2 seed Washington will face No. 3 Georgia Tech at 2 p.m., followed by No. 1 Mississippi and No. 4 Jacksonville State at 6.

The regional will now have three games scheduled for Sun-day, with the championship moved to Monday.

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