Offense Backs Beck in SoCon Opener
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Behind new season highs in hits and runs, the Georgia Southern Baseball team exploded for a 19-2 win in their first game of the Southern Conference Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Fluor Field. The offense also backed a seven inning quality start from starting pitcher Chris Beck (Jefferson, Ga.).
"It was a well-pitched game and that got us off to a good start. Our team just came in and responded and executed very well," said Head Coach Rodney Hennon.
Georgia Southern (31-26) rallied from an early deficit to score six runs in the fifth inning. Hunter Thomas (Johns Creek, Ga.) moved two runners into scoring position. Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) dropped a double in fair territory just behind the first baseman to drive in the fourth run of the frame and chase Elon (31-25) starter Dylan Clark from the game. (Atlanta, Ga.) broke the inning open with a two-RBI single after a sacrifice bunt by
"We didn't waste any at-bats today," said Hennon. "We had a good approach and our guys were not trying to do too much. We kept the game simple."
Clark (9-4), the first of seven Phoenix pitchers, lasted just 4.2 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits. The inning continued even after the pitching change and Chase Griffin (Leesburg, Ga.) and Garren Palmer (Dalton, Ga.) drove in the final two runs of the frame off of reliever Kyle Webb.
Beck (6-7) took full advantage of the big lead and retired the side in order over his final three innings. The junior right-hander allowed just one run on five hits and has now allowed only two earned runs in three career SoCon Tournament starts. He also has 28 strikeouts in 24 career tournament innings.
"You just have to be hot at the right time. You have to bear down when you get a lead like that in baseball. You can't blink, and you've got to keep going," said Beck.
After adding a single run in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh inning, Georgia Southern batted around for the second time in the game and added nine runs in the eighth inning to tie the SoCon Tournament record for margin of victory set back in 1992.
Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.), Griffin, Tyler Avera (Baxley, Ga.) and Pugh all had four-hits days and combined for 16 of the team's season-high 23 hits. Burruss tallied his first multi-hit day since a four-hit performance at Florida on April 17th, and Pugh tied career-highs in hits and RBIs.
Elon struck first in the game with a run in the fourth inning after a triple by Alex Swim plated a lead off base runner, but Beck left him stranded at third base after recording three-straight fly outs to end the inning. All three fly balls were shallow enough to hold Swim at third base.
"I just tried to minimize the damage and work hard," said Beck. "The defense played great behind me."
Georgia Southern will now face The Citadel tomorrow at 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. depending on the outcome of Furman's game later today. A win for the Paladins would put the Eagles at 8 p.m. and a loss would mean a 5 p.m. contest. Either way Justin Hess (Panama City, Fla.) will take the mound for his 14th start of the season.
All baseball games this season can be heard on the Boomer 103.7 FM. Ryan Chambers returns for the call on Thursday and will be joined by former minor league pitcher Kris Draper in the radio booth. Audio for all games is also available on the web at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision.
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- Category: Baseball
- Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 05:09