Eagles Open SoCon Tournament Against Elon
STATESBORO, Ga. - In their 21-straight Southern Conference Tournament appearance, the Georgia Southern Baseball team enters the 2012 rendition as the six seed. The Eagles have appeared in every tournament since joining the league for baseball in 1992. GSU, who is defending their 2011 SoCon Tournament Title, will face Elon at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in their first game at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.
Elon (31-24, 20-10) is no stranger to Georgia Southern (30-26, 15-15) in Greenville, where the two teams squared off in the first-ever championship game at Fluor Field. A three-run shot by Kyle Blackburn sparked the Eagles to a 7-3 victory in that title game and sent the 2009 squad to the Fullerton Regional.
This year's GSU team is led by the SoCon's top hitter, Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.), who leads the league in both batting average and hits. Phillips upped his school record total for career hits to 332 with six hits in the three-game series against Wofford. The senior co-captain is hitting .393 on the year with a team-best 21 doubles and 52 RBIs.
Two other Eagles are also hitting above .300 on the year, including the Southern Conference's Freshman of the Year, Chase Griffin (Leesburg, Ga.). Griffin leads the team with 10 home runs and is hitting .306 in 46 starts behind the plate. Fellow newcomer, T.D. Davis (Evans, Ga.), is third on the team with 59 hits this season and is hitting .304 in his junior campaign.
Georgia Southern faced Elon in the regular season back in early March during a stretch of 9 losses in 11 games. The Phoenix completed a three-game sweep with a Ryan Kinsella walk-off single in the 11th inning on Sunday. Kinsella also tied that game in the seventh inning with a three-run home run. The long ball proved the difference in the series opener as well after Sebastian Gomez hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to score the winning run in a 4-3 game.
It has been over two months since the two teams last met, and the Eagles have since solidified their weekend pitching rotation with Justin Hess (Panama City, Fla.) and Will Middour (Atlanta, Ga.) joining Chris Beck (Jefferson, Ga.) and their bullpen with Jarret Leverett (Eatonton, Ga.) and Kyle Rowe (Valdosta,Ga.) sharing closer duties.
Beck will face Dylan Clark, who started game two in the regular season, in game one of the tournament. Clark allowed one run on seven hits to GSU back on March 10th and struck out eight batters in seven quality innings. Beck tossed one of his four complete games in the series opener at Elon and allowed three earned runs on eight hits and three walks. The junior right-hander also struck out eight batters in eight innings.
All baseball games this season can be heard on the Boomer 103.7 FM. "The Voice of the Eagles" Chris Blair will have the call on Wednesday alongside former minor league pitcher Kris Draper. Audio for all games is also available on the web at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision.
Fans can follow their Eagles at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com or receive short updates at facebook.com/GSAthletics, twitter.com/GSAthletics or on Google+ at gplus.to/GSAthletics.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 04:57