Baseball Set to Face Top-Ranked Florida Tuesday
STATESBORO, Ga. - The Georgia Southern Baseball team (7-5) travels back to the state of Florida to face the top-ranked Florida Gators (10-1) at 7 p.m. at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. The SEC regular-season champions, the Gators, are coming off a trip to the College World Series and a 47-17 season. Florida was tabbed by Baseball America as its preseason favorite and is currently the number-one ranked team in nearly every poll.
GSU is coming off a series loss to St. John's over the weekend despite a 4-3 victory on Friday night. Both bullpens factored into the decision, and only one run was allowed by either pen. Matt Murray (Spring City, Pa.) came in out of the bullpen and went the distance striking out five batters in the process. Murray earned his second win of the season after allowing only three hits and no runs in five innings.
Back-to-back doubles in the seventh inning broke open a 3-3 tie late in the game. Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) went perfect at the plate with three singles and a double in four at-bats. Burruss singled three straight times before doubling to lead off the seventh inning. Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) made his one hit count, driving in Burruss, who scored the first Eagle run in the first inning, for the winning run.
Georgia Southern is hitting over .300 at the plate and is led by Phillips' .488 batting average which ranks second-best in the Southern Conference. The Eagles recorded three triples on the week and continue to be paced by Burruss in the RBI department with 17. Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) will put his 41-game reached-base streak on the line against Florida.
The Eagle pitching staff has posted a 4.00 ERA and is tied for the lead in runners picked off in the SoCon. Chris Beck (Jefferson, Ga.) will start on the mound for Georgia Southern on Tuesday in a Johnny Wholestaff situation. Beck is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA and is holding opposing hitters to a .180 batting average.
The Gators return nearly their entire starting lineup in 2011, losing only 10 letterwinners from a year ago. They also add 11 newcomers from a recruiting class that was ranked among the top-six in the nation and are led by Preston Tucker at the plate. UF is hitting .324 as a team, and the junior rightfielder is hitting .435 with five doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs.
The Florida pitching staff has been equally impressive and owns a 1.91 ERA. The staff is highlighted by their ace Brian Johnson's 3-0 record and 0.00 ERA. Nick Maronde will take the bump for the Gators in his first start since his freshman season. The junior pitcher has made five appearances this season and has a record of 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA.
The Gators are coming off a series sweep of #24 Miami. The Hurricanes were held scoreless for nearly all of the first two games. Miami scored three runs in the eighth inning in an 8-3 Florida win and were held to just one hit on Saturday. The Hurricanes had their best chance at a victory on Sunday when they tied the contest at 2-2 in the fifth inning, before a three-run sixth inning gave the Gators the series sweep.
Georgia Southern returns home to J.I. Clements Stadium following the single game against Florida to open Southern Conference play against Furman on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Eagles will also square off with the Paladins on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m. Former Head Coach Jack Stallings will be in attendance on Saturday as a part of the Jack Stallings Day Festivities at J.I. Clements Stadium. He will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and all fans can purchase $1 admission in honor of his retired number.
To order baseball tickets for upcoming games call the Georgia Southern Athletic Ticket Office at 800-GSU-WINS. Single games tickets are available at the gate for $8 for adults and $4 for youth (3-12).
All games can be heard on 102.9 FM in Statesboro and are also available online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch. Ryan Chambers of the Georgia Southern Radio Network will call all the action.
Fans may follow Georgia Southern Baseball by visiting GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/baseball or check in at twitter.com/GSAthletics or facebook.com/GSAthletics for short updates.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Monday, 07 March 2011 12:55