Baseball Opens 2009 Campaign Against Presbyterian
STATESBORO, Ga. Georgia Southern Baseball officially opens the 2009 campaign on Friday night (Feb. 20), playing host to Presbyterian in a three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Ryan Chambers will call the action on Eagle 102.9 FM and via the internet at www.GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com with the pregame show starting 30 minutes prior to tip. Due to basketball games at home, Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game will be carried live on 94.9 FM.
The Eagles should benefit from playing 12 of their first 13 games at J.I. Clements, a place they have recorded a near .700 winning percentage over the past four years.
“No question we have a pretty good track record at J.I. Clements. It’s nice to be able to start out with that kind of home stand to get the season underway. Hopefully we can get ourselves off to a good start, get some confidence and get some momentum early in the season before we head into conference play,” said head coach Rodney Hennon. “We’ve got a great facility to play in and great support from our fan base. I think that any time you can play at home there’s a comfort level for any team.”
Griffin Benedict (Dunwoody/St. Pius), Ty Wright (Montrose/ABAC) and A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, AL/Paul Bryant) all earned Preseason First Team All-Southern Conference and Third Team All-America accolades. Phillip Porter (Marietta/Sprayberry) was a Preseason Second Team All-SoCon pick. Add to the mix Matt Miller (Canton/Woodstock) who returns after a medical redshirt season in 2008, the Eagles could again boast of one of the nation’s top offenses.
“We have some options and I think this team has an opportunity to be very productive offensively. We did a great job with the bunt game in the fall. With our experience we have a lot of guys that understand how to play the game and what their roles are within our team. Combine all that, we have a chance to be productive and score at times in different ways than what we did last year,” said Hennon. “I don’t know that we’re always going to be the team that will sit back and wait on the home run. We still have some guys that are capable of doing those things, but I also feel good about the fact that we have a group of guys that are capable of manufacturing runs if we need.
Kyle Kamppi (Savannah/Benedictine) headlines the pitchers as the only senior on staff. Last year he started in the bullpen, before getting a midweek start then eventually moving into the number one starter role. Hennon sees Kamppi helping fill a hole in the bullpen again.
Kyle has done any role we have asked him to perform in; he went out, competed and did an outstanding job for us. We feel like he is most suited for the bullpen so we will use him late in ball games. It could be either in a set up type role or he could be our closer.”
Presbyterian returns 16 letterwinners, including seven starters and four pitchers, off last year’s 13-40 team. This will be PC’s first year in the Big South after competing as an independent last year. Georgia Southern and the Blue Hose have not met since the late 1950s. Presbyterian was picked to finish 10th in the Big South.
PC batted .267 as a team with a .958 fielding percentage and 6.85 ERA. Junior Jesse Harmon will get the nod on Friday night. He went 1-8 with an 8.59 ERA last year but threw two of the team’s three complete games. Cory Lyda led the team batting .349 with 15 doubles, three triples and scored 35 runs. He walked 28 times and struck out only 24 in 175 at-bats. Chris Powell (Jr, RHP) and Andrew Foushee (Fr, RHP) are scheduled to start Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Thursday, 19 February 2009 00:13