Baseball Takes Home SoCon Tournament Title with 1-0 Win
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Georgia Southern Baseball team (36-24) took home the Southern Conference Tournament title with a 1-0 victory over Samford (37-23) on Sunday, May 29th, at Joe Riley Park in Charleston, S.C. The Eagles received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and will await the announcement of their NCAA Regional destination tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN. Eagle fans are invited to Gene Bishop Field House Monday, May 30th, at 12 p.m. to join the team for the selection show broadcast.
Scooter Williams (Detroit, Mich.) manufactured the Eagles' lone run of the game, scoring on a wild pitch in the third inning. Williams led off the inning with a base hit. He stole second base and reached third after the throw from the catcher sailed into centerfield.
A complete-game performance from Chris Beck (Jefferson, Ga.) made the single run stand up for the Eagles. Beck (W, 9-4) allowed only three hits and struck out nine batters to earn Tournament MVP Honors. In his two SoCon tournament starts, Beck combined for 22 strikeouts and set a SoCon Championship record for most punch outs in a tournament.
"My team stood by me one hundred percent, and I knew what they expected out of me is what I gave today," said Chris Beck. "My team never quit on me. They gave me a run early and that's all you need in a ballgame some times."
"That was one of the greatest performances I've ever seen, just unbelievable," said Head Coach Rodney Hennon. "Chris didn't give in all day long, gutted out and gave us an unbelievable performance. You never know what you are going to get in a situation like that."
The two teams met for the first time in postseason history as neither program had faced each other in either the Trans American Athletic Conference or the SoCon Baseball Tournament. The Eagles won their fifth SoCon Tournament title, the fourth in Hennon's tenure, and will make their 13th appearance in NCAA tournament play. It was the third shutout recorded in the SoCon championship game, all by Georgia Southern, with previous victories in 2000 (3-0 over Furman) and 2002 (8-0 over Charleston).
The Bulldogs' Lex Rutledge made his first start since May 17th, in a mid-week game against Troy. He lasted just under four innings before being lifted for C.K. Irby in the fourth inning. Rutledge (L, 5-6) gave up just the one run on three hits and struck out four batters.
Georgia Southern held the Bulldogs in check all day and allowed only runner to reach second base. Two errors by the Eagles' defense moved a runner into scoring position in the third inning, but a line out to first base turned into a quick double play for the GSU defense. Samford's three hits, all singles, came with two outs.
The Eagles had four players named to the All-Tournament Team in Chris Beck, Tom Richardson, Eric Phillips and Michael Burruss. Beck was also named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player and Walt Nadzak Award winner.
The NCAA selection show airs tomorrow on ESPN on Monday at 12:30 p.m. with Eagle fans encouraged to join the team at 12 p.m. at Gene Bishop Field House at Paulson Stadium. The possible regional sites include: Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Fullerton, Calif., Chapel Hill, N.C., Charlottesville, Va., Clemson, S.C., College Station, Texas, Columbia, S.C., Corvallis, Ore., Fort Worth, Texas, Gainesville, Florida, Houston, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tenn, Tallahassee, Fla., and Tempe, Ariz.
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. Scores are tweeted every half inning at twitter.com/GSScores.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Sunday, 29 May 2011 18:27