Eagles Prepare for Southern Conference Tournament
STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern begins the defense of its 2009 Southern Conference Championship Wednesday against Western Carolina, a team that took the regular season series two games to one from the Eagles in Statesboro.
The Eagles enter the 2010 Southern Conference Tournament as the No. 3-seed after posting a 19-11 SoCon record this season, 34-22 overall. The Catamounts earned the sixth seed with a 16-13-1 record in league play, 34-19-1 overall. Georgia Southern owns the all-time series lead 50-42.
Georgia Southern enters the contest 12-3 in its last 15 games since dropping the series to Western Carolina, including a 12-game win streak, while the Catamounts went 9-6 to close out the season.
Offensively, the Eagles are led by First Team All-Southern Conference selection Kyle Blackburn (Marietta, Ga.). The first baseman/designated hitter is hitting .349 this season with 17 home runs and 74 RBI. Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) and Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) each earned Second Team honors, while Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) and Arthur Owens (Fayetteville, Ga.) were named to the All-Freshman squad.
Phillips leads the team with a .355 batting average and has seven home runs and 56 RBI, second on the team, while Payne is hitting .343 and is 43-of-45 in stolen base attempts with 66 runs scored. Burruss is hitting .324 with 26 RBI, and Owens has a .312 batting average with 30 runs driven in.
The Eagles’ pitching staff is led in wins by Andy Moye (Alpharetta, Ga.) with an 8-4 record. Moye owns 73 strikeouts, while Jake Brown (Forest Hill, Md.) is tops with a 3.95 ERA and 77 strikeouts with just 17 walks. Matt Murray (Spring City, Pa.) is 6-3 this season, and has 70 strikeouts.
Matt Benedict leads the Catamounts’ rotation, posting an 8-1 record in 11 starts with a 2.45 ERA, allowing just 22 earned runs in 80.2 innings pitched. He has 58 strikeouts, but has allowed 30 walks.
Tyler Kirkpatrick, Matt Johns and Ross Heffley are all hitting above .350 for Western Carolina, going .354, .353 and .352 respectively. Kirkpatrick has 13 home runs with 53 RBI, while Johns has a team-high 19 doubles and has stolen 20 bases in 28 attempts. Heffley has 11 home runs and a team-high 61 RBI.
After the Catamounts, the Eagles will take on either No. 2-seed College of Charleston or No. 7-seed Appalachian State Thursday, May 27. Georgia Southern took 2-of-3 from Appalachian State at home, while Charleston swept the Eagles on the road. The winner of Bracket One will face the winner of Bracket Two (The Citadel, Elon, Samford and Furman) for the conference championship.
First pitch between Georgia Southern and Western Carolina is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in Charleston, S.C. on Wednesday, May 26.
Fans can listen live as Ryan Chambers and Aaron Eubanks call all the action from Riley Park on WPMX 102.9 FM locally or globally at www.GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com. Live stats will also be available, please click here, and fans can follow score updates at twitter.com/GSScores.
Ticket prices for the tournament are set at $10 for a single session pass and $30 for an all-sessions pass. All seats are general admission and children aged five and under are admitted for free. To purchase tickets, call 843-953-3647.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Tuesday, 25 May 2010 11:17