February 21, 2013
Baseball season has started at Georgia Southern — and it has started with a bang.
The Eagles opened their 2013 season last weekend by hosting the University of Georgia. The announced attendance for each of the three games exceeded 3,000 — the listed capacity of J.I. Clements Stadium. All three games ranked in the top five in all-time attendance, and the 9,225 total weekend attendance was the largest of any weekend series in program history. Even better, the Eagles took two out of three from UGA.
Southern left 10 runners on base in Friday night’s 6-5 loss to the Bulldogs, but the Eagles bounced back Saturday with a 3-2 victory. Georgia Southern took the drama out of Sunday’s rubber game early by posting four runs in the first and three more in the second to bury the Bulldogs in an early 7-0 hole. The Eagles would take the series easily with an 11-2 win. Southern was one timely hit on Friday away from a sweep.
Winning two out of three over Georgia is a nice way to start the season, but it’s a long season, and Southern needs to continue playing well. The Eagles hit the road on Tuesday to take on the Florida Gators before hosting the Indiana Hoosiers for a three-game set this weekend. The Eagles then host Georgia Tech for two games next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Georgia Southern has always stood toe-to-toe with high major programs in baseball. In fact, the Eagles have been to the College World Series in Omaha twice, most recently in 1990. So, if you have never checked out Eagle baseball, I highly recommend coming out to J.I. Clements Stadium and enjoying a ball game.
In basketball news, it’s more of the same for the Georgia Southern men. I feel like a broken record, but this team is capable of beating anyone in the conference; the Eagles showed that by knocking off Davidson and Charleston earlier this season. But this squad just isn’t consistent at all and is more than capable of losing to anyone in the league as well.
Southern made the swing through Charleston over the weekend, beating The Citadel handily Thursday night and then falling at the hands of the College of Charleston Saturday afternoon. Against The Citadel, hot shooting allowed the Eagles to jump on the Bulldogs early and take an 18-point lead into halftime. Southern stretched the lead to as many as 32 in the second half en route to a 78-57 victory.
The Eagles were anything but hot for the first 32 minutes of Saturday’s game against the Cougars, however. Charleston led by 11 at the half and stretched the lead to 23 with 7:51 left, but Georgia Southern showed tremendous heart down the stretch and made a game out of it. Suffocating defense sparked a 16-1 run, which helped the Eagles cut the deficit to six with just over two minutes left. But it was too little too late, as the Cougars held on for the 69-60 win.
Georgia Southern now stands at 5-9 in conference play with four games remaining. Elon and Davidson each have three-game leads in their respective divisions, and Charleston has a firm grip on one of the two remaining first-round tournament byes. It looks like the other bye will come down to Samford, Appalachian State and Western Carolina.
Women’s basketball picked up a big win over the weekend, as they beat Samford at home by a score of 52-51 to improve their SoCon record to 4-11. The ladies played host to first-place Chattanooga Monday night (final score not available as of press time) and will travel to Wofford on Saturday and Furman on Monday — two teams Southern is battling for tournament seeding. The Eagles need a strong finish to push them up to the middle of the pack in the SoCon.
We are down to the final few regular-season games of basketball season. Anything can happen at the SoCon tournament in Asheville — and honestly, in a one-bid league like the Southern Conference, it’s all about that one weekend in March. It sure would be fun to see these two teams get hot and make a run at this thing.