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GSU softball leaving SoCon as champs

Eagles baseball finally wakes up against Furman


May 06, 2014

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    Georgia Southern has won the regular-season Southern Conference softball championship for the third and final time in program history. The Eagles leave the SoCon for the Sun Belt after this season, and they will leave on top as regular-season champs — but Southern wants the tournament title, too. As regular-season champions, the Eagles will enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed.
    Georgia Southern may have clinched the regular-season title over the weekend, but it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns for the Eagles. Samford swept the Eagles in Saturday’s doubleheader with 1-0 and 2-1 wins, but a Furman loss to Appalachian State Saturday clinched the title for the Eagles. Southern salvaged Sunday’s regular-season finale by a score of 7-4.
    The softball Eagles complete the regular season with an overall record of 33-19 and a 15-6 mark in SoCon play. Georgia Southern will face No. 8 seed Elon in Wednesday’s first-round tournament action. Chattanooga will be the No. 2 seed with a 13-7 conference record and will face No. 7 seed Appalachian State. Furman finished the regular season in third at 12-8 and will meet sixth-seeded Western Carolina. Fourth-seeded Samford will face No. 5 UNC Greensboro in Wednesday’s nightcap.
    The Southern Conference softball tournament is double elimination and is being held in Greensboro, N.C. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
    Georgia Southern baseball got just what the doctor ordered in a sweep of the Furman Paladins over the weekend. The Eagles had been losers in nine of their last 13 games since sweeping The Citadel during the first weekend of April. Southern fell to Kennesaw State Wednesday night by a score of 9-3 before going to Furman and winning three straight over the weekend.
    The Eagles got stellar pitching all series long as the Paladins didn’t manage to score a run until the first inning of Sunday’s game 3 — the only earned run allowed all weekend. Southern shut out Furman by scores of 6-0 and 1-0 in the first two games of the series and won the finale 7-2.
    Josh Wirsu picked up the win in his first Friday start of the season by allowing just four hits and striking out nine in 6 2/3 innings. Jason Richman slammed the door shut by allowing just one base runner in the final 2 1/3 innings.
    Saturday’s game was a pitcher’s duel between Southern’s Sam Howard and Furman’s Jacques de Gruy; the two combined for 17 2/3 innings pitched, no runs, nine total hits, five walks and 11 strikeouts. Eric Alonzo pitched the ninth and 10th innings and picked up the win for the Eagles, who finally pushed a run across in the top of the 11th. Matt McCall got the last out of the game to record the save.
    Georgia Southern’s offense showed up Sunday as the Eagles scored in five of the first six innings to cruise to a 7-2 win. The Paladins scored a run in each of the first two innings, but Southern’s pitching once again locked down Furman’s offense as Ryan Frederick, McCall and Richman combined to keep the Paladins off the scoreboard for the final seven innings. Aaron Mizell led the offense by driving in three runs on the afternoon.
    The Eagles will close out the home portion of their schedule this weekend when Western Carolina comes to town. The Catamounts (32-14, 16-4) are currently in first place in the SoCon. Georgia Southern (31-19, 13-11) has improved to fourth in the standings and will be done with conference play after this weekend. A series win this weekend would be a huge momentum boost going into the Southern Conference tournament, which will be held May 20–25 in Charleston, S.C.
    Finally, Georgia Southern golf has learned that it will play in the San Antonio NCAA Regional to be held May 15–17. Other teams of note in the Eagles’ regional include Georgia, Central Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia State and the College of Charleston.
    The top five teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championship, which will be held May 23–28 in Kansas.

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