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GSU golf season ends with loss at regional

Eagle baseball wraps up regular season with win


May 20, 2014

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    All good things must come to an end. But you just have to hate seeing the 2014 Georgia Southern golf season come to a close.
    It was a storybook season that included the program’s first-ever Schenkel Invitational win — the tournament it has hosted for 35 years — and another Southern Conference championship in what was the last season in the SoCon for Georgia Southern.
    The Eagles needed to finish in the top five in the San Antonio regional over the weekend to advance to the national championship. After the first round, Southern was in 7th place and just one stroke behind a fifth-place tie. The Eagles climbed into fifth place on the second day and were poised to advance to the 30-team national championship field.
    However, in Saturday’s third and final round, Southern stumbled to a 14-over-par round, and the season came to an end with an eighth-place finish (+16) in the NCAA regional. Georgia (-11) won the regional, with Georgia State (+2) finishing second, Vanderbilt (+3) third, Southern Methodist University (+4) fourth and UCLA (+5) fifth. All five teams will advance to the national championship.
    Georgia Southern baseball wrapped up the regular season with a 10-9 win at Jacksonville Tuesday. Southern enters postseason play with an overall record of 34-20 and a 15-12 mark in conference play.
    The Eagles enter the Southern Conference tournament as the No. 4 seed and will face No. 5 Appalachian State Wednesday at 10 a.m. The tournament kicks off with a win-or-go-home play-in round for the bottom four teams in the 10-team conference. The winners of those two games will face the top two seeds, No. 1 Western Carolina and No. 2 Davidson, in Wednesday’s first round. The double-elimination tournament will conclude with the winner-take-all championship game on Sunday. (For more info and a copy of the tourney bracket, click here.)
    Historically, Georgia Southern has played pretty well in the tournament. Even in down seasons like last year, the Eagles made a run to the semifinals. Southern has won five SoCon tournament championships and will look to make it six in its final appearance before moving to the Sun Belt Conference next year.
    In case you live under a rock — or don’t get ESPN — the NFL Draft was a couple of weeks ago, and Georgia Southern had two players drafted. Jerick McKinnon went in the third round as a running back to the Minnesota Vikings, and defensive back Lavelle Westbrooks went in the seventh round to the Cincinnati Bengals.
    McKinnon obviously will start behind Adrian Peterson (the other AP) on the depth chart, but hopefully he'll earn a good amount of playing time as a change-of-pace back. His versatility and athleticism could give him an opportunity to see the field as a slot receiver, kick returner or quarterback in the wildcat formation. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see how he is used at the next level.
    Westbrooks used a strong showing in the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine to boost his draft stock to be picked in the later rounds. He could see significant playing time in nickel packages and may even compete for a starting spot in the defensive backfield.
    The last time two Eagles were drafted in the same year was 1987, when Tracy Ham and Fred Stokes both were selected by the Los Angeles Rams. Hopefully, having multiple players drafted will become more of the norm at Georgia Southern after the move to FBS. It will be fun to watch this program grow into more of a household name at the national level over the next several years.

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