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3 Eagle pitchers drafted by MLB

Former Georgia Southern golfer to play in U.S. Open


June 10, 2014

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    Even though the 2013–2014 sports season at Georgia Southern came to a close last weekend in Tallahassee, this week still has been a pretty good one in the Eagle Nation.
    The Major League Baseball draft was held over the weekend, and three Georgia Southern pitchers were selected. Junior Sam Howard, the ace of the Eagles’ staff for most of the season, was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the third round as the 82nd overall pick.
    Howard sported a 2.35 ERA for the 2013 season and saved his best for last. Down the home stretch of the season, he allowed just four earned runs in the entire month of May and capped off his Eagle career with a complete-game shutout of the No. 5 nationally seeded Florida State Seminoles in the NCAA regional.
    Junior Josh Wirsu was selected in the 30th round of the draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Wirsu was named the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year and led the Eagles with a 9-3 record. He had a 2.44 ERA in 16 starts this season.
    Junior Eric Alonzo, drafted in the 40th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Calif., was third on the team with 27 appearances. In his 52.1 innings pitched, Alonzo had a 3.61 ERA, with most of his work coming out of the bullpen.
    I can’t imagine Howard would stick around after being a third-round draft pick, but Wirsu and Alonzo have a decision to make. As late-round picks, they may decide to come back to Georgia Southern for their senior years. Selfishly, I would love to see the Eagles get those guys back for the 2015 baseball season. But regardless of whether stay or decide to go ahead and pursue a professional baseball career now, they have made the Eagle Nation proud. Good luck to all three of these guys and members of the 2014 senior class as they continue their careers.
    Georgia Southern golf continues to make headlines. This time, it’s a former Eagle great making some noise in the professional ranks. Georgia Southern alum Aron Price will play in the U.S. Open this weekend at Pinehurst, N.C. He shot a 2-under par 142 at Quail Valley Country Club to grab the final U.S. Open qualifying spot at the Vero Beach, Fla., sectional qualifier.
    Price is one of five Eagles to compete in the NCAA national championship as an individual. He did so as a senior in 2004. He was also a member of the 2001 and 2002 Georgia Southern squads that made NCAA championship appearances. Eagle golf made NCAA regional appearances in all four years of his career and won the 2003 Southern Conference championship.
    After his Georgia Southern career was over, Price won the 2004 Players Amateur and came up just short at the 2004 U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He currently is on the Web.com tour and has made four cuts in 10 tournaments played this year. Price is the first Georgia Southern alum to qualify for a major since Blake Adams finished in the top 10 at the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, S.C. Adams also posted a 21st-place finish at the 2012 U.S. Open but since has battled injuries and eventually had hip surgery that sidelined him since early 2013.
    This week, Price will be grouped with fellow Australians Aaron Baddeley and amateur Oliver Goss and will tee off at 8:24 a.m. in Thursday-morning’s first round of play. Friday afternoon, the trio will tee off at 2:09 p.m. and will begin on the 10th hole. The Eagle Nation would love to see another one of its own in the hunt over the weekend at a major.
    Good luck, Aron! GATA!

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