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New bats? No problem

GSU's Victor Roache off to a fast start

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New bats? No problem

Georgia Southern's Victor Roache, center, is congratulated by teammates after his solo home run in the sixth inning brought the Eagles within 5-4 against Georgia Tech before falling 7-4 Wednesday at J.I. Clements Stadium. Roache has three homers through the first five games of the season.

    The two big stories of the Georgia Southern baseball offseason were the change to new bats designed to play more like wood, and the broken leg, now healed, of sophomore outfielder Victor Roache.
    Five games into the season, neither has seemed to bother Roache.
    He leads the Eagles (3-2) at the plate in average (.400), runs batted in (8), home runs (3), runs (5 – five tied), total bases (17) and slugging (.850). 
    Ever since an 8-6, extra-inning loss to George Washington led off the season, in which the Eagles batted just .231, coach Rodney Hennon has been pleased with the Eagles’ hitting throughout the order.
    “I felt like we were a little antsy opening night,” he said, “and since then I think we’ve taken a pretty solid approach there. We’ve got to make some improvements and the big thing is we’ve got to continue to get better.”
    The Eagles (3-2) take a .292 batting average and a 2.54 team earned run average into this weekend’s three-game series against North Carolina Central (0-4), and Hennon feels the team learned a lot about itself after taking the series against GWU and splitting with No. 21 Georgia Tech.
    “I don’t think there’s a year that goes by when you don’t find out some things early in those opening weekends,” said the GSU coach.
    The expected starters will mirror last weekend’s games, with Chris Beck (5 IP, 2 ER, 7 K) getting the start tonight at 6 p.m. Junior College transfer Josh Adams is projected to start Saturday against the N.C. Central, and Will Middour, who pitched five scoreless innings in Sunday’s 18-0 win over GWU, looks to close out the series again.
    The N.C. Central Eagles have had a rough go of things. Their closest game so far in the 2011 season was an 11-2 loss Tuesday to Duke. Temple swept them in the opening series, winning the three-game set by a combined 64-17.
    Of the 75 runs allowed by NCCU through four games, 19 were unearned off of 12 errors.
    Of course, the numbers don’t mean much this early in the season.
    “It’s early. Four or five games into the season I don’t think you can put much stock in anybody’s numbers,” said Hennon. “Nobody’s played enough baseball yet to where statistics mean a whole lot. You look at those numbers more when you get 20 games into the season.”
    Since allowing five earned runs in the season-opening loss, Georgia Southern has tightened things up on defense.
    The Eagles have since committed six errors, but allowed only two earned runs while turning six double plays.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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