I don’t care who you are or who you’re playing – 11 wins in a row is pretty darn impressive.
Georgia Southern has done it and done it in style. During the streak, they went from having four guys in the starting lineup batting over .300 and, don’t look now, but that number’s up to eight. Well, it’s really seven, but I’ll give Michel Burruss the benefit of the doubt at .299.
Catcher Randy J. Williams got his number over .300 (.302, to be exact) with a homer in last weekend’s series against Davidson, and the Eagles (33-19, 19-8 Southern Conference) have done everything they could over the last three weeks to make a late-season run.
Now for the bad news.
In order for GSU to have had a shot at a regular-season SoCon championship it needed some help from Appalachian State. All the Mountaineers had to do was win any one of the three games last weekend against College of Charleston – at home no less – and the Eagles would have won the title hands down with a sweep against The Citdel this coming weekend.
Heck, with the thunderstorms lingering around Boone, N.C. last weekend, even a rainout would have sufficed.
Well, Mother Nature didn’t help GSU and all three games in Boone were played. As if Georgia Southern fans needed yet another reason to hate App State, those Mountaineers couldn’t manage to win one measly stinkin’ little game. They got swept at home (I still don’t believe it) by the Cougars, and now all the Eagles have left to play for is the No. 2 seed in the SoCon tournament.
That may not be such a bad thing, as GSU won the league last season as two seed, but they’ll still need to get two-of-three from The Citadel to make that happen, and that won’t be easy.
Don’t forget Flipper
Before the Eagles decide their fate against The Citadel in a three-game series that starts Thursday, they’ll have to remember that they’re playing Jacksonville today. The Dolphins aren’t exactly world beaters, sitting at 23-25 and 12-11 in Atlantic Sun play, but they did give GSU a handful at J.I. Clements 6-5 game won by the Eagles back in mid-April.
Now the Eagles travel to the fish bowl in search of their 12th win in a row. It may seem like a pointless game at this point in the season, but if GSU keeps going like it’s going, a 15-game winning streak to end the season will catch the notice of an NCAA selection committee which may otherwise not be paying attention.
Georgia Southern’s golf team had some decent showings this season.
It had a first-place finish at Francis Marion back in September in a field that included a handful of other SoCon schools, and it finished in the top five four times in 12 tournaments.
The best showing perhaps was the SoCon tournament, in which the Eagles finished second behind a Furman team that it had previously beaten.
Those aren’t the gaudiest of stats, but when you consider that Georgia Southern is perennially a Top-60 team and has made at-large bids to the NCAA tournament the norm and not the exception, it’s no surprise that they garnered a spot once again in the regionals.
And this is one of those years when you feel like they got in just because they’re Georgia Southern. That says a lot for a Division I mid-major program that historically has required an automatic bid to get into NCAA tournaments in all the other sports.
Golf’s a funny game too, because – outside of the Top 5 – as long as you’re one of the 60 or 70 schools in the conversation, you will always be viewed as a threat.
Basically, that means a team like Georgia Southern can finish ahead of schools like Clemson, Georgia or pretty much any ACC or SEC team and it isn’t even considered an upset.
The Eagles are in a field of 13 teams this weekend in Alpharetta, and if they can be one of the top five in the group, they’ll move on to the NCAA championship round.
Although they haven’t been since 2005 when Georgia won the national title, it won’t surprise too many people if GSU makes it back this year.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.