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My Take with Matt Yogus - Eagles put up-and-down season behind them
Matt Yogus Web
Matt Yogus - photo by Associated Press

Matt Yogus-060711

Listen to "My Take with Matt Yogus"

Nobody wants to go out with a loss.
    The problem is, when you’re in a postseason tournament, everybody’s season ends with a loss. Well, everybody but one, anyway.
    Andy Moye’s last game as a Georgia Southern Eagle was somewhat of a microcosm of the season as a whole.
    Yeah, it was a loss.
    But Moye took the mound against the South Carolina Gamecocks. They came in as the No. 1 seed in the Columbia, S.C. regional, the No. 4 overall seed in the 64-team tournament and the defending College World Series champions.
    And Moye had to go head to head with their ace, Michael Roth.
    As the Eagles fell 2-1 in a game that saw only one earned run, Moye was every bit as good as the kid many say is the best pitcher in the country.
    Both struck out four, both walked only two, both threw just over 110 pitches and Moye went the distance.
    Base hits were at a premium for both squads, and at the end of the day, Moye may just have saved his best stuff for last.
    Moye’s been drafted twice — once out of high school and once as a junior at GSU. It would be a shocker if he’s not drafted today and he’ll almost certainly get the call Wednesday before the draft is said and done, and he’ll continue his baseball career in the professional ranks.
    But he’ll always feel just a little bit of unfinished business left over from his days as an Eagle.
    On paper, Moye should be thrilled with the way he played in his last career start. But knowing Moye, he’s not. And that just about sums up GSU’s season.
    Let’s take a look back at the roller-coaster ride of 2011.

The good
    The Eagles had plenty to be happy about during the regular season.
    — They had the best power hitter in the country. Sophomore Victor Roache mashed 30 homers and 84 RBIs to lead the nation and was the talk of the Columbia regional.
 — They took down the No. 1-ranked team in the nation for the first time, blanking the Florida Gators — the future SEC tournament champions — 7-0 in mid-week action earlier in the season. A lot of folks in Gainesville that day chalked the loss up to four Florida errors, but it’s hard to make the claim that you gave a game away when you couldn’t even score.
 In a three-hit shutout, the Eagles only needed one of those seven runs to get the job done.
    -The Eagles had to play the College of Charleston six times. All six were in Charleston, S.C, three were in the SoCon tournament, and the Eagles won four times.
    I don’t care who you are, that’s not too shabby.
    -2011 Southern Conference champs. That’s all you’ve really got to say about that.

The bad

    — One word you can’t use to describe the 2011 Eagles is streaky.
    The longest winning streak of the season? Four (twice).
    The longest losing streak of the season? Four (once).
    The Eagles had a good season. They finished 36-26, and won at least 31 games for the 12th season in a row.
    But they never really put it together. The difference between a good regular season and a great regular season is being able to put together that eight- or nine-game winning streak. It never happened.
    Getting swept by UNC Greensboro and North Florida were the low points.
    — There just wasn’t enough depth.
    It’s almost impossible to put together a lengthy winning streak without a lot of pitching depth. The talent at the top — Chris Beck and Moye out of the gate and Matt Murray out of the bullpen — was as good as anyone in the country, but there was too much inconsistency after that.
    Out in the field, it was the same way.
    Second baseman Ben Morgan and third basemen Brent Pugh were a pair of freshmen who got some much-needed work in the field and at the plate, but were asked to do way too much, all things considered.
    For all intents and purposes, Tom Richardson was the only catcher on the team, and Shawn Payne was the highlight defensively in an outfield that could at best be described as inconsistent.
    Pinch hit situations were limited basically to Arthur Owens and a pair of freshmen — Garren Palmer and Stryker Brown.
    — The worst news? All three seniors that are leaving the team are going to be hard to replace. Somebody will have to fill the void for Payne (Scooter Williams?), Moye (Josh Adams?) and first baseman Steve Cochrane (?????). Murray will likely get drafted as a junior, and it’s almost impossible to replace a closer who was voted SoCon Pitcher of the Year.
    Junior Eric Phillips put up draftable numbers at the plate, hitting a consistent .400 all season, and if he comes back for his senior year, it will be a huge boost.
    Now, the next step is to sit back and wait to see what the 2011 MLB Draft will do to GSU’s eligible juniors and, oh yeah, incoming freshmen.

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

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