Georgia Southern AMR
After a disappointing seven-game road trip to finish April, the Georgia Southern Baseball team looks to get back on track with in their final homestand of the year. The Eagles will wrap up the remainder of the home slate of seven games starting with a 6 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday against Charleston Southern.
After a 9-1 start to the month of April, Georgia Southern (24-21) finished the second half of the month with a 2-5 record after a pair of road series losses to Indiana and The Citadel. However, J.I. Clements Stadium, where the Eagles are 15-7 this season, has been a site of recent success. GSU is an impressive 10-3 at home since a March 4th win over North Florida and has won all three of their home Southern Conference series.
Sam Howard, whose last win came against the Buccaneers on March 6th, will take the mound on Wednesday and squares off with Charleston Southern's (16-27) Kevin Buran. Howard has not appeared since an April 10th start against Kennesaw State and is 2-1 with a 7.04 ERA in 15.1 innings this season. Buran, who will make his eighth start of the year, is 0-4 with a 5.45 ERA.
Eric Phillips, who tied Greg Dowling for second place in the career hits column on Sunday, leads the team with a .427 batting average in home games and is hitting .375 on the year. Phillips is not the only Eagle chasing a record, Scooter Williams finished the Citadel series with seven consecutive hits and reached base 9 consecutive times putting himself halfway to tying both NCAA records. Williams also put up the first five hit day since February 20, 2011 by an Eagle on Sunday.
The Georgia Southern pitching staff lowered their ERA to 4.80 on the year after a 3.34 ERA in April. Justin Hess' solidification of the pitching rotation was a major boon to the staff last month, and he led all starters with a 2.28 ERA and a 2-1 record in four starts. Led by closer Kyle Rowe's 2.19 ERA and three saves, the bullpen was 6-0 with a solid 3.07 ERA in April.
Charleston Southern (16-27) finds themselves in a similar situation in the Big South as the Eagles are in the Southern Conference. The Buccaneers currently sit in sixth place after dropping a weekend series at Presbyterian. The road has not been kind to CSU, where they are 4-12 this season, but they nearly upset Clemson a week ago.
A pair of freshmen lead Charleston Southern's offense. Chase Shelton, who went three-for-four in the earlier meeting this season, leads the team with a .338 batting average, 11 doubles and three home runs; while lead off hitter Bobby Ison is hitting .333 in 43 starts in center field. Ison capped off his weekend with five hits in a 6-3 loss on Sunday.
The Eagles picked up their 14th-straight win over the Buccaneers with a 10-1 victory earlier this season. Howard earned the win after striking out four in 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. The offense was cold for the first four innings but struck for seven combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings to erase an early CSU lead. Phillips plated four of those runs with three hits and a walk.