After stranding runners on second and third in the top of the ninth of Tuesday’s 4-3 loss at No. 22 Georgia Tech, the Georgia Southern Eagles gave up eight runs in the second inning Wednesday to drop the series in a 12-3 contest Wednesday.
The Eagles (11-7, 3-0 Southern Conference) need to have a short memory.
They turn their attention on a three-game series against Samford, the surprise of the SoCon early in the season.
"It was disappointing," said GSU coach Rodney Hennon about Wednesday’s loss, "but at the same time, we’ve got to turn our focus on Samford. I think that’s the most important thing right now, just putting [Wednesday] behind us. We talked about what happened and my concerns right after the game, and once we got back to the hotel and got off the bus, we talked about turning our focus to Samford."
The Bulldogs (13-6, 3-0) opened SoCon play by sweeping preseason favorite The Citadel, and took two from Alabama-Birmingham in weekday action. Samford is 8-2 since being swept in four by Jacksonville on Feb. 25-27.
Despite the midweek stumble by GSU, the Eagles continue leading the conference offensively, with a team batting average of .324. They have scored a league-high 144 runs. Eric Phillips leads the way, batting .500 with 33 hits in 66 at-bats.
The big problem has been away from J.I. Clements Stadium. The Eagles re 1-3 on the road, while Samford is 9-1 at home in Birmingham, Ala., where they will host GSU beginning today at 7 p.m.
"I think we’ve been playing with some confidence," Hennon said. "We had a tough couple of days up here mid-week, but obviously sweeping that Furman series was big for us in the league. The same can be said about them, going down to Charleston and sweeping The Citadel. Going in I think both teams look at it as a big series, but every weekend is big."
Outfielder Scooter Williams, who missed the first week of the season with injury, went down in Tuesday’s game. Arthur Owens, Victor Roache and D.J. Henderson are possible replacements for the weekend series. Owens has missed action due to a concussion, and saw limited action in the final game against Georgia Tech.
"[Wednesday] was the first day he was available with all of the precautions," said Hennon, "and we can put Victor out there. We’ll make a decision [today]."
The weekend rotation remains the same, with Chris Beck (2-0, 1.73 ERA, 35 K, 9 BB), Josh Adams (4-1, 3.25 ERA, 18 K, 5 BB) and Andy Moye (1-1, 4.32 ERA) will go against the Bulldogs.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.