2012 SoCon Baseball Tournament
The Citadel 8, College of Charleston 6 (11 innings)
Georgia Southern 19, Elon 2
Appalachian State 7, Furman 5
Western Carolina vs. Samford, late
5 p.m., The Citadel vs. Georgia Southern
8 p.m., Appalachian St. vs. Samford-Western Carolina winner
10 a.m., College of Charleston vs. Elon
1 p.m., Furman vs. Samford-Western Carolina loser
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Behind new season highs in hits and runs, Georgia Southern's sixth-seeded baseball team exploded for a 19-2 victory over No. 3 seed Elon in its first game of the Southern Conference Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Fluor Field.
The offense also backed a seven-inning quality start from starting pitcher Chris Beck.
“It was a well-pitched game and that got us off to a good start," GSU head coach Rodney Hennon said. "Our team just came in and responded and executed very well."
GSU (31-26) will play at 5 p.m. today against No. 7 seed The Citadel (25-31), which beat No. 2 seed College of Charleston, 8-6, in 11 innings Wednesday morning.
GSU rallied from an early deficit to score six runs in the fifth inning. Brent Pugh broke the inning open with a two-RBI single after a sacrifice bunt by Hunter Thomas moved two runners into scoring position. Eric Phillips hit a double in fair territory just behind the first baseman to drive in the fourth run of the frame and chase Elon starter Dylan Clark from the game.
“We didn’t waste any at-bats today,” Hennon said. “We had a good approach and our guys were not trying to do too much. We kept the game simple.”
Clark (9-4), the first of seven pitchers for Elon (31-25), lasted just 4 2/3 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits. The inning continued even after the pitching change and GSU's Chase Griffin and Garren Palmer drove in the final two runs of the frame off of reliever Kyle Webb.
Beck (6-7) took full advantage of the big lead and retired the side in order over his final three innings. The junior right-hander allowed just one run on five hits and has now allowed only two earned runs in three career SoCon Tournament starts. He also has 28 strikeouts in 24 career tournament innings.
“You just have to be hot at the right time," Beck said. "You have to bear down when you get a lead like that in baseball. You can’t blink, and you’ve got to keep going."
After adding a single run in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh inning, GSU batted around for the second time in the game and added nine runs in the eighth inning to tie the SoCon Tournament record for margin of victory set back in 1992.
Michael Burruss, Griffin, Tyler Avera and Pugh all had four-hits days and combined for 16 of the team's season-high 23 hits. Burruss tallied his first multi-hit day since a four-hit performance at Florida on April 17, and Pugh tied career highs in hits and RBIs.
Elon struck first in the game with a run in the fourth inning after a triple by Alex Swim plated a leadoff base runner, but Beck left him stranded at third base after recording three straight fly outs to end the inning. All three fly balls were shallow enough to hold Swim at third base.
“I just tried to minimize the damage and work hard,” Beck said. “The defense played great behind me.”
GSU's Justin Hess (4-3, 4.02 earned-run average) will take the mound for his 14th start of the season today.
The game can be heard on the Boomer 103.7 FM.