Pitching roles change from week to week, but in college baseball, unless you’ve got consistency on Friday and Saturday, you rarely have a chance.
Georgia Southern’s ace, Sam Howard, combined with Saturday starter Josh Wirsu, definitely give the Eagles a chance.
Throw Howard’s record (4-3) out the window. He’s given the Eagles (24-11, 7-5 Southern Conference) a chance in each ballgame he’s started.
Wirsu (6-2) leads the team in strikeouts with 53.
But consider Howard’s losses. He went six innings and allowed two earned runs in a 3-2 loss to Ohio. He went seven innings, struck out eight and allowed only four hits in a 1-0 loss at Elon. Hot-hitting Davidson chased him out of his shortest outing — he left in the fifth after striking out five in a 5-2 loss.
His earned run average (1.64) tells the real story.
“Sam consistently throws the ball well and gives us a chance to win,” GSU coach Rodney Hennon said. “He’s had some tough luck at times, but he just continues to go out there and compete for us.”
Half of the 18 runs allowed by Howard have been unearned, and he has struck out 52 batters in 49.1 innings. He has walked only eight in eight starts.
Howard will face UNC Greensboro today at 6 p.m.
The Spartans (15-16, 2-6) visit for a three-game series, and while they don’t have the wins to show for it, they know how to swing the bat.
“Offensively they’ve put up good numbers this year,” Hennon said. “They’ve got some of the best numbers in the league coming in.”
UNCG averages more than six runs per contest and bats .308 as a team.
The Eagles have been hot and cold offensively. Though they average 7.6 runs per game and hit .306 collectively, the bats have been nearly silent in the losses. Most recently, the Eagles lost 13-2 at Georgia Tech.
“You’ve just got to move onto the next game,” Hennon said. “We put ourselves behind the eight ball early. You put it behind you and get ready for the weekend.”
Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson, who will be in town for the Blue/White football game on Saturday at noon, will throw out the first pitch on Saturday in a 4:30 p.m. game, and the series concludes Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.