In the final home series of the year this weekend at J.I. Clements Stadium, Georgia Southern's baseball team will host Western Carolina in a three-game series starting today.
All fans with a Verizon Phone will receive $1 dollar admission this weekend as a part of Verizon Wireless Customer Appreciation weekend.
The Eagles currently sit in sixth place in the Southern Conference standings but can move into fifth place with a series victory over the Catamounts (29-18 overall, 13-11 SoCon). However, the Eagles (26-23, 12-12) have to watch behind them as well. Every game is critical at this point in the season, especially with The Citadel sitting one win away in seventh place.
After three straight weekend series losses, GSU needs to get off to a good start and will send Chris Beck to the mound in today's 6 p.m. series opener. Beck (4-6 overall, 3.72 earned-run average), who has dropped four straight decisions, is needing a bounce back of his own after allowing four or more runs in his last four starts. The rest of the weekend pitching rotation remains the same with Justin Hess starting Saturday and Will Middour starting Sunday.
GSU's Eric Phillips tallied eight hits in last weekend's series with Samford and stands just four hits away from tying Scott Henley's school record of 326 career hits. Phillips also ranks seventh all-time in SoCon history with 322 career hits. He ranks three spots behind Western Carolina's Ross Heffley. Heffley passed former Catamount Barrett Shaft last weekend for the school's all-time hits record and currently ranks fourth in the league.
GSU also is riding the hot hitting of freshman catcher Chase Griffin. Griffin is second on the team with a .311 batting average and leads the squad with 10 home runs. He is also hitting a team-best .350 in league play with four homers.
WCU has won five SoCon series this season and nearly swept Elon last weekend. The Catamounts improved their road record to 11-11 with three straight wins against East Tennessee State and Elon before dropping the series finale, 11-4, on Monday.
Tyler White leads Western Carolina with a .367 batting average and 15 doubles this season but has one fewer hit than Heffley. The senior infielder has tallied a team-best 67 hits in 190 at-bats this season and is tied for the team lead with seven home runs and 33 walks.
Despite a series-opening loss, GSU won last year's meeting in Cullowhee, N.C., with an 8-7 victory Saturday and a 16-13 win Sunday. Matt Murray posted two saves in the series to help the Eagles pick up the pair of high-scoring wins. The teams met again in the second round of the SoCon Tournament with Andy Moye picking up a 12-1 win.
The Catamounts will send Jordan Smith (3-4, 3.57), Morgan McKinney (6-2, 3.50) and Jeremy Null (4-3, 5.11) to the mound this weekend.
Freshman Null, who was drafted in the 37th round out of high school, had the best start last week and allowed two earned runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
All GSU baseball games can be heard on the Boomer 103.7 FM and inside J.I. Clements Stadium on 88.1 FM.