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Georgia Bulldogs coming to town
033012 GSU BASEBALL 01
Georgia Southern second baseman Tyler Avera drives in a run with a single in the first inning against Charleston at J.I. Clements Stadium in this Friday, March 1, 2012 file photo. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Georgia at Georgia Southern
6 p.m., Today
J.I. Clements Stadium

Tickets still available
Tickets to today's game are still available at the ticket gate at the front entrance of J.I. Clements Stadium.
Ticket gate opens at 4:30 p.m.
Tickets at the gate are $15, $12 if you wear a blue shirt

    If Georgia Southern is going to win the season-opening series against the Georgia Bulldogs, it's going to have to take it.
    The Bulldogs, which will play a three-game series at GSU today beginning at 6 p.m., are coming off the heels of a 2012 campaign in which they committed a record-low number of errors.
    That caught GSU coach Rodney Hennon’s eye right off the bat.
    “One thing that really stood out was their defense,” Hennon said. “I think they set a school record in fielding percentage — .978, that’s impressive — and that tells me they don’t do a whole lot to beat themselves. They’ve got some of those infielders back, so there’s experience.”
    Shortstop Kyle Farmer spent the summer playing for Team USA.
    Georgia (31-26 in 2012) hasn’t faced the Eagles (33-27) since 2005, when GSU won the season series, 2-1.
    Georgia Southern won Game 1 in Athens, 4-1, before losing 7-4 in 10 innings.
    The series ended in Statesboro on March 15, 2005, when the Eagles won, 9-4, and the teams haven’t met since.
    The Bulldogs will start freshman right hander Sean McLaughlin, who will throw against Georgia Southern’s Justin Hess, a senior righty.
    The Eagles will pitch Sam Howard on Saturday and Jason Richman on Sunday, but Hennon expects to get the whole bullpen some work in the opening series.
    “Early in the year, you’ve got to pay attention to the pitching counts,” Hennon said. “Everybody should probably see action over the three-game series, on our end.”
    The expected closer will be senior Kyle Rowe, though there are still a lot of question marks.
    “We’ll have to define some roles as we get going,” Hennon said. “That’s no different than any season. You have a pretty good feel for some spots, but a lot of time you’re still defining some roles on your pitching staff.”
    Georgia’s pitching staff is expected to be a strength.
    “They’ve got some good, young talented arms to go along with their veterans,” Hennon said.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.