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Georgia Southern baseball rested and ready
Richman, GSU pitching staff ready for tourney
Georgia Southern pitcher Jason Richman fires a strike in the sixth inning against Appalachian State at J.I. Clements Stadium in this Friday, March 21, file photo.. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

    Sometimes it’s hard to be a pitcher. A lot of guys go once a week, and everything else that happens in every other game is out of their control.
    For Jason Richman, that’s not even close to being the case.
    Richman, a sophomore lefty who anchors a Georgia Southern pitching staff with a combined 3.13 team ERA, has appeared in an astounding 39 games, and allowed only nine earned runs in the span.
    “They told me I’d be throwing a lot at the beginning of the year, and I’ve thrown a lot,” Richman said. “I wouldn't say I'm surprised by it. I enjoy being in the game. I’d rather be out there helping the team out.”
    Richman (5-1, 1.14 ERA, 3 saves, 58 strikeouts) doesn’t over complicate things when he’s on the mound. It’s just pitch-and-catch.
    “Just keeping the ball down in the zone and not worrying about what’s going on is a big deal for me right now,” he said. “The guys playing defense behind me are playing really well right now, and it’s easy to pitch when you’ve got guys like that.”
    A lot of Richman’s success has been due to a switch in his approach. He came into the program as a conventional lefty but —along with right-hander Matt McCall — dropped his arm slot to the side. The change has paid dividends for both.
    When pitching coach B.J. Green suggested the change, Richman’s response was to be expected.
    “Whatever helps the team out,” he said.
    It helped Richman, too. He earned second-team, All-SoCon honors, along with teammates Stryker Brown and Aaron Mizell.
    The entire pitching staff has gotten plenty of rest leading up to the Southern Conference tournament — the program’s last before joining the Sun Belt Conference — having been off since last Tuesday’s win over Jacksonville.
    A pair of aces will start the first two games of the double-elimination tournament for the Eagles (34-20) in Josh Wirsu and Sam Howard. Wirsu (9-3, 2.25 ERA, 80 strikeouts) was named SoCon Pitcher of the Year on Monday and Howard was the Friday starter for most of the season.
    Thanks to a reliable pitching staff, GSU has outscored its opponents 364-228 this season.
    “This year’s team is a gritty bunch,” Richman said. “Everyone wants to play hard for each other. You've got guys playing for each other and pushing each other, and that goes a long way.”
    The Eagles open SoCon tournament play on Wednesday at 10 a.m., against Appalachian State, in Charleston, S.C.
    “We’d love to go out with a bang,” Richman said. “You always want to go out on top, and hopefully we’re able to do that this year.”

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.