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GSU getting back to baseball

    Since clinching the series against Elon with a 6-0 win on Saturday, April 23, the Georgia Southern Eagles have had a rough go of things.
    The Phoenix salvaged Game 3 with a 9-0 Sunday shutout, and the Eagles have since gone 3-6 and have dropped six of the last seven Southern Conference games, including a three-game sweep on the road at the hands of UNC Greensboro.
    In each of the losses during the stretch the opposition scored in the first inning, and it all culminated with a 10-run first by Wofford as the Terriers took the series with an 11-3 win last Sunday.
    Then came finals week at Georgia Southern, and the Eagles (27-21, 14-10 SoCon) couldn’t have asked for a better week off from baseball. 
    “It was probably good to have a few days to get away from it,” said GSU coach Rodney Hennon. “With final exams, guys could focus on their schoolwork and finishing the semester out on a good note and going back to work [Thursday]. Sometimes when you’ve struggled, it’s good to kind of step away and come back refreshed and in a good mindset.”
    Georgia Southern returns to action today, hosting Davidson (18-26, 8-18) at J.I. Clements Stadium in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.
    The Eagles will hope to put the last two weekends behind them.
    “Rather than analyzing this and that, I think the most important thing is focusing on what we can do beginning Friday when we play Davidson,” Hennon said. “That applies to pitching, hitting, defense – everything. It’s a team thing. I don’t attribute it to the first inning, to pitching or hitting, you just can’t hide the fact that we haven’t played very good baseball. I realize that. Every kid on our team realizes that. We’ve got to focus on all phases against Davidson this weekend and from here on out.”
    The series, which was scheduled before a change in GSU’s academic calendar last July, was rearranged to accommodate each school’s graduation. Originally scheduled to be played Thursday and Friday, the teams will now play two today and the Wildcats will return to Statesboro Monday to complete the series at 4 p.m.
    With only seven games remaining on the regular-season schedule, GSU can turn its attention on finishing up on a high note, playing the last four on the road against Charleston Southern and Appalachian State.
    “This is a great time of year. It’s a big load off your shoulders for our players to have the semester over with. It’s a grind,” said Hennon. “The challenge of a 56-game season and going to class, it’s a lot. Having that part of it done is a big relief. Guys can just focus on playing as hard as they can. It’s our time. Most of the kids on campus are going home for the summer, so it’s a good time to be together and focus on everything you’ve worked for and played for.”
    Chris Beck (6-3, 3.27 ERA) is expected to start Game 1 today, and Andy Moye (5-1, 2.88 ERA), who did not play in the Wofford series, is expected to return to the starting rotation in the second game.

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

Southern Conference Standings
Team                       SoCon    All    Streak    GB

*Elon                         21-6    34-18    W4    —
*UNC Greensboro      16-8    28-18    W2    3.5
*Charleston                15-9    32-17    W1    4.5
*Samford                   14-10    30-19    W3    5.5
*Ga. Southern            14-10    27-21    L1    5.5
*Appalachian St.        12-12    28-21    L2    7.5
*Furman                    10-13    20-28    L2    9
*Wofford                    8-16    21-28    L1    11.5
The Citadel                 8-16    20-29    L5    11.5
W. Carolina                8-16    18-27    L1    10.5
Davidson                    8-18    18-26    L4    12.5
*Top eight teams advance to SoCon tournament