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GSU heads to Tech
Southern takes 4-game win streak into Atlanta
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Georgia Southern mascot GUS relaxes and interacts with fans atop the Georgia Tech dugout during the Eagles' 6-5 win over the Yellow Jackets February 22 at J.I. Clements Stadium in Statesboro. Georgia Southern begins a two-game series with the Jackets this afternoon in Atlanta. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Georgia Southern is returning the favor.

After splitting a two-game series early in the season at J.I. Clements Stadium, the Eagles are heading up to Atlanta for two more with Georgia Tech.

This time around, GSU (11-5) enters the game on fire.

Last week got off to a fast start with a 7-0 win over No. 1 Florida in Gainesville, Fla. and continued through a three-game sweep of Furman over the weekend.

The Eagles outscored the Paladins 32-9 in the series, but Furman made it interesting in Game 3, coming back after falling behind to tie the game at 6-6 in the fifth. It was the first time GSU was challenged in the series.

The answer came in a hurry, when three runs in the bottom of the inning put put the momentum back in the Eagles’ hands.

"That was huge," said GSU coach Rodney Hennon. "We let them back in the game, and to their credit, they had a five-run inning. We lost control in that inning I thought defensively, but guys kind of gathered themselves when we got back in the dugout. We were able to come back and answer it."

The Eagles also committed a season-high four errors in the 14-7 win.

"The bottom line is we found a way to get it done," said Hennon, "and any time you can sweep a series, you’ve got to feel good about it."

Andy Moye started Friday and Saturday at third base and hit a home run in each game. He started on the mound in Sunday’s game, working four innings before getting chased out in the five-run fifth.

"We need to be careful with him," Hennon said about Moye. "We’re obviously asking for a lot out of him. We have to manage that situation as best we can so he can be at his best. I though he looked a little bit tired [Sunday]. He didn’t say that. I didn’t hear it from him, but he seemed to lose a little gas there. He’s one of our three seniors, he’s one of our experienced guys and we’ll still continue to need to use him doing both."

The team batting average rose to .338 over the weekend, and Eric Phillips continued leading the offense, going 9-for-12 in the series. Phillips is batting .517 on the season, slugging .700 and has reached base in 58.9 percent of his at-bats.

No. 25 Georgia Tech (12-4) comes in on a hot streak of its own, opening Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with a three-game sweep over Maryland.

The Yellow Jackets have won six straight since dropping three of six to GSU, Georgia State and St. John’s.

Hennon will take the same approach he took with Florida and Furman as the Eagles face Tech today.

"We’re looking at the next game," he said, "and we’ll do what it takes to win the next game."

Jared Leverett (0-2, 6.75 ERA) is expected get the start today at 6 p.m. for the Eagles, and Will Middour (1-0, 2.19 ERA) is the projected starter for Wednesday’s 6 p.m. contest.




: Georgia Southern’s 3.38 team ERA currently ranks third in the SoCon. … The Eagles lead the conference in batting average (.338), on-base percentage (.417) and hits (197). … Shawn Payne will put the nation’s third-longest reached-base streak on the line today. Payne has reached safely in 45-straight games dating back to 2010. … Michael Burruss, who left the outfield to get his first start behind the plate Sunday against Furman, currently holds a team-high, 14-game hitting streak.


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