Georgia Southern baseball head coach Rodney Hennon said he wants to see his Eagles more focused in this weekend’s three-game series, which begins tonight against Radford University.
GSU (3-1) will play Radford (1-3) at 6 tonight at J.I. Clements Stadium. The teams will play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The Eagles have never played the Highlanders from Radford, Va.
GSU, ranked No. 30, is coming off an 11-9 loss to No. 10 Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in front of a J.I. Clements Stadium record crowd of 3,258.
Hennon said the Eagles “made a lot of mistakes from a pitching standpoint” against Georgia Tech. He also said GSU’s hitters need to be more aggressive.
“I thought we got away from our approach, offensively,” Hennon said. “We’ve got to do a better job at times taking some pitches on the outer half (of the plate) and hitting the ball hard the other way. (Georgia Tech) walked 10 of our hitters, and I really thought we could have capitalized on that and scored more than we did.”
Hennon said right-hander Chris Beck (1-0, 1.50 earned-run average) will start tonight. Beck, who won GSU’s season opener against UT Martin last Friday night, is expected to face Radford right-hander Eddie Butler (0-0, 3.00 ERA). Butler, like Beck a highly touted Major League Baseball prospect, allowed two runs on six hits in six innings in his first start. Butler, a 6-foot-2, 165-pound junior, is ranked 35th by Perfect Game in its list of top 100 Cape Cod League prospects.
Radford began its season at Samford and went 1-2. The Highlanders lost at Liberty on Wednesday.
Radford won a school-record 31 games last season and finished in a tie for fifth place in the Big South Conference. The Highlanders beat VMI in their conference tournament opener before losing to Coastal Carolina and Gardner-Webb.
Saturday, GSU right-hander Josh Adams is expected to start against Radford right-hander Tyler Costello (0-0, 7.71 ERA). Sunday, GSU right-hander Kyle Rowe is scheduled to start against Radford right-hander Mark Peterson. Beck, Adams and Rowe combined for a 1.80 ERA and have allowed three runs in 15 innings.
GSU is batting .311 and increased its on-base percentage to .432 after 10 walks against Georgia Tech. Junior Michael Burruss is batting .529 with 18 total bases on three doubles and two home runs.
Hennon said he does not want GSU’s players to dwell on the loss to Georgia Tech.
“We’ll learn from it and we’ll get better,” he said. “Defensively, we did some good things. Another big throw from the outfield. That was good to see. A couple of mistakes (Georgia Tech) made on the bases actually kept us in the ballgame and could have been the difference. We’ve just got to keep getting better. You get better from playing good people, but at the same time, we’ve got to stay with our approach both on the mound and at the plate. If we want to get to that next level, that’s something we’re going to have to do a better job of.
“We’re going to see another good team (tonight) in Radford, so we better be ready to go.”
Noell Barnidge can be reached at (912) 489-9408.