One thing the Georgia Southern Eagles have learned eight games into the season is that there’s plenty of options.
Especially on the corners.
Jesse Piccolo has spent time at first and third base, as well as behind the plate. Andy Moye, last season’s Saturday starter, has pitched and played both corners, and Brent Pugh got consecutive starts at third on Saturday and Sunday, finishing a combined 7-for-9 at the plate. Steve Cochrane, who hits both ways and was named Southern Conference player of the week for his performance in the last five games (7-for-17, 2 HR, 13 RBIs) has been the steady first baseman, but can catch and play outfield as well.
Michael Burruss, who split time with Randy J. Williams at catcher in 2010, has moved into outfield and designated hitter roles, leading the team with 15 RBIs.
Junior college transfer Tom Richardson has started six games behind the plate.
In other words, having a lot of choices is a good problem to have.
“As a staff, we try to sit down day to day and put a lot of thought into who we want to plug into the lineup on a given day,” said GSU coach Rodney Hennon. “It’s certainly a good position to be in from a team standpoint. I think it keeps it competitive, and it’s better than the alternative — not having options.”
It will be no different today as the Eagles (6-2) face a single game against North Florida (4-3) in the first road game of the season at Harmon Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. at 7 p.m.
“When we make up a lineup on a given day,” Hennon said, “we’re going to do what we feel like gives us the best chance to win that day.”
On the mound, Jared Leverett (4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 K) will get the start.
He will go head to head with Marshal Rosenberger, who will be making his first-career appearance for the Ospreys.
UNF coach Smoke Laval is in his first year with the program, taking over for Dusty Rhoades who retired in 2010. Laval coached LSU to College World Series appearances in 2003 and 2004.
The Ospreys took two of three from Charleston Southern before splitting four games with Liberty to open the season.
“They’ve played pretty good baseball early on,” said Hennon. “It looked like most of the games were competitive and they got good pitching over the weekend.”
Georgia Southern shortstop Eric Phillips is listed as day to day after leaving Sunday’s game with in injury after sliding into second base, and pitcher Matt Murray, who left after being hit with a line drive, is back in action.
After today’s game, the Eagles will return home for a three-game series against St. John’s beginning Friday at 6 p.m. at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.
Ga. Southern (6-2) at
North Florida (4-3)
GSU — Leverett (0-1)
UNF — Rosenberger (0-0)
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