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Eagles take on Tech in Atlanta

BY Matt Yogus myogus@statesboroherald.com912-489-9408

When Georgia Southern took two of three games from Samford over the weekend, the Eagles showed they could win in a number of different ways.

The biggest proof of that was Saturday’s 18-14 win against the Bulldogs.

Today, the Eagles (12-7, 5-1 Southern Conference) face No. 11 Georgia Tech, a team certainly capable of putting a lot of runs on the scoreboard.

The Yellow Jackets (17-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have scored double-digit runs 13 times. They got wins of 11-4 and 14-8 in February in Statesboro.

Georgia Tech bats a collective .355, and of the eight everyday starters, only two bat under .300. The Jackets have hit 20 home runs, and score an average of exactly 10 runs per game.

“They’re one of the best-hitting teams in the country,” Georgia Southern coach Rodney Hennon said. “The numbers, I think, kind of speak for themselves there.”

Miscues and errors — the Eagles had five in the Feb. 29 loss to Tech — didn’t help Georgia Southern’s cause the first time the teams met.

“Last time, we gave them extra outs,” Hennon said. “That’s not to take away from anything they did down here, but we shot ourselves in the foot defensively in both of those games. You can’t afford to give a team that’s as explosive as they are extra outs to work with. We’ve got to play good, clean defense and continue to pitch aggressively.”

True freshman lefty Evan Challenger will get the start for Georgia Southern it today’s game, which begins at 2 p.m. He pitched three innings and allowed three earned runs on six hits the last time he faced Georgia Tech.

Georgia Southern faced plenty of adversity over the weekend against Samford, the defending SoCon champion. Despite scoring eight runs in the third inning on Saturday, the Eagles had to battle back in the 18-14 slugfest.

It took three opportunistic runs on Sunday for the 6-3 victory to complete the series win.

“We got down, we answered, we gave the lead up, and our guys kept battling,” Hennon said. “I was proud of our effort all weekend long. Any time you can go on the road, face a good team like Samford and take two of three, you need to feel good about that. I was proud of the effort, and we need to give the same kind of effort in Atlanta against Georgia Tech.”

The season series with Tech wraps up with the single game in Atlanta, and the Eagles will return home Friday for the first of three games against Davidson. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.

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