Eagles lose to Elon, beat No. 13 Clemson and steal series from App State over break

Colin Ritsick

Nobody filled out a bracket for Georgia Southern University baseball, nor did anyone throw down a nationally-televised sideline nae-nae; but that’s not to say there wasn’t any madness over the break for the Eagles (19-6, 3-3 SoCon).

In the eight games since classes dismissed for Spring Break, GSU went 4-4 and Head Coach Rodney Hennon won his 600th career game on Sunday.

In the first Southern Conference series of the season, Elon University beat the Eagles two games to one on the road. This was the first series GSU has lost all year. They came home for the last five games of the week against No. 13 Clemson University and Appalachian State University.

The Eagles split the midweek series with the Tigers before stealing the series away from the Mountaineers in dramatic fashion.

Elon Series

GSU couldn’t have entered Elon, N.C., with a more intimidating presence. The 15-2 Eagles came in with the highest batting average in the country and a top-50 pitching staff, but no one told the Phoenix.

Elon shutout Georgia Southern in the first game, 1-0. Junior RHP Lucas Bakker from Queensland, Australia, pitched a two-hit complete game. It was clear from the get-go that this game belonged to Bakker. The Phoenix earned the series-win after splitting the doubleheader on Saturday.

Clemson Series

When the 2014 schedule came out, this series stuck out like a sore thumb. These two games were going to be arguably the best competition the Eagles would face. The Tigers entered Statesboro with a top-15 ranking in multiple polls.

Game one was almost too good to be true. GSU put up three runs in the first inning and never looked back. They waxed the Tigers 14-5.

The second game looked like it had the potential to be another shootout. The score was 5-4 Clemson after four – but that is where the scoring stopped. The Eagles couldn’t string together enough good at-bats to plate any more runs and lost the game.

App State Series

The defining moment of the series, and perhaps of the week, took place in the eighth inning of game three with the Eagles down four runs. ASU fans looked smug as can be in the stands knowing they were six outs away from winning the weekend. But that is when the rain started to come down and disaster struck for the Mountaineers.

The Eagles took the legs right out from underneath ASU. They rallied for a seven-run eighth inning. It looked like GSU was taking batting practice – liner after liner right back up the middle. This was an exciting way to earn Hennon his 600 milestone.

This week was eye-opening. The seemingly impenetrable Eagle offense hit some snags. Injury is starting to creep in. They are beginning to look human. But you need to measure a team on how they play when the stakes are highest.

Being a bloop and a bomb away from sweeping the No. 13 team in the nation says a lot about this team.