Baseball eliminated from SoCon Tourney in semis

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Will Cheney

After winning its first two games of the Southern Conference Tournament, the No. 7-seeded Georgia Southern University baseball team was eliminated on Saturday by Elon University.

GSU started the tournament off with a win over No. 2-seeded College of Charleston, a team that swept the Eagles in a three-game series to close out the regular season.

Seniors, pitcher Justin Hess and first baseman T.D. Davis stole the show. Davis launched a two-run homer in the top of the first inning to give GSU an early 2-0 lead, which was all Hess needed. Hess threw a complete game shutout while only allowing four hits and striking out 10 Cougar hitters.

GSU’s second matchup of the SoCon Tournament was against Furman University. In another low-scoring affair, GSU put together a two-run ninth inning rally to defeat the Paladins 3-2.

GSU pitching was once again the focal point for its success with senior starting pitcher Kyle Rowe tossing 6.2 strong innings. Rowe allowed two earned runs on seven hits and fanned nine, giving GSU a 2-0 record in the tournament.

The next obstacle for head coach Rodney Hennon’s squad would be Elon. GSU jumped out to an early lead, leading 3-1 after three frames. Another run in the fifth inning would be the last from Eagle bats in the contest. Elon scored 10 runs in innings six through eight to seal an 11-4 victory for the Phoenix.

The loss to Elon that morning forced a necessary elimination game between the Eagles and the Phoenix, with the winner advancing to the SoCon Tournament Championship on Sunday against The Citadel.

Freshman starting pitcher Jason Richman received the nod to toe the rubber for the Eagles, but exited after only 3.1 innings and two runs allowed. Rowe came in to relieve Richman, but allowed five runs in the seventh to put Elon up 7-6. That score would stand as GSU was eliminated from contention in the SoCon Tournament.

Hess was named to the All Southern Conference Tournament Team, the only Eagle to make the roster, for the second year in a row. In two appearances, Hess threw 11 shutout innings while striking out 13 and walking only two.