Early this week, the Georgia Southern University baseball team lost three players: two starters and a senior leader.
Head coach Rodney Hennon removed senior Will Middour and freshman Aaron Palmer from the team Sunday for violating team rules. Monday, senior Robbie Dodds notified Hennon that he was leaving the team for personal reasons.
“There’s a team rule that you can’t go out to the bars now,” Middour said. “I had no chance of pitching Friday, so I went out Thursday.”
Middour, Palmer and other team members went to Rude Rudy’s last Thursday. Coach Hennon disciplined all four players, but only removed Middour and Palmer due to previous disciplinary issues.
“Honestly, I’m 22 years old. I don’t see a problem with me going out and having a couple of drinks with my friends, especially when I knew I wasn’t throwing Friday,” Middour said.
Dodds was a consistent player for the Eagles last season. He hit .305, second highest on the team, with 33 RBI and started 51 games. This year he started just five.
“I hit .340 in the Southern Conference last year. I produced for a full year,” Dodds said. “I thought I earned a starting job at least at the DH spot.”
Both Dodds and Middour said they weren’t having fun anymore.
“There was a time on Saturday when I looked over at Robbie in the dugout and was just like, ‘I don’t want to be here,’” Middour said.
Palmer was the starting second baseman for the Eagles. He hit for a .306 average and led the team with a .482 on-base percentage. He was a standout amongst his highly-touted freshman recruiting class.
Middour was the most experienced starter on the team, but the strike zone eluded him this season. He was 1-2 with a 5.95 ERA, 14 strikeouts, 16 walks and 6 hit batsmen in 19.2 IP.
The team is 8-7 in the SoCon and has had trouble getting in a rhythm at the plate. The Eagles have held their heads above water, but just barely.
Head Coach Rodney Hennon had no comment on the situation at press time.