ELON, N.C. – Following a nine-game homestand, the Elon University baseball team will hit the road for the first time during the 2018 season by traveling to Statesboro, Ga., for a three-game series with the Georgia Southern Eagles.
The two former Southern Conference rivals will open the series with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch on Friday, March 2. Game two is slated for a noon start on Saturday with the finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Elon: So. RH George Kirby (0-1, 3.00)
GSU: Jr. RH Brian Eichhorn (0-0, 4.35)
Elon: So. RH Kyle Brnovich (1-0, 1.42)
GSU: So. RH Seth Shuman (2-0, 3.46)
Elon: So. LH Owen Lorenz (0-1, 7.00)
GSU: Fr. RH David Johnson (0-0, 0.00)
Georgia Southern and Elon first got together on the baseball diamond for a pair of games in 1968, both won by the Eagles. The two did not meet again until the 2002 Clemson Regional. From 2004-2014, both programs were members of the Southern Conference and met annually. All told, the Phoenix leads the all-time series by a slim 24-23 margin after Georgia Southern won two of the three games at Elon’s Latham Park a year ago.
ABOUT GEORGIA SOUTHERN
Georgia Southern was selected to finish in third place in the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division in 2018. A year ago, the Eagles went 38-12 and finished third in the East with an 18-12 league mark.
The GSU offense enters the weekend hitting at a .233 clip and has scored 49 runs in nine games (5.4 per game). Of their 70 hits on the year, 22 have gone for extra bases – 18 doubles, one triple and two home runs. Steven Curry is hitting a team-best .313 and leads the team with nine runs scored through nine games. Despite hitting just .192, Chandler Corley leads the team with seven RBI.
On the mound, the Eagles sport a 5.03 ERA and have allowed 53 runs in 78.2 innings. The staff has struck out 63 hitters and opponents are hitting .269 off of GSU pitching. In two starts covering 11.0 innings, Sunday starter David Johnson has yet to allow an earned run. The other two weekend starters, Brian Eichhorn and Seth Shuman, have struck out 13 and 12 hitters, respectively.
HEAD COACH MIKE KENNEDY
Now in his 22nd season as the head coach at his alma mater, Mike Kennedy (’91) is the winningest coach in program history. He has compiled a career record of 681-530-3 and has led his program to five regular season titles, three conference tournament championships and seven NCAA postseason appearances.
RACKING UP THE K’S
Through the first eight games of the season, the Elon pitching staff put up some impressive strikeout totals. Three pitchers have eclipsed the 10-K mark in individual outings as sophomore George Kirby struck out 11 hitters on opening day, Robbie Welhaf fanned 12 in a relief outing against Radford and Kyle Brnovich fanned 11 against Marshall.
As a staff, the Phoenix has recorded 96 strikeouts, an average of 10.7 per game.
Elon’s first seven games of the season were decided by a combined eight runs. The Phoenix played four one-run games in its first five outings. The last time that Elon had four one-run decisions in its first five games of the season was 1934. That year, the team opened with four consecutive one-run contests.
OGREN PICKS UP CAA HONOR
Junior Ryne Ogren earned the first CAA Player of the Week honor of his career on Feb. 27 after hitting .421 (8-for-19) with nine RBI in five games. He had at least one hit in all five games and drove in multiple runs in three of them. His best outing came against Big 12 foe Kansas State when he was 3-for-4 with four RBI.
With a 3-2 victory over Marshall on Feb. 24, Elon earned its 600th win since moving to NCAA Division I play for the 2000 season. That number ranks fifth among the 18 DI programs in the state in that time frame.
Elon will return to Latham Park for four games next week. The Phoenix will host UNCG on March 7 at 4 p.m. before welcoming in Appalachian State for a three-game weekend series.