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Eagles announce baseball schedule
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STATESBORO — Georgia Southern baseball opens the 2008 season at J.I. Clements Stadium against Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College. Those three games are part of a 31-game home schedule, announced by head coach Rodney Hennon.
The upcoming year marks the first in which the NCAA regulated the start of practice and the season-opener. Georgia Southern begins practice Feb. 1 and the 13-week regular season opens Feb. 22 against BC.
Six of Georgia Southern’s opponents qualified for the NCAA Regionals last year and one, Michigan, advanced to the Super Regionals.
Following the series against BC, Georgia Southern travels to Georgia Tech for two midweek games. Those two are part of another home-and-home series with the Yellow Jackets as Tech returns to J.I. Clements on April 15-16.
The Eagles play host to Towson the second weekend of the season (Feb. 29-March 2), then after a midweek game at Bethune-Cookman, travel to East Carolina for the Keith LeClair Invitational (March 7-9). Coach Hennon played for the late Coach LeClair and was also a member of his coaching staff at Western Carolina. Georgia Southern will face Pittsburgh, Michigan and the host Pirates.
After the LeClair Invitational, nine of the Eagles’ next 10 games are at home: a two-game series against USC-Upstate (March 11-12), four against Columbia (March 14-17) and the start of Southern Conference play against defending regular season champion Western Carolina (March 21-23).
As in previous years Georgia Southern will square off against familiar opponents from the Atlantic Sun Conference: Kennesaw State, Jacksonville, North Florida and Mercer.
GS will face three other SoCon foes at home: Appalachian State (April 11-13), The Citadel (May 2-4) and UNC Greensboro (May 9-11). The Eagles travel for five SoCon series: Charleston (March 28-30), Elon (April 4-6), Davidson (April 18-20), Wofford (April 25-27) and Furman (May 15-17).
The SoCon Tournament will be May 21-24 at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C.
Hennon noted how the parity in the Southern Conference has increased in recent years, evident by ninth-seed Wofford winning the tournament title last year.
“It’s another challenging schedule. The Southern Conference continues to make strides each year, top to bottom I think our league is as tough as it has ever been. Of course we always play a very competitive non-conference schedule and this year is no exception,” said Hennon. “That (Wofford winning the title) was a great example of how much our league has improved from a competitive standpoint from top to bottom and I think that can be said in college baseball right now.”
The Eagles started the 2007 season Feb. 1 at Hawaii and ended during the SoCon Tournament on Memorial Day weekend. The new compacted baseball season (this year by three weeks) means Georgia Southern will play 17 non-conference midweek games compared to 12 last year and 13 in 2006.
“Well the new rule compacts your schedule, we’re playing more midweek games than we have in past years due to the start date. That’s really the biggest change,” Hennon said. “A lot of teams are playing four game series. We have one of those this year with Columbia during our spring break (Friday-Monday) and then we play at Mercer the next day, Tuesday, so that gives us five games in five days. Again that’s only something we do during Spring Break, which is the case this season.”
The Georgia Southern Radio Network will broadcast every game of the 2008 schedule on WPMX Eagle 102.9 FM.
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