SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The college baseball season is just around the corner, and Friday opens the team practice window for squads around the country.
Georgia Southern head coach Rodney Hennon made a stop in Savannah Thursday afternoon, previewing his team’s season with the university’s Savannah Alumni group.
The Eagles will have plenty of returning talent on the diamond in 2019. Southern returns nearly every position player from a year ago, and junior righty Seth Shuman will anchor a rotation Hennon calls talented, but unproven.
After a season in which the young Eagles took some lumps in the first half, Hennon says he and the club are excited to show just how much they’ve grown since last opening day.
“You saw them start to make some adjustments, get some confidence, and start to play much better baseball down the stretch,” Hennon says. “There’s no doubt those young men have improved. We’re excited about competing.”
But Hennon admits he and his staff still have plenty of questions about this ballclub. Those are questions that will be answered very early in the season, as the Eagles open the 2019 campaign with four of their first five opponents coming from Power 5 conferences.
The first pitch of the season comes February 15 in a weekend series at #17 Auburn. The Tigers are coming off a heartbreaking Super Regional loss last season.
After returning from the Plains, Southern hosts Georgia Tech for a midweek game. Then West Virginia comes to J.I. Clements Stadium from the Big 12, followed by a midweek game at Charleston, and a weekend series with #15 Georgia in Statesboro.
Hennon figures he’ll know a good bit about his team a month in.
“We always want to play a tough schedule and build an RPI. But this may be one of the toughest ones we’ve had in a long time,” he says. “The way I’ve always approached that is that the better people you play, the more you find out about your club and the better prepared you are for conference play.”
Southern’s Sun Belt slate features just four home series to go with six road series this season. Hennon says since last season’s series at Appalachian State was snowed out and moved to Statesboro, the Eagles will make it up this year with an extra road trip to Boone.
The Eagles' schedule also includes a game against Charleston at historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah. That will be April 3 at 6:00 p.m.