Opinion: Georgia Southern baseball a dark-horse contender despite 19-14 record

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Ryan Kostensky is a senior journalism major from Atlanta.

With over half of the 2019 baseball season in the books, Georgia Southern sits at 19-14 overall, and 7-5 within the Sun Belt, one game behind Coastal Carolina.

At a quick glance, the Eagles appear to be an average team that can score enough runs and get enough outs to be competitive, but where does GS really sit with 23 games remaining before conference tournaments begin?

It’s been well documented that the Eagles played a tough schedule to open up the season, traveling to Auburn and Georgia Tech, while hosting Georgia and West Virginia within the friendly confines of J.I. Clements. GS would go 3-7 in games against their power-five counterparts, who have combined for an 88-48 record so far (including WVU's 15-21 record). Take away those 10 games, and the Eagles are sitting pretty at a 15-7 record.

After starting the season off slow at the plate, the GS offense has come around and features a well-balanced lineup that is as dangerous as they come. From junior infielder Steven Curry, who's currently leading the team in multiple offensive categories including a .374 batting average to the freshman slugger Noah Ledford who leads the squad in home runs with six, the offense can out-score anyone.

The problem the Eagles may find themselves in, though, is bullpen issues. GS has a solid starting pitching core, but struggle when it comes to the relievers. If they are going to want to make a run for the Sun Belt championship, the Eagles are going to need to rely on senior RHP Cole Whitney and sophomore LHP Hayden Harris, who have been the workhorses of the pen. Whitney has a 1.27 earned run average through his 28.1 innings of work while the southpaw Harris has a 1.61 ERA in 28 innings.

As the roster is currently constructed right now, I think that the Eagles are the second best team in their division, behind Coastal Carolina, and while that may not be the most boldest choice, it's hard to pick against the Chanticleers. GS will be getting a high seed come tourney time, and could very well find themselves in the postseason, but are a year away from being a really good team.

GS is back in action on Friday at home while hosting Texas State over the weekend.

Ryan Kostensky, The George-Anne Sports Reporter, gasports@georgiasouthern.edu 

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