CHARLESTON, S.C. - Chris Beck pitched a complete-game, three hit shutout to lead No. 4 seed Georgia Southern over No. 3 seed Samford, 1-0, in the championship game of the 2011 Bennett Hospitality Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers.
The Eagles claimed the conference's 2011 automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA tournament. Georgia Southern's road to the College World Series in Omaha will be announced tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on the NCAA Selection Show on ESPN.
Georgia Southern improves its record to 36-24 on the year while Samford falls to 37-23.
Beck, who was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player, pitched the complete game for Georgia Southern to pick up his second win in the tournament and improve to 9-4 overall. Beck gave up only three hits on the game and struck out nine without giving up a walk in the complete-game shutout. For the tournament, Beck tossed 17.0 innings and allowed only two runs, one earned, on eight hits and only one walk. The sophomore pitcher set a new SoCon record with 22 strikeouts in the tournament.
Lex Rutledge started for Samford and picked up the tough loss to fall to 5-6 on the year. Rutledge threw 3.2 innings and gave up one run on three hits and two walks. He also struck out four Eagles during his outing. Samford's bullpen was almost unhittable as they pitched the final 5.1 innings, surrendering just one hit and one walk while fanning four.
Georgia Southern scored the only run of the championship game in the third inning with only one single. Scooter Williams connected on a one-out single up the middle and scored off his fast base running. Williams stole second and advanced to third when the throw from catcher Brad Moss sailed to center. Williams then crossed the plate for the 1-0 Georgia Southern lead after a wild pitch by Rutledge.
Williams led the Eagles at the plate with a 1-for-3 showing and scoring the winning run.
SP Chris Beck, Georgia Southern
SP Seth Grant, Appalachian State
RP Andrew Jones, Samford
C Tom Richardson, Georgia Southern
1B Marty Gantt, College of Charleston
2B Michael Johnson, Samford
SS Eric Phillips, Georgia Southern
3B Alex Abrams, Furman
OF Tyler Zupcic, Appalachian State
OF Cole Rakar, College of Charleston
OF Phillip Ervin, Samford
DH Michael Burruss, Georgia Southern
Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Walt Nadzak Award
Chris Beck, Georgia Southern