ANDERSON, S.C. – After a disappointing three-game series with North Georgia over the weekend, Anderson University baseball returns to the diamond on Tuesday in search of Beville Cup points against archrival Erskine. First pitch from Erskine’s Grier Field is set for 2 p.m.
With three straight setbacks to UNG after a loss to nationally-ranked Nova Southeastern, AU looks to return to the winning track as it has dropped five straight games. Despite the losing skid, the Trojans remain in sixth-place in the South Atlantic Conference standings after 10 other conference teams continued SAC play last weekend due to an uneven amount of clubs in the league. Anderson is one of just six teams in the SAC with a .500 record or better.
Despite out-hitting the Nighthawks for the three-game series (28-27), the Trojans were unable to capitalize on their opportunities, being outscored 26-17 in AU’s only three-day series of the season. Senior outfielder Nathan Galliford continues to the lead the squad in most offensive categories, hitting .327 and slugging .633 (sixth in SAC), while posting a .417 on-base percentage with 15 RBI (second in SAC), four home runs (first in SAC), 31 total bases and nine walks. Sophomore first baseman Steven Cooper added four doubles for the weekend to lead the conference with seven.
On the mound, junior right-hander Landon Beck continues to add to his strikeout total, totaling 11 in his start on Sunday. Despite earning his first loss of the season, Beck tossed seven innings and gave up seven hits and two earned runs in a 4-3 setback. With his 30 strikeouts for the season, Beck ranks first in the league in the category and carries an astounding 15.00 strikeouts per game, five strikeouts higher than second-place Ben Currie of Wingate.
The Flying Fleet
After Erskine’s 6-0 win over Anderson in its season-opener on Feb. 4, the Flying Fleet has won eight of their last nine including a four-game sweep over Salem International last weekend. Overall, Erskine is off to a 9-1 start and has scored in double digits six times, including a current three-game stretch when it outscored Salem International 38-2 in the final three contests of the series.
Senior outfielder Chase Corn headlines the Fleet lineup, hitting .486 (18-for-37) with four doubles, 18 RBI and 12 runs scored. For the year, Corn has four multi-hit games highlighted by a 4-for-5 day against GRU Augusta and a 3-for-4 performance against SAC opponent Newberry. Junior outfielder Logan Galliher follows Corn with a .455 average with three home runs and 14 RBI. Galliher has recorded a hit in all but one game this season, including blasting two home runs in the third game against Salem International.
Erskine’s pitching staff has held its opponents to a .193 average and just six extra-base hits. Junior right-hander, Austin Gambrell, leads the starting rotation with a 1.20 ERA in 15 innings pitched, while notching 16 strikeouts and just three walks. Junior left-hander JR Black carries the lowest ERA of the team’s starters at 0.68 while throwing 13.1 innings.
Anderson looks to avenge an earlier season to Erskine as Tuesday’s matchup will count towards the Beville Cup as a half point. The next point will be awarded on April 1 when the teams renew the rivalry at Anderson Memorial Stadium.
After Anderson left Conference Carolinas for the SAC before the start of the 2011 season, the Trojans and the Fleet have continued their long-standing rivalry with a three-game series throughout the season. Since the transition, AU claimed its first series against its rivals, last season, winning 2-of-3, capped off by a 6-3 win at Memorial Stadium on April 3, 2013. Prior to the series win, the Trojans were 1-5 against the Fleet since the conference move.