The Greenville Drive and Furman University will host to the 30th Southern Conference baseball tournament this week and will start the first round of games Wednesday. The Championship game will be played Sunday and will be featured on ESPN 3.
The first matchup will put No. 4 seed The Citadel (32-24 overall, 18-12 SoCon)up against No. 5 Appalachian State (28-22, 13-14) in the 10 a.m. game. The Citadel and Appalachian State faced three times throughout the season with The Citadel taking all three games. The Citadel roster includes the SoCon Pitcher of the Year and first-team All-SoCon Austin Pritcher, and Joe Jackson also headlined the first team. Jamie Nunn and Hector Crespo received first-team honors for Appalachian State, and Jaylin Davis was named Freshman of the Year.
No. 1 seed Western Carolina (38-18, 23-7) will face No. 8 Samford (27-28, 12-17) in the 1:30 p.m. game. Western Carolina earned the top seed in the tournament after winning the regular season by 4.5 games. They swept the three-game series against Samford during the regular season. Western Carolina and Samford landed the most players on the first-team All-SoCon team with four and three players, respectively. The Western Carolina squad features the Media's SoCon Player of the Year, Tyler White, and Coach of the Year, Bobby Moranda.
No. 3 Elon (27-27, 18-11) will square off against the host school, No. 6 Furman (31-23, 14-16), in the 5 p.m. game. Elon only beat Furman once in three games in the regular season, with two of the games finishing in 12 innings. Elon boasts the Coach's Player of the Year Ryan Kinsella Jr., who led the league in home runs and RBI. Furman had no first-team All-SoCon selections, but first baseman Alex Abrams received second-team honors.
In the final game of the night scheduled for 8:30 p.m., No. 2 College of Charleston (31-24, 18-11) will face Georgia Southern (25-30, 13-17). This will be the fourth time these teams have faced each other in less than a week. Charleston won all three games in last weekend's series. Neither teams put a team on the first-team All-SoCon list, but Charleston's Blake Butler and Brandon Murray received second-team honors.
The winner of the tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.