Citadel hosts GSU in key SoCon series

The Citadel and Joe Jackson (left) and the Bulldogs will play host to Georgia Southern this weekend at Riley Park.

The Citadel’s drive to qualify for the Southern Conference baseball tournament heats up over the next three weekends, as the Bulldogs face three straight series against fellow tournament hopefuls.

The Bulldogs, seventh in the SoCon with a 7-11 league record, host Georgia Southern (tied for fifth at 10-8) this weekend, then face Davidson and Furman, tied for eighth with 7-14 marks.

Only the top eight teams make the tournament, set for May 23-27 in Greenville.

Georgia Southern, picked to finish first or second in the SoCon, has struggled to a 23-19 overall mark without slugger Victor Roache, who led the league with 30 home runs and 84 runs batted-in last season.

Roache injured his wrist early in the season and has played in only six games. With Roache out, Eric Phillips has led the offense with a .384 average and 42 RBI. Ace pitcher Chris Beck is 4-4 with a 3.82 earned-run average, and the staff ERA of 4.96 is just ninth in the league.

The Citadel (17-24) is coming off three straight losses at College of Charleston. The Bulldogs have no one batting .300 or better, with Joe Jackson leading the regulars with a .289 average.

Game times are set for 6 p.m. today, 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Riley Park.