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Lady Eagles set for softball opener
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GSU softball opening weekend

Noon — Locker rooms open for public viewing
1 p.m. — Ribbon cutting/Troy vs. GSU
3 p.m. — Troy vs. GSU
1 p.m. — Troy vs. Mercer
3 p.m. — Troy vs. Mercer

1 p.m. — Mercer vs. GSU
3 p.m. — Mercer vs. GSU

The Georgia Southern softball team is slated to start its 2009 season at home with doubleheaders against Troy and Mercer. The Lady Eagles will face Troy today at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Prior to the start of the first game against Troy, the athletic department is planning to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the latest additions to Eagle Field.

Georgia Southern went 37-30 a season ago and made its third straight appearance in the SoCon Tournament title game.

The Lady Eagles return seven starters from a year ago, including SoCon Player of the Year and 2009 preseason All-SoCon first-teamer Robyne Siliga of Oceanside, Calif.

“Her track record says so much for her potential for this year,” said head coach Maggie Johnson. “It is amazing to watch her hit the ball, and she is playing great defensively right now. She doesn’t get cheated at the plate and when she swings, she hits the ball hard.”

Joining Siliga on the preseason All-SoCon first team is catcher Jenny Side of Loganville, infielder Nina Iduate of Norcross and infielder Amanda Hall of Haddock. Georgia Southern placed six on the first and second teams combined which was the most of any team in the SoCon.

The biggest challenge the Lady Eagles will face is replacing Melissa Laliberte. The Cobourg, Ontario, native started 32 games last season and led the team with a 1.94 ERA.

Georgia Southern will have multiple options at pitcher, because they have five pitchers on this year’s team.

“Junior Kristan Glover  threw some innings last year after transferring from Tennessee Tech and has been working hard to get herself into the rotation,” said Johnson.

Glover appeared in 18 games last season with a 2.50 ERA.

“Brianna Streetmon saw limited action last year, but was great through the fall,” Johnson said. “With some confidence and experience, she could be a dangerous pitcher. Kelly Burnett has been one of our most consistent performers so far. She has the ability and experience to step in and make an impact.”

Burnett appeared in 25 games for Palm Beach Community College and recorded a 4.15 ERA last year.

“I told them that in the end it’s all a matter of who gets the job done. We have five pitchers on the staff, and they all have the ability to get the job done,” said Johnson.

Sophomore Megen Smith, an Effingham County High grad, was an all-SoCon second-team pick a year ago, going 13-9 with a 2.49 ERA. Smith did not allow an earned run in 9 1/3 innings during the 2008 SoCon Tournament. Fellow ECHS alum Marie Fogle is a freshman on the Lady Eagles’ roster.

Georgia Southern faces Troy in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Friday and will face Mercer in a doubleheader on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Bears are led by Georgia Southern graduate Mike Raynor, who is in his third season at the helm.

The Lady Eagles will face Mercer next weekend in the Holiday Inn Eagle Classic.