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February 02, 2009

USI baseball goes south to open 2009
Eagles and Pirates match-up for three-game series

EVANSVILLE, Ind. The University of Southern Indiana baseball team will travel south to open the 2009 campaign at Armstrong Atlantic State University Friday afternoon. The Screaming Eagles and the Pirates play a three-game series Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Savannah, Georgia.

The Eagles are coming off their 2008 GLVC West Division title, their first regular-season conference crown in 15 years. USI, which was 36-20 overall and 24-7 in the GLVC, posted its second straight 30-plus win season and earned a second straight trip to the GLVC Tournament for the first time since 1993 and 1994.

Leading the Eagles into 2009 is senior right-handed closer and preseason All-American Shaun Larsen (Tell City, Indiana). Larsen, who was a third team All-American and first team All-GLVC performer in his first season as an Eagle, led the nation last year with 17 saves in 28 appearances. He also had a 4-1 record with a 3.57 ERA and 42 strike outs in 35.1 innings of work.

USI also returns junior right-hander Casey Geiger (Albion, Indiana), who was 7-3 with a team-best 2.75 ERA a year ago. Geiger also had a team-best and school-record 30 appearances in 2009.

At the plate, senior third baseman/pitcher Alex Thieroff (Greenfield, Indiana) is the top returning hitter. Thieroff, a third team All-GLVC player, batted .300 with 34 RBIs, 25 runs scored, 13 doubles, four triples, and four home runs as a junior.

Thieroff is followed by senior designated hitter/outfielder Chad Werry (New Harmony, Indiana). The third team All-GLVC designated hitter hit .298 with 32 RBIs and tied for the team lead with five homes.

The Pirates of AASU have already started their season, going 1-1 against top-ranked Mt. Olive College with one game to play on Monday. AASU was 27-23 overall last year, going 14-13 in the Peach Belt Conference.

The Eagles trail the all-time series with the Pirates, 11-1, after dropping three to AASU to begin the 2008 season. AASU took the three games last spring 9-4, 6-4, and 13-2.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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