Sun Belt Conference Baseball: Weekend Preview
Five big series’ highlight the seventh weekend of Sun Belt Conference baseball play this week.
After six weekends of play, Louisiana is 16-2, while Arkansas St. is 13-5, Texas St is 11-7, WKU and UT-Arlington are both 9-9, Troy and South Alabama are both 7-10, ULM is 7-11, and Georgia St. and UALR are both 5-13.
Let’s take a look at the respective conference series’ schedule for this weekend, with statistics entering play earlier in the week:
TEXAS ST. (22-18, 11-7) at #2 LOUISIANA (37-5, 16-2)
Offensively, Louisiana ranks first in the league in (.327), runs scored (349), and home runs (49), while placing second in stolen bases (65).
The Cajuns have five of the top eight hitters in the conference, including Jace Conrad (.399), who leads the way, Caleb Adams (.390), who ranks second, Seth Harrison (.360), who ranks fourth, Dylan Butler (.358), who ranks sixth, and Blake Trahan (.352), who ranks eighth.
Texas St., who is currently hitting a .253, good enough for seventh in the league, is paced by Cody Lovejoy and Austin O’Neal, who are hitting a .337 and a .322, respectively.
In terms of pitching, Louisiana ranks first, with a 3.13 team ERA., and is way above Texas St., who is currently second, at a 3.60.
The Cajuns feature right-hander Carson Baranik, who ranks third in the league in ERA. (2.78), left-hander Cody Boutte, who ranks fifth (2.91), and right-hander Austin Robichaux, who ranks seventh (3.14).
The Bobcats feature a strong bullpen, headlined by Donnie Hart and Hunter Lemke, who have respective ERA’s of 2.13 and 2.28.
In terms of fielding, Louisiana ranks first (.977), while Texas St. is seventh (.962).
Game times are scheduled for 6 pm, 6 pm, and 1 o’clock (cdt), Friday-Sunday.
UALR (16-22, 5-13) at WKU (21-20, 9-9)
UALR is still fighting to qualify for the postseason tournament, while WKU is tied for fourth, and still looking to finish in the upper-half of the league.
Offensively, UALR ranks eighth in hitting (.251), while WKU ranks in fourth (.287).
Pitching-wise the Trojans rank third in ERA. (3.61), while the Hilltoppers currently rank eighth (4.88).
Game times are set for 6 pm, 3 pm, and 1 pm (cdt) Friday-Sunday
ULM (16-26, 7-11) at SOUTH ALABAMA (17-23, 7-10)
ULM is two games behind fourth place, while South Alabama is three games out of third, with a chance to make-up some ground this weekend.
In the hitting department, ULM ranks ninth (.242), with South Alabama in tenth (.237).
The Warhakws have hit 22 home runs on the season, while the Jaguars have hit a league-low three homers.
In terms of pitching, the Warhawks currently rank last as a team (6.34), while the Jaguars rank fourth (3.99).
Scheduled game times are 6:30 pm (cdt) on Friday, 6:30 pm on Saturday, and 1 pm on Sunday.
ARKANSAS ST. (24-17, 13-5) at GEORGIA ST. (17-23, 5-13)
This is a key series for both schools, for different reasons.
Arkansas St. needs to continue to win to be able to control their own destiny, as they trail Louisiana by three games in the conference standings, while Georgia St. is looking to qualify for the postseason tournament.
Georgia St. ranks second in hitting (.296) and ninth in pitching (5.59 ERA.), while Arkansas St. ranks fifth in hitting (.275) and fifth in pitching (4.16).
Game times are set for 6 pm, 1 pm, and 1 o’clock (cdt), Friday-Sunday.
UT-ARLINGTON (18-23, 9-9) at TROY (20-21, 7-10)
As is the case in every series this weekend, this one is important, with UT-Arlington two games out of third place, and Troy one game out of fourth.
Offensively, UT-Arlington ranks third in hitting (.293), while Troy is hitting a .263, good enough for fifth in the league. They are paced by David Hall, who is tenth, overall, hitting a .349, along with eight home runs and 31 RBI’s.
In the pitching category, the Mavericks are currently seventh (4.60 ERA.), while the Trojans rank sixth (4.41).
Game times for the series are 6 pm (cdt) on Friday, 4 pm on Saturday, and 1 pm on Sunday.