Sun Belt Conference Softball Weekend Preview
There are five big series are on the schedule for the third week of the 2017 Sun Belt Conference softball season.
Louisiana at South Alabama:
This is, without question, the biggest series on this week's schedule.
Louisiana is, undoutedly, the best program in the history of the league, while South Alabama is, unarguably, the second-best program.
The Cajuns are 20-5, overall, and 3-0 in league play, while the Jaguars will enter at 19-8, and 2-4, respectively.
Louisiana will be on the road for the first time this season, facing a South Alabama team that is 15-1 in Mobile.
The Cajuns will bring in the top offense in the league to face a Jaguars pitching staff that features two impressive arms, in Devin Brown and Devin Vicknair.
When these two teams get together it's always fun, and this weekend should be no different.
Texas St. at ULM:
Texas St. is an impressive 20-4, overall, to go along with a perfect 5-0 conference mark, while ULM is 17-10, overall, and 3-3 in league play.
Runs may be hard to come by in the series, with both teams featuring two of the top arms in the league.
Texas St.'s Randi Rupp is 13-2, and leads the league with a 1.11 ERA. while ULM's Melanie Coyne is 11-5, and is third in the conference with a 1.21 ERA.
The Bobcats have an opportunity to distance themselves from a couple of more teams, while the Warhawks have a chance to legitimize themselves as a factor in the conference race.
Appalachian St. at Georgia St.:
Georgia St. is having a fine year, at 17-11, which includes a 4-2 conference mark.
The Panthers swept South Alabama a couple of weeks ago, but dropped 2-of-3 last weekend to Troy.
If Georgia St. is going to make a run at the regular season title they almost have to sweep this series.
The Panthers feature one of the league's top offenses, with the likes of Ivie Drake, Megan Litumbe, and Kensey Caldwell.
Appalachian St. is better this year, with an 11-12 overall mark. The Mountainneers are 0-3 in league play, however, and need a successful weekend to get back some momentum after being swept by Texas St. last weekend.
Appalachian St. has a more favorable schedule down the stretch, but needs to pick-up a few wins over the next couple of weeks. Just winning one this weekend would be big for them.
Georgia Southern at UTA:
Georgia Southern is 13-13, overall, and 3-3 in conference play, while UTA is 15-13, and 2-4 respectively.
Georgia Southern is last in the league in hitting, at a .248, and must face Sam Clakley, who is tied for second in the conference in wins with 11.
On paper, this looks like a series that can go either way, with a sweep by either team unlikely.
Troy at Coastal Carolina:
Coastal Carolina is 21-7, overall, but only 1-4 in league play. Keep in mind however, they opened with conference series' against two of the league's better teams, in Texas St. and South Alabama.
The Chanticleers still have the time, and the talent, to make a run, but they need this series, especially playing at home.
Troy will enter the weekend at 15-16, overall, and 3-3 in conference play.
The Trojans, who dropped 2-of-3 to Georgia Southern in the opening weekend of league play, rebounded last week, winning 2-of-3 from Georgia St., a team who swept South Alabama a week prior.
Coastal Carolina, who features the top hitter in the league in Taty Forbes, who is hitting a .468, need to win this series, and need to protect their home turf, to become a factor in the conference race.