This Weekend in Sun Belt Baseball
There are only nine games left in the Sun Belt Conference season and the drama is in the second division, where five teams are separated by a total of one game in the race for the final three slots in the Sun Belt Tournament in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We’ll have the story on two of those teams, the Cajuns and Troy, tomorrow. Here are the other series going on this weekend.
WESTERN KENTUCKY (9-12) AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC (14-5)—The Hilltoppers have a tough road, schedule wise, with all three remaining schools having better than .500 league records (at FAU, at USA, MT at home.) And, it starts this weekend. After losing two of three at home to ULM last weekend, the Hilltoppers are going to have to show they can beat some good teams away from home. FAU lost a series last weekend on the road, but they’re 6-1 in the league when playing in Boca. WKU has a one game lead over Troy and UL. With the schedule they have left, that’s pretty tenuous.
SOUTH ALABAMA (12-9) AT ARKANSAS STATE (12-7)—The Jaguars won two out of three from FIU last weekend to move into sole possession of third place. To stay there, they have to win in a ball park that negates some of USA’s strength. It’s May and that means the wind is blowing in from center, and usually blowing hard. It might behoove the Jaguars to hit fewer fly balls and more line drives this weekend, because Arkansas State will. And, ASU’s pitching is better.
UALR (9-12) at LOUSIANA-MONROE (9-12)—Nice job by the Warhawks last weekend taking two of three in Bowling Green. This will be the last home series for ULM, which closes at Troy and at Louisiana, which means they control their own destiny more than any of the other teams at the bottom. The Warhawks have many fewer holes in their lineup than they did earlier in the season. This is UALR’s final road series although what they have left at home won’t be easy (FAU, ASU). This has a chance to be a pretty good series, with two teams that can swing it and two decent starting staffs. ULM has the better bullpen, but neither is very deep. Both teams really need a series win this weekend. And, someone might be in trouble with a sweep.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE (11-10) AT FIU (11-10)—Both teams stand a game out of third…and two games out of the quagmire at the bottom. Middle Tennessee hasn’t pitched nearly as well lately as they were earlier in the season, and avoiding the sweep at home against ASU last weekend was crucial. FIU is much better at their house. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders’ staff can stymie FIU’s offense. This series probably means more to the Panthers, as their last two series are against the two league leaders, both on the road. But, as long as no one gets swept this weekend, both teams look to be headed to Bowling Green.