This Weekend In Sun Belt Conference Softball
UL sophomore third baseman Natalie Fernandez leads the Sun Belt Conference in hitting
Believe it or not, this weekend marks the final weekend of the regular season in the 2012 college softball season.
In terms of the Sun Belt Conference, we have a lot clearer picture of who the top four seeds are going to be in next week's Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Boca Raton, Florida, but seeding remains a question after that.
The fifth-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball team clinched another league title with a road series sweep of WKU last weekend in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Louisiana is 44-2 overall, and 19-2 in conference play. They only question about the Cajuns is; can they finish off a fabulous season on a high note and become a host team for an NCAA Regional?
UL closes out their regular season schedule this weekend against ULM at Lamson Park, where the Cajuns are unbeaten this year. If they take care of business this weekend, and in the conference tourney, Louisiana should get to 50 wins, and be one of the top 16 seeds in regionals, with maybe even a top-eight national seed ranking.
South Alabama locked-up the second-seed last weekend, when they won two-of-three from FIU. The Jaguars are 33-15 overall, and 15-7 in SBC play. They take on Troy this Saturday, and look to be in good shape for an NCAA Regional at-large berth.
FIU is more than likely going to be the third-seed. The Panthers, who are 25-25 overall, and 13-9 in league play, take on FAU in two single games this weekend, and need only one win to secure a third-place finish.
North Texas has the weekend off, in terms of conference play. They will face Northwestern St. in non-conference action. The Mean Green are 13-10-1 in conference play, and will be the four-seed, if FIU wins one game this weekend. If FAU pulls a surprise and wins both games, the North Texas would move up to the three-seed.
Seeds 5-8 are a little more difficult to figure out. Right now, Troy is 10-12, followed by WKU at 9-10-1, ULM at 8-13, and Middle Tennessee and FAU, both at 5-16.
Troy squares off with South Alabama this weekend, with WKU facing Middle Tennessee, FAU taking on FIU, and ULM visiting Louisiana.
ULM, technically, can still move up and become the #5 seed, but that seems unlikely, with them facing the Cajuns this weekend, so the five-seed will probably be either Troy or WKU, with ULM the seven-seed.
Remember, only eight of the nine teams qualify for the post-season tournament, so FAU and Middle Tennessee, who are both 5-16 in league play, will be fighting to keep their respective seasons going this weekend.
If they wind up in a tie, FAU would win, by virtue of their win over South Alabama, and they would qualify for the tournament they're hosting.
See, if they end up in a tie, record-wise, then the next tie-breaker would be head-to-head. Well, they split the only two games they played against one another last weekend, so the next tie-breaker would be how each team fared against each team in the conference, going from first-place to the bottom. Each team was swept by Louisiana, so the next team would be South Alabama, who FAU has a win against, but Middle Tennessee doesn't.
Yes, it's hard to imagine this weekend being the final one in the regular season, so enjoy it.