A Look at This Weekend in the Sun Belt
As we enter the next to last weekend in Sun Belt play, not much has been decided. But this weekend could change that.
Right now, five teams (UTA, Louisiana, South Alabama, Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern) have clinched berths in the SBC tournament beginning May 23 at J. I. Clements Stadium in Statesboro, GA. But that's all we know.
Here is the schedule around the league:
TEXAS STATE (10-14) at LOUISIANA (14-9-1)--The Bobcats would be the #8 seed if the tournament started today. Their schedule is a tough one; they host West leading UTA next weekend. The Bobcats have a two game cushion on the teams below them, but could use a win or two to make sure they quality for the tourney. Louisiana is currently the #5 seed, a half game out of fourth and two games out of third. The Cajuns need to win...and get some help...in order to move up.
SOUTH ALABAMA (17-7) at APPALACHIAN STATE (8-16)--If the season ended today, App would be in. But the schedule is daunting as they head to Coastal next weekend. They'll be fighting for their postseason the next two weekends and will be heavy underdogs in both. South leads the East by just 1/2 game. They need these to maintain their lead.
ARKANSAS STATE (10-14) at GEORGIA SOUTHERN (15-9)--The Eagles are 1.5 games behind Coastal Carolina for the #3 seed in the tournament and have a favorable schedule the rest of the way. A-State was swept at home last week by UTA and they've going to have to pitch well in order to get anything done this weekend. The Red Wolves would love to avoid playing in the first round, but they're two games behind Troy entering the weekend.
GEORGIA STATE (8-16) at LITTLE ROCK (8-16)--The winner of this series has a good chance to get to Statesboro. The loser is in trouble. Little Rock has the home advantage, but Georgia State won a series in San Marcos last weekend. With the short fences and two pretty good offenses, expect some runs to be scored at Gary Hogan Field this weekend. This is especially important for Georgia State, with Georgia Southern up next weekend.
ULM (6-18) at TROY (12-12)--The Warhawks aren't out of it, but could be by the end of the weekend unless they (at least) win the series. Tough task against a Troy pitching staff that has really stepped it up during the month of April. At 12-12, it'll be difficult for the Trojans to improve their standing in the league, but they can clinch a berth in the tournament and lock down the all-important #6 seed if they take care of their business this weekend.
COASTAL CAROLINA (16-7-1) at UTA (19-5)--The Mavericks can clinch the west with a series win and move a step closer to claiming the overall #1 seed. UTA has won ten straight league games. It's a really big weekend for the Chanticleers, who stand just 1/2 game back of first place in the East. The top overall seed isn't out of the question for CCU, but even a sweep doesn't guarantee that. Coastal is 1.5 games ahead of Georgia Southern in the race for third. The Eagles have a very favorable schedule and the Chants may need to win this series to avoid seeing Gunner Leger in the first round of the tournament.