Musings After the Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
After watching the scoreboard, looking at some box scores and just getting some overall feelings about the weekend, here are some observations about the weekend that was in the Sun Belt.
HAS TROY FOUND THEIR GUY? --The Sunday starter has been an issue for more teams than not around the league this year. That certainly has been the case for the Trojans. But they may have found the one they are looking for. Levi Thomas only went four innings but he hung zeroes in his second solid start on Sunday. This could bode well for the Trojans, who certainly have the firepower to score runs against someone else's #3 starter.
WAIT, THERE IS A PULSE--Don't look now, but Appalachian State has won four in a row. Weather forced them to play their first three SBC series on the road and they went 0-9. But they've been better lately and their road sweep of UTA over the weekend was more than impressive. Colin Schmid is a solid #1 and Andrew Vaccacio is a lot better than his record would indicate. They're still a long shot to make it into the tournament, especially having to face Coastal in the final weekend. Who thought their series coming up at Georgia State would be crucial?
ULM MAKES A STATEMENT--This isn't your daddy's Warhawks' squad. Now, don't get me wrong. They still aren't what we'd call good. But ULM's sweep over Georgia State shows the fight in this team, something that's been lacking over the past few years. Mike Federico has this team believing it can win and that's a start. I thought their goal should be to play in Lafayette two weeks in a row and they are in a position to accomplish that. They still have to play Troy and the Cajuns, so there are no guarantees. But there is no question the Warhawks have taken big steps toward respectability.
IT'S MAY IN JONESBORO--If you pay any attention to trends, one thing is certain: Arkansas State usually plays its best baseball in May. The Red Wolves got a crucial series win over Texas State and would be in the tournament if the season ended today. The offense is coming alive and their two top arms, Welsh and Alberius, give them a chance to win. Troy this weekend and a trip to Little Rock are a bit daunting, to be sure. But I'm betting they'll have a bit of a chip on their shoulder the next two weekends.
COASTAL IS GOOD--The Cajuns won two out of three, but there's no question Coastal Carolina is an awfully good club. Colten Schmidt and Hogan Harris were able to corral their offense, but the Chanticleers have the firepower to hit their way through the conference tournament. Jason Bilous showed that when he has command, he's as good as anyone in the league. Gary Gilmore, I'm sure, isn't happy about the weekend. But don't shed any tears for him. He has a fine club.
CAN ANYONE FIGURE OUT SOUTH ALABAMA?--The Jags have been a head scratcher. At times they've looked like a top 25 club. Over the weekend, they looked like a hot mess. Their pitching staff has been up and down all season. They can score, as evidenced by the weekend in Little Rock. But the one win they got was as much about the 17 walks issued by the Trojans as it was anything else. If they want the #3 seed in the tournament they need to play a lot better than they did this past weekend.