Week 8 in Sun Belt baseball

In the last weekend before the season's halfway point Sun Belt teams are beginning to round into mid-season form. Conference series action would see only one series sweep, with two series being settled by game three and yet two more that would be set for rubber matches on Sunday.

The No. 7 Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns continued their run through the conference with a road sweep of the %%MATCH_15%% Trojans while the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and UT Arlington Mavericks won the opening two games of their series before dropping Sunday matchups to the Arkansas State Red Wolves and the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks. The South Alabama Jaguars and UALR Trojans would both win Sunday rubber matches for series wins over the Texas State Bobcats and Georgia State Panthers.

Sun Belt Weekly Awards

Sun Belt Baseball: Miller, Williams Take Home Weekly Awards

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers' sophomore outfielder Anderson Miller captured the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week award with a 12 hit week that included a home run and three doubles. Miller drove in five while scoring five more and posted a 1.077 slugging percentage. Miller had three consecutive three-hit ball games on the week.

%%MATCH_14%% State Bobcats' junior righty Austin Williams earned the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week award with a complete game shutout on Saturday. Williams had streaks of retiring 10 and 11 straight hitters while allowing only four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.

The Red Wolves hang on to sole possession of second place in spite of series loss at WKU

The Arkansas State Red Wolves dropped the first two games at WKU this weekend before holding on for a Sunday victory. Arkansas State remains in second place in the Sun Belt Conference, three games behind the Cajuns and a game ahead of the Bobcats with WKU and UTA looming two games back.

Game 1 – WKU 8, A-State 6

A-State Baseball: Stuart Levy, Late Rally Fall Short

Arkansas State squandered a few scoring opportunities on Friday night, stranding 11 baserunners, in an 8-6 loss in which the tying run was at the plate in the ninth. David Owen battled through his longest outing of the season allowing six earned runs in the loss. Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week Anderson Miller went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI for WKU. Stuart Levy led the Red Wolves going 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI which included a ninth inning score as part of a late inning comeback attempt.

Game 2 – WKU 9, A-State 6

A-State Baseball: Ryan Church Grand Slam Downs Red Wolves

The Red Wolves built an early lead on a three-run third inning rally that was keyed by a Lucas Feddersen (Jr., 2B) two-run single. Chandler Hawkins (Jr., LHP) would keep the lead until the fifth when he surrendered a grand slam to Ryan Church (Jr.) that was part of a five run fifth as the Hilltoppers took the lead 6-3. Every Red Wolves attempt to cut into the lead was responded to by WKU and the Red Wolves would lose the game 9-6. Feddersen pace the offense with three RBI. Miller had a four-for-five day with a run scored and an RBI.

Game 3 – A-State 7, WKU 5

Arkansas State's %%MATCH_16%% Brilliant in Preventing Sweep

Senior righty Bradley Wallace pitched brilliantly in the Sunday game allowing an unearned run off of five hits and a walk while striking out three over seven innings of work for the win. Wallace has thrown 14 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. Matt Burgess (So., 1B) would drive in Zach Maggio four times on the day, twice by sac fly, once on a groundout and once on a double. The duo combined with %%MATCH_17%% (So., CF) and Levy to all have multi-hit games. Morgan Croft (Sr., RHP) came on to close out the game and WKU got to him in the ninth when Scott Wilcox hit a three-run double as part of a four-run ninth.

A-State Player of the Weekend: Zach Maggio (Sr.) .545 AVG, 6-for-11, 2 BB, 2 HBP, SH, 6 R, 1-3 SB-SBA, .667 OBA

Other notables:

·         Matt Burgess (So.) .417 AVG, 5-for-12, BB, 2 SF, 2R, 4 RBI

·         Stuart Levy (Jr.) .364 AVG, 4-for-11, 2 BB, 3 R, RBI

·         Eric Wilcoxson (Fr.) .429 AVG, 3-for-7, 4 BB, 2 SH, 2 RBI, .636 OBA

·         Austin Baker (So.) .000 AVG, 0-for-7, 6 BB, 3 R, RBI, .462 OBA

A-State Pitcher of the Weekend: Bradley Wallace (Sr., RHP) W, 3-2, 7.0 IP, 5 H, BB, 3 K

Other notables:

·         David Owen (So., RHP) L, 4-1, 7.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

·         Chandler Hawkins (Jr., LHP) L, 2-4, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, BB, K

Friday Recaps: Sun Belt Baseball: UT Arlington, South Alabama, UALR Take Series Openers

Saturday Recaps: Sun Belt Baseball: Texas State, Georgia State Even Series, UTA Wins Series

Sunday Recaps: Sun Belt Baseball: South Alabama, UALR Clinch Series

No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns Extend Streak to Six with Sweep of Troy

ULL has now won six straight games, five straight in the Sun Belt as they pulled off a road sweep of the Troy Trojans to remain undefeated on the road this season.

Game 1 – No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette 15, Troy 4

Louisiana Lafayette, Caleb Adams, Blowout Troy 15-4

Caleb Adams led the Cajuns' attack going 3-for-5 and clubbing a home run. Adams drove in two and scored three times in the effort. Ryan Leonards and Chase Compton each went 3-for-5 combining to score three runs and drive in another. Carson Baranik kept the Trojan bats in check throwing 6.1 innings and allowing four earned runs on seven hits and two walks in his first Friday night start.

Game 2 – No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette 11, Troy 8

Louisiana Lafayette Baseball: Cajuns Sweep Double Header and Series

Adams strikes again going 2-for-4 with a home run while Jace Conrad smacked a pair of doubles and scored twice as the Cajuns jumped to an 11-0 lead. %%MATCH_21%% pitched 5.1 scoreless to secure the victory. Troy would mount a comeback with an eight-run eighth inning in which Jo-El Bennett hit an RBI single and an RBI double. Matthew Howard and %%MATCH_19%% each launched a two-run homer in the Troy rally before %%MATCH_20%% came on for the Cajuns and shut the rally down preserving the win.

Game 3 – No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette 11, Troy 0

Cody Boutte pitched six scoreless and Seth Harrison led the ULL offense going 5-for-5 with a homer and a double while scoring a run and knocking in four. Conrad added a 3-for-3 effort with a triple and an RBI while scoring a pair of runs.

The Cajuns improve to 30-3 with a 11-1 Sun Belt mark while Troy falls to 16-16 and 4-7 in the Sun Belt. ULL hosts UALR next weekend while Troy hosts WKU.

UT Arlington Makes Two Straight Sun Belt Series Wins in Dropping Louisiana Monroe

The UT Arlington Mavericks and Louisiana Monroe Warhawks entered the series riding winning streaks in Sun Belt Play. The Mavericks would take 2-of-3 for their second conference series win.

Game 1 – UTA 10, ULM 8

Matt Shortall went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and four RBI to lead the Mavericks to a win over the Warhawks.

Game 2 – UTA 6, ULM 1

%%MATCH_22%% and Keegan Hucul held the Warhawks to a single run in the UT Arlington win. Justin Copeland scored twice while Derek Miller drove in a pair of runs in the win.

Game 3 – ULM 7, UTA 5, 10 innings

%%MATCH_23%% pitched four scoreless innings for the Warhawks to give his team the opportunity to get the win in extras. Chet Simoneaux had a pair of runs and RBI. ULM scored two runs in the 10th on a walk and hit batsman with the bases loaded.

UT Arlington is at 14-18 with a 6-6 Sun Belt record and travels to Atlanta, Georgia to face Georgia State while ULM is 13-20 overall and 5-7 in the Sun Belt and host Texas State next weekend.

Jaguars Take Series on Road from Texas State

South Alabama was reeling after being swept at home by UT Arlington and traveled to face Texas State who was in third place in the Sun Belt. The Jags would take 2-of-3 by winning the rubber match.

Game 1 – South Alabama 5, Texas State 4, 13 innings

The Jaguars would win with late-inning magic as Drew LaBounty hit a one-out single that scored the game winning run. LaBounty got two hits on the night off Bobcats' closer Hunter Lemke.

Game 2 – Texas State 2, South Alabama 0

Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week Austen Williams dominated Jaguars bats to force a Sunday rubber match. Williams struck out seven in his complete game effort out-dueling %%MATCH_24%% who struck out eight while hurling a complete game for South Alabama.

Game 3 – South Alabama 7, Texas State 2

South Alabama jumped out to a 3-0 lead that the Bobcats would eventually get to 3-2. Jaguars' reliever Brandon Hallford silenced the Bobcats' bats while the Jags added to the lead. Cole Gleason scored twice while driving in a pair of runs to lead the offense.

South Alabama improves to 15-16 while moving to 5-6 in the Sun Belt and hosts Arkansas State this weekend while Texas State falls to 18-13 and 7-5 in the Sun Belt but remains in third place and travels to Monroe, Louisiana to face the Warhawks.

Trojans Get First Sun Belt Series Win Over Georgia State

The UALR Trojans were seeking their first Sun Belt Conference series win on the season as they played host to the Georgia State Panthers who had just won their first ever Sun Belt Conference series last weekend. UALR would take 2-of-3 from the Panthers to clinch the series win.

Game 1 – UALR 14, Georgia State 7

UALR doubled up the Panthers led by multi-hit games from Drew Merten, Ben Crumpton and Bryson Thionnet as the trio combined to go 7-for-12 with a homer, three doubles nine runs scored and eight RBI.

Game 2 – Georgia State 3, UALR 2

Nathan Bates came up big holding the Trojans scoreless through six and one-third innings. Chase Raffield and Joey Roach contributed a pair of solo homers to the cause as the Panthers get the win.

Game 3 – UALR 9, Georgia State 2

UALR benefitted from another great Sunday start out of %%MATCH_25%% who struck out nine while allowing two earned runs in a complete game performance that sealed up the game and the series for the Trojans. Justin Steelmon went 4-for-4 while driving in five RBI to lead the offense.

UALR improves to 13-16 and 3-9 in the Sun Belt and gets to take the trip to Lafayette, Louisiana to face ULL while Georgia State drops to 15-18, 4-8 in the Sun Belt and gets to host UT Arlington next weekend.

Sun Belt Conference Standings

Team

Record

GB

No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette

11-1

--

Arkansas State

8-4

3

Texas State

7-5

4

WKU

6-6

5

UT Arlington

6-6

5

South Alabama

5-6

5.5

Louisiana Monroe

5-7

6

Troy

4-7

6.5

Georgia State

4-8

7

UALR

3-9

8