Sun Belt Baseball Week 9

A weekend of conference play couldn't be much more exciting than having four-of-five series going to Sunday afternoon rubber matches. We've reached the midpoint of conference play and the No. 3 Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns look poised to run away with the regular season title with a four game lead on the rest of the conference.

In the spirit of keeping you up to date I've included the standings at the bottom along with each teams' RPI and strength of schedule rankings.

Sun Belt Weekly Awards

Locke St. John, Kodie Tidwell Grab Sun Belt Conference Baseball Awards

Player of the Week: Louisiana Monroe Warhawks' sophomore infielder Kodie Tidwell .550 (11-for-20), 3 BB, HBP, 4 R, 6 RBI, .625 OBA

Pitcher of the Week: South Alabama Jaguars junior left-hander Locke St. John W, 1-0, 7 IP, 3 H, 2 K

The Red Wolves Win First Series in Mobile, Taking 2-of-3 from the Jaguars

MOBILE, Ala. – The Arkansas State Red Wolves pull off the road series win in dramatic fashion. After dropping game one of the series the Red Wolves grab two, one-run victories, both on scores in their last at bat to take the series.

Game 1 – South Alabama 5, A-State 0

South Alabama's Locke St. John Shuts Out Red Wolves

South Alabama's junior left-hander Locke St. John (4-1) was brilliant, hurling seven scoreless innings while allowing only three hits. St. John's performance earned honors as Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week. Matt Wojciechowski (Jr., C) stymied the Red Wolves in the field and at the plate, throwing out two base stealers on the day and then knocking in two runs in a three-run first inning rally for the Jags.

Sophomore righty David Owen (2-4) had his shortest start of the year lasting only 2.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits for his second straight loss. Red Wolves relievers would pitch 5.2 scoreless innings with junior righty Colton Kibler's three and two-thirds and freshman southpaw Coulton Lee's two.

Game 2 – A-State 7, South Alabama 6, 14 innings

A-State's Gaines, Burgess Lead Win in Extras

A-State junior Tanner Gaines shut down the Jaguars firing 6.1 scoreless innings of relief after South Alabama chased the Red Wolves' starter from the game in the third inning for the second straight day as junior lefty Chandler Hawkins was pulled leading 2-1 with no outs and the bases loaded in the third. Senior righty Cody Woodhouse allowed two RBI sac flies by Hayden Jones (So., 1B) and Wojciechowski and an RBI single to Cole Gleason (Jr., LF) to fall behind 4-2.

The teams would exchange salvos of small ball as senior short stop Dustin Jones and freshman second baseman Eric Wilcoxson sacrificed A-State back into a tie only to see the Jaguars push the lead back to two runs with a pair of freshman contributing as Drew LaBounty (SS) sacrificed a run home and Cameron Cummings (RF) had an RBI bunt single.

The Red Wolves would break away from the small ball as Derek Birginske (So., RF) smacked an RBI triple to the gap in right center and then was driven in by Stuart Levy's (Jr., C) single to even the game at six apiece.

Matt Burgess knocked in Wilcoxson on a sac fly with the bases loaded in the 14th and Morgan Croft would work his sixth save on the year for the A-State victory to even the series.

Game 3 – A-State 3, South Alabama 2

Arkansas State's Zach Maggio Game-Winning Hit Clinches Series

Zach Maggio (Sr., DH) kept his double fair by inches down the left field line, driving in Dustin Jones (Sr., SS) and giving the Red Wolves the series. Bradley Wallace (Sr., RH) was quality again, dealing seven strike outs over six innings while allowing two earned runs. Junior righty Colton Kibler (3-1) got the win after closing out the eighth and Morgan Croft earned his seventh save on the season.

The series win improves A-State to 20-16 as they remain in second place in the Sun Belt at 10-5 with a two-game lead over Texas State and UT Arlington. South Alabama continues to struggle in their quest to repeat as regular season champion falling to 6-8 in the conference tied for seventh in the final Sun Belt tournament spot at 6-8 with Troy, whom they finished tied with last season, and at 16-19 overall.

A-State Player of the Weekend: Sophomore center fielder Austin Baker (.250 AVG, 3-12, HR, 3 BB, HBP, 2 R, 2 RBI, .438 OBA)

Other notables:

·         Senior designated hitter Zach Maggio (.357 AVG, 5-14, 2B, BB, HBP, R, RBI, .438 OBA) series clinching RBI double in ninth inning of game three.

·         Junior catcher Stuart Levy (.333 AVG, 4-12, BB, 2R, RBI, .384 OBA)

·         Freshman second baseman Eric Wilcoxson (.167 AVG, 2B, 2 BB, HBP, SF, R, RBI, .333 OBA) scored game winning run in 14th inning of game two.

·         Sophomore first baseman Matt Burgess (.214 AVG, 2B, BB, R, RBI) game winning sac fly in the 14th inning of game two.

A-State Pitcher of the Weekend: Junior righty Tanner Gaines (W, 1-0, 6.1 IP, 2 H, BB, K)

Other notables:

·         Senior righty Bradley Wallace (ND, 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

·         Junior right-hander Colton Kibler (W, 1-0, 4.1 IP, H, BB, 2 K)

·         Senior righty Morgan Croft (2 saves, 2.0 IP, H, BB, 2 K)

·         Freshman southpaw Coulton Lee (ND, 2.0 IP, H, 2 K)

Friday Recaps: Carson Baranik, Cajuns Continue Sun Belt Conference Dominance

Saturday Recaps: Tyler Girouard Led Cajuns Clinch Series in Sun Belt Baseball Action

Sunday Recaps: Louisiana Lafayette's Jace Conrad Leads Cajuns to Sweep

No. 3 Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns Continue to Roll

 LAFAYETTE, La. – The No. 3 Cajuns continue to roll through the Sun Belt wining their fifth straight conference game and continuing without a series loss on the year. ULL has swept four of their five Sun Belt series on the season.

Game 1 – No. 3 Louisiana Lafayette 7, UALR 0

Cajuns' hurler Carson Baranik improves to 8-0 on the year with six innings of shutout ball with six strike outs. Evan Powell went 2-for-2 with two walks with a solo homer while scoring and driving in two runs to lead ULL's offense. Travis McDonald took the loss for UALR falling to 2-4.

Game 2 – No. 3 Louisiana Lafayette 5, UALR 2

Tyler Girouard  was responsible for four runs, scoring twice and knocking in two more to lead the Cajuns offense while Ryan Wilson was busy teaming up with Greg Milhorn to hold the Trojans in check. Wilson is now 5-0 on the year after allowing an earned run over five innings and Milhorn earned a four inning save, his first, one-hitting UALR to close out the game.

Game 3 – No. 3 Louisiana Lafayette 6, UALR 3

Jace Conrad went 3-for-3 with two doubles, driving in a run and scoring twice to pace the Cajuns offense. Cody Boutte (5-0) provided another quality Sunday outing for ULL striking out seven over six innings of work while allowing only an earned run for the win. Reagan Bazar earned his sixth save working the final 1.1 innings of the game.

The Cajuns extended their lead in the Sun Belt to four games, improving to 14-1 in the conference and 34-4 overall while dropping UALR into last place in the conference at 3-12 with a 13-20 overall record.

Troy Pounds WKU for Series Win

TROY, Ala. – Troy looked to get back in to the Sun Belt race and a series win against WKU was just the elixir they needed to continue the defense of their regular season co-championship. The Trojans would drop a one-run decision on Friday before scoring double-digits runs to win the series the next two games.

Game 1 – WKU 5, Troy 4

WKU starter Justin Hageman continues to roll, moving to 4-1 on the year, with six strike outs over six innings. Ian Thompkins wrapped up his ninth save on the year while Philip Diedrick hit two solo homers for the Hilltoppers. Tanner Hicks drops to 2-6 with the loss for the Trojans.

Game 2 – Troy 11, WKU 6

Troy squandered a 6-1 lead, yet would respond with a five-run eighth inning for the win. David Hall led the Trojan attack going 4-for-5 while knocking in five runs. David Simmons hit a pair of solo homers and Anderson Miller hit a two-run shot for WKU. Marc Skinner (3-1) got the win for Troy while Tate Glasscock (0-2) took the loss for WKU.

Game 3 – Troy 10, WKU 5

Ben Tidwell (1-0) pitched 6.1 innings in relief to capture the win for the Trojans. Trevin Hall scored twice and knocked in three while Tyler Vaughn had a pair of runs and RBI for Troy. WKU had four-hit days out of Regan Flaherty and Ryan Messex in the loss.

Troy pulled into a tie with South Alabama in the last Sun Belt tournament spot at 6-8 in the conference while sitting a 19-18 overall. The Hilltoppers fell below .500 in the conference at 7-8 with a 19-17 overall record.

The ULM Warhawks Continue Surge Taking Series from Texas State.

MONROE, La. – ULM continues the surge over the last couple of weeks as they take two-of-three at home against the Texas State Bobcats. The series wasn't lacking in offensive production between these two teams.

Game 1 – Texas State 12, ULM 5

Texas State hammered out 16 hits and scored 12 runs knocking ULM starter Alex Hermeling (1-4) from the game in a loss. Granger Studdard hit a grand slam as part of a 3-for-5 day. Cory Geisler went 4-for-5 with a pair of runs and runs driven in while Trey Hicks scored three time for the Bobcats. Austen Williams is now 2-0 as the Friday night starter after improving to 5-1 while fanning five over six innings of work.

Game 2 – ULM 17, Texas State 12

The Bobcats repeated their 16 hit, 12 runs effort from the previous night, only this time they were chasing the Warhawks as Chet Simoneaux drove in six runs while scoring four times to pace ULM. Bobcat starter Taylor Black (2-4) took the loss and Granger Studdard homered for the second time on the series to go along with four more RBI. Dalton Herrington scored five runs and Anthony Herrera drove in five more for ULM as Jared Dye (1-1) got the win.

Game 3 – ULM 7, Texas State 6

ULM reliever Josh Leone (3-3) ended the Bobcat's scoring threat as the Warhawks capitalize on Texas State miscues in taking the rubber match of the series. Ross Moore and Anthony Herrera each contributed a pair of hits with Moore adding a couple scores and Herrera scoring once an driving in two.

ULM continues to move up the Sun Belt standings after a 1-5 start the Warhawks stand at 7-8, in a tie with WKU for 5th in the conference with a 16-22 overall mark. Texas State remains solid, but falls into a tie with UT Arlington for third in the conference, two games behind A-State at 8-7 with a 19-16 overall record.

UT Arlington Mavericks Win Series at Georgia State Panthers

ATLANTA, Ga. – The Georgia State Panthers pulled off a dramatic one-run victory in game one only to drop games two and three as the Mavericks take the series 2-1. UT Arlington improves to 16-20 on the year and 8-7 in the Sun Belt while Georgia State falls to 17-20, 5-10 in the Sun Belt.

Game 1 – Georgia State 11, UT Arlington 10

Chase Raffield hit his ninth homer of the year while going 3-for-5, scoring twice and driving in three runs for the Panthers. Georgia State scored seven runs in the third and fourth inning off of three Mavericks' errors to build a 7-2 lead, but the Mavs struck back with a six-run sixth inning to take an 8-7 lead. Georgia State scored three in the eighth to win the game. James Clements drove in four on a 3-for-5 day while scoring two runs for the Panthers. UTA was paced by Ryan Bottger's 2-for-4 game, scoring three runs and driving in another. Ben Burns (4-1) got the win while Kevin Amedee earned his sixth save and Jacob Moreland (0-2) took the loss.

Game 2 – UT Arlington 6, Georgia State 3

Eric Tate drove in two runs and scored once in a 4-for-5 effort to lead the Mavericks's offense and help Zach Hobbs (3-0) stay undefeated on the year. Ryan Bottger added a couple of runs scored while Brady Cox drove in two RBI for the Mavs as Jess Amedee notched his third save. Jerry Stuckey (2-3) took the loss for the Panthers.

Game 3 – UT Arlington 6, Georgia State 4

Dainiel Milliman (4-0) continues his solid pitching for the Mavericks allowing a run in 5.2 innings of work Sunday to clinch the series win for UT Arlington. Tyler McClure (2-6) pitched well for the Panthers in the loss. Jess Amedee grabbed his fourth save on the season. Eric Tate drove in two runs and Darien McLemore scored a run and knocked in another for the Mavericks' win.

The Mavericks have turned things around since a 1-5 conference start to improve to 16-20 on the season and move above .500 and into a tie for third in the Sun Belt at 8-7. Georgia State remains in the ninth spot in the Sun Belt at 5-10 with a 17-20 overall mark.

Sun Belt Conference Standings

Team

Record

GB

RPI

SOS

No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette

14-1

--

7

111

Arkansas State

10-5

4

54

56

Texas State

8-7

6

98

93

UT Arlington

8-7

6

178

121

WKU

7-8

7

58

32

Louisiana Monroe

7-8

7

129

34

Troy

6-8

7.5

127

81

South Alabama

6-8

7.5

134

90

Georgia State

5-10

9

151

77

UALR

3-12

11

143

40