While Tuesday night’s exhausting and nerve-wracking 8-6 victory over No. 6 Ole Miss at Tomlinson Stadium was huge feel good for the program, in the reality of Sun Belt Conference baseball it means little.
The Red Wolves (25-26, 11-16) inched closer to the .500 mark with the victory at home that ended a seven-game losing streak against the Rebels.
“It helps recruiting, helps the program, it was fun and it was a great win at home for our fans and we beat one of the top 6 teams in the country,’’ said coach Tommy Raffo.
“But the bottom line is the sun comes up the next morning and we still have to work toward the goal we set back in August and what was to play for a championship. We are not there yet so we have work to do.”
Arkansas State leads ULM by a game and Georgia State by two entering the final weekend. A-State owns the tiebreaker with ULM but not Georgia State. The Red Wolves also have the three-way tiebreaker based on its record vs. the Warhawks and Panthers. If ASU wins the series it clinches regardless of what the other teams do.
The top eight teams make the conference tournament, which is May 25-29 in San Marcos, Texas.
“It’s all about Game One,’’ said Raffo.
A-State is in a similar situation as last season, when the Red Wolves won 5 of their last 6 to squeak into the tournament as the 8th seed. Unlike a year ago, they can control the situation by winning their games. Last season they needed help, and got it in the form of a ULL sweep of ULM.
The Trojans rely on two outstanding hitters in senior Ryan Scott (.433, 11 HR, 59 RBIs) and Thomas Dalton (.399/9/49) “and a good group around them that compliments them,’’ said Raffo.
UALR is third in the league but only 2 games separate 3d from 7th so the Trojans will be playing for seeding.
A-State can do no better than the seventh seed but that would mean of sweep of UALR and UTA sweeping Texas State.
The Trojans are built for their park, even though they are 12-12 there, and are hitting .300 as a team. They are last in the conference in pitching with an ERA of 5.91.
“We are going to have to pitch well but we will need to score some runs too,’’ said Raffo. “I think this is the best offensive they’ve had. They have the two guys who are really good and they have a good lineup around them.”
Thursday and Friday games are 6 p.m. Saturday’s game is 1 p.m.