Sun Belt Conference Softball: Weekend Preview
Four big softball series’ highlight the sixth full weekend of league play in Sun Belt Conference action this weekend.
Currently, 16th-ranked Louisiana is 13-1, while 20th-ranked South Alabama is 11-5, WKU is 10-5, Georgia St. is 8-7, ULM is 5-9, Texas St. is 5-10, UT-Arlington is 4-10, and Troy is 2-11.
Let’s take a look at the respective conference series’ schedule for this weekend:
#17 LOUISIANA (35-7-1, 13-1) at UT-ARLINGTON (19-26, 4-10)
This one may not look appealing to some, but Louisiana is trying to earn a national seed in the NCAA postseason tournament, while a win over the Cajuns would make UT-Arlingon's year.
Louisiana ranks first in the league in hitting (.300), as well as first in runs scored (271), and home runs (67), and third in pitching (3.05).
UL, who has won 27 of their last 29, is led by sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins, who leads the conference in both homers (14) and runs batted in (52), and freshman outfielder Haley Hayden, who is second in both categories (13 homers and 46 RBI's), along with senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, who leads the conference in hitting (.457), on-base percentage (.550), and runs scored (52).
Christina Hamilton is currently 19-1 in the circle for the Cajuns, and sports a 1.37 ERA., which ranks third in the league.
UT-Arlington currently ranks seventh in the conference in hitting (.249), while ranking fifth in pitching, with a 3.51 team ERA.
Louisiana and UT-Arlington will play a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, beginning at 1 o’clock (cdt), and a single game on Sunday at 1 pm.
#20 SOUTH ALABAMA (34-9, 11-5) at WKU (31-16-1, 11-5)
This series will feature two teams battling for second place in the league, and will likely have a major impact on seeding in the postseason tournament.
WKU ranks fourth in the conference in hitting (.272) and second in ERA. (2.94).
South Alabama currently ranks sixth in the conference in hitting (.262), while leading the league in pitching, with a sparkling 1.12 team ERA.
South Alabama features Hannah Campbell and Farish Beard, who lead the league in individual ERA’s, at a 0.84 and an 0.99, respectively, while WKU features Emily Rousseau, who is eighth, with a 2.77 ERA.
The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 o’clock, and a single game on Sunday at noon.
TEXAS ST. (22-26, 5-10) at TROY (19-27-2, 2-11)
Troy, who currently ranks eighth in the league in hitting (.220) and fourth in pitching (3.11), plays host to Texas St. this weekend.
Texas St. ranks fifth in hitting (.266), while ranking sixth in pitching (3.85 ERA.).
The Bobcats are only one game behind fifth place ULM in the loss column, while Troy is only two back, so there's still a lot for these two teams to play for.
The series is scheduled for a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 pm, followed by a single game on Sunday at noon.
GEORGIA ST. (26-23, 8-7) at ULM (20-19, 5-9)
Georgia St. is in fourth place, and has a chance to make up ground on WKU and South Alabama, who play each other this weekend.
ULM could move into the upper-division with a sweep.
Georgia St. currently ranks second in the league in hitting (.291), and seventh in pitching (4.24 ERA.), while ULM is third in hitting (.289) and last in pitching (4.58).
A doubleheader between the two squads is scheduled for Saturday at 2 o’clock, with a single game scheduled for Sunday at 1 pm.