Sun Belt Conference Softball: Weekend Preview
Four big softball series’ highlight the fourth full weekend of league play in Sun Belt Conference action this weekend.
Currently, 18th-ranked Louisiana is 9-0, while 15th-ranked South Alabama is 82, followed by WKU at 6-3, Texas St. and Georgia St. at 4-5, ULM at 3-5, and Troy and UT-Arlington at 1-8.
Let’s take a look at the respective conference series’ schedule for this weekend:
#15 SOUTH ALABAMA (31-6, 8-2) at #18 LOUISIANA (28-6-1, 9-0)
This is, without a doubt, the premier match-up in the league this weekend, with two top 25 teams facing each other.
Louisiana ranks first in the league in hitting (.310), as well as first in runs scored (225), and home runs (55), and fifth in pitching (3.33).
UL, who has won 13-straight, and 20 of their last 21, is led by freshman outfielder Hayley Hayden, who currently leads the conference in home runs, with 12, and runs batted in, with 42, along with senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, who leads the conference in hitting (.518), on-base percentage (.603), and runs scored (46).
South Alabama currently ranks sixth in the conference in hitting (.259), while leading the league in pitching, with a sparkling 0.99 team ERA.
The series will feature the three top four pitchers, ERA-wise in the league, in South Alabama's Hannah Campbell and Farish Beard, and Louisiana's Christina Hamilton.
Beard, a junior-hander, leads the pack in ERA. (0.64), with Campbell, a senior left-hander in second (0.78), and Hamilton, a junior right-hander in third (1.51).
Runs may be difficult to come by this weekend.
Louisiana and South Alabama will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 2 o’clock (cdt), and a single game on Sunday at 1 pm.
WKU (25-13-1, 6-3) at ULM (17-14, 2-4)
WKU, who currently ranks tied for fourth in the league in hitting (.278) and second in pitching (2.82), travels to take on ULM this weekend.
ULM ranks second in hitting (.286), and leads the conference is stolen bases, with 87, while ranking last in pitching (4.63 ERA.).
The Lady Toppers rank as the top fielding team in the league (.978), while the Warhawks rank at the bottom (.942)
The series is scheduled for a doubleheader on Saturday at 2 pm, followed by a single game on Sunday at 1 o'clock.
TEXAS ST. (21-21, 4-5) at GEORGIA ST. (20-21, 4-5)
This is a big series, as one team will be in the upper-half of the conference standings, while the loser will fall to the bottom-half.
Georgia St. ranks second in the conference in hitting (.287) and seventh in ERA. (4.51).
The Bobcats, coming off that big series win over South Alabama, last week, are currently tied for fourth in the league in hitting (.271), while ranking fourth in pitching (3.32).
The two teams will play a noon doubleheader on Saturday, followed by an 11 am single game on Sunday.
TROY (16-24-2, 1-8) at UT-ARLINGTON (16-23, 1-8)
UT-Arlington currently ranks seventh in the league in hitting (.240), and sixth in pitching (3.68 ERA.), while Troy is eighth in hitting (.222) and third in pitching (3.21).
A doubleheader between the two squads is scheduled for Saturday at 1 o’clock, with a single game scheduled for Sunday at noon.