Looking at the Remaining Sun Belt Baseball Schedules – From the Bird’s Nest
There are two weeks left in the regular season in Sun Belt Baseball. Right now there is just one game separating first place from fifth in the East division. And, there are currently two games separating five teams fighting for the last four spots in the conference tournament.
Who has the upper hand? Let's take a look at the league schedules remaining.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (13-11) Arkansas State (3) at Georgia State (3)--Of those fighting in the east, the Eagles have the most favorable schedule. They face 11-13 Arkansas State at home and then go to last place Georgia State. Arkansas State had been staggering, but won their series against Appalachian State in Jonesboro last weekend. The Eagles' lead is just 1/2 game so there isn't much room for error. But they have the least bumpy road.
COASTAL CAROLINA (12-11) at UTA (3), Appalachian State (3)--UTA has been good at home, but the Mavericks are in a bit of a late season slump (stop me if you've heard this before). UTA has lost five of their last six conference games but has something to play for, as they still are in the race for the west title. CCU then returns home to play App State, which looked like a breeze before the season started, but will be anything but easy.
APPALACHIAN STATE (12-11) South Alabama (3), at Coastal Carolina (3)--It's a big series in Boone this weekend as the Mountaineers get South Alabama, who has won five in a row. Their sweep over Little Rock last week was impressive. The loss of JoJo Booker hurts, however. Then it's a trip to Coastal, where the Chants are still not happy about having to basically play three games on the final day of the season last year. App can still win the east, but this isn't an easy road.
TROY (12-12) ULM (3) at SOUTH ALABAMA (3)--The Trojans got a pair against Georgia Southern to get within a game of first place in the east. They'll take on a ULM club fighting to get into the postseason and it looks like the Warhawks have been able to deepen their pitching staff some. Then it's down to Mobile for the annual grudge match with South Alabama. Troy will know after this weekend how realistic their east title chances are.
SOUTH ALABAMA--at Appalachian State (3), Troy (3)--Left for dead just two weeks ago, the Jaguars are rising from the ashes. They've won seven of their last nine league games and are playing like...well...South Alabama. Ethan Wilson is solidifying his POY resume and the Jags are scoring runs. App's pitching staff isn't deep, but the ones they've got are pretty good. Then Troy is coming in and that, as always, will be a dogfight.
GEORGIA STATE is 5-19 and not a factor in the race for the east, or a berth in the conference tournament.
TEXAS STATE (17-10) at Little Rock (3), UTA (3)--A week ago this looked like a showdown in the making. But the Bobcats won two of three while the Trojans were getting swept in Mobile. Texas State leads the west by two games over UTA and get the Mavs on the final weekend. A big win by the Bobcats this weekend could make that series moot.
UTA (15-12) Coastal Carolina (3) at Texas State (3)--The Mavs have lost five of their last six conference games and they have the toughest remaining schedule. The Chants' pitching staff hasn't been getting it done, but they can really hit the ball. Then it's a trip down I-35 to take on Texas State. UTA has to win the series this week to have a shot at the west title. If they falter, they could be in danger of slipping to third...or worse.
LITTLE ROCK (13-10) Texas State (3) at Arkansas State (3)--The Trojans blew an opportunity last weekend, losing all three games in Mobile. Hosting Texas State offense at tiny Gary Hogan Field this weekend means the Trojans will have to keep pace with their offense. And, against the Bobcats' starters, that won't be easy. A trip to Jonesboro follows where it's likely A-State will be fighting for one of the last spots in the conference tournament.
ARKANSAS STATE (11-13) at Georgia Southern (3), Little Rock (3)--After being nearly knocked out, the Red Wolves got off the mat and took two of three from App State. Now, it's a long road trip to Statesboro to take on the Eagles, who have so much to play for. Little Rock will come to town the following week trying to keep A-State from the post season. But the Red Wolves have an opportunity to make a statement this weekend.
ULM (10-13) at Troy (3), Louisiana (3)--The Warhawks got a badly needed series win this past weekend. That trip to Troy won't be easy, but ULM can do some damage offensively in that ball park. Regardless of what happens this weekend, the Warhawks cannot be eliminated and that showdown with the Cajuns will probably decide their fate.
LOUISIANA (10-14) Georgia State (3), at ULM (3)--The Cajuns have the most favorable schedule remaining, but there are no guarantees here. Georgia State has a very good Friday night starter and the weather forecast doesn't look good for the weekend. The Cajuns need to get these games in...and win them. After that, they'll head to Monroe where the Warhawks are undoubtedly tired of hearing about the Cajuns 25 game winning streak. It would behoove Louisiana to take care of its business this weekend.