The Sun Belt continues to be strong baseball conference that is highly competitive from top to bottom and this week was no different. One standout this week was the UT Arlington Mavericks who started the conference season at 1-5, yet travelled this week to play at 2013 co-champion South Alabama and pulled off the series sweep while also sweeping the Sun Belt Conference weekly awards.
Sun Belt Weekly Awards
UT Arlington's junior left fielder Ryan Bottger is the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week after going 7-for-17 on the week. Bottger led the Mavs offensive onslaught against Baylor and helped lead the team to a sweep at South Alabama. He hit a home run, three doubles, scored five runs and drove in nine on the week.
Daniel Milliman, UT Arlington's senior right-handed pitcher, has been named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week after two great starts this week. Milliman allowed an earned run over four innings of work against Baylor and then shut down South Alabama allowing a hit over six innings of work.
The Red Wolves take sole possession of second place in the Sun Belt with series win
The Arkansas State Red Wolves took two-of three in a very tight series against the Texas State Bobcats. The series run differential was three runs after the first two games were decided by one run, one of which was a 12 inning game.
Game 1 – Texas State 4, Arkansas State 3, 12 innings
Texas State built a 3-0 lead on timely hitting in the first and fifth innings. Kevin Fitzpatrick would score the Red Wolves first run on an error throw on a pick-off attempt at first base and then would get two more on the Bobcats' closer to force extra innings. Collin Massanelli went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI in the ninth as he drove in Dustin Jones who went 2-for-6 scoring a run in the ninth. Zach Maggio's sac fly tied the game. Cody Woodhouse surrendered the game winning double in the 12th. David Owen went six innings allowing three earned runs while Tyler Zuber hurled his second scoreless relief appearance of the week for eight scoreless innings this week.
Game 2 – Arkansas State 5, Texas State 4
Arkansas State built a 2-0 lead after Matt Burgess scored on a wild pitch in the second and then drove in Austin Baker in the third. After the Bobcats tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth, Baker would drive in Eric Wilcoxson to retake the lead at 3-2. Wilcoxson would step to the plate with the game tied at 3-3 in the seventh, after two failed bunt attempts, the freshman put a 3-and-2 delivery over the right field fence for a two-run shot giving A-State a 5-3 lead. Burgess and Baker each went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI apiece. Wilcoxson went 2-for-3 with the homer, the first of his career, and two runs scored, 2 RBI. Chandler Hawkins allowed two earned runs over five innings of work with seven strike outs. Colton Kibler got the win allowing a run in two innings of work and Morgan Croft got his fourth save on the year, on two innings of work with a run allowed.
Game 3 – Arkansas State 4, Texas State 1
This game marked the first in the all-time series between these two teams that had a greater than one-run differential. Bradley Wallace returned to form, which is an exciting thing for A-State Nation, with seven scoreless innings allowing four hits and a walk with three strike outs. Matt Burgess gave Wallace all the offense that would be needed with a two-run homer in the fourth and an RBI single in the eighth.
A-State improves to 16-12 with a 7-2 Sun Belt mark and travels to play WKU this weekend while the Bobcats are 16-11 and 6-3 in the Sun Belt and will host South Alabama.
A-State Player of the Weekend: Matt Burgess (So., 1B) .357 (5-for-14), HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI
· Collin Massanelli (Jr., LF) .500 (5-for-10), 2 2B, RBI
· Austin Baker (So., CF) .333 (3-for-9), 2B, 4 BB, HBP, 2 R, RBI, SB
· Eric Wilcoxson (Fr., 2B) .400 (2-for-5), HR, 3 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI
A-State Pitcher of the Weekend: Bradley Wallace (Sr., RHP) W, 2-2, 7.0 IP, 4 H, BB, 3 K
· David Owen (So., RHP) ND, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
· Chandler Hawkins (Jr., LHP) ND, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K
· Tyler Zuber (Fr., RHP) 3.0 IP, 4 H, BB
· Cody Woodhouse (Sr., RHP) L, 2-1, 4.0 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 2 K
No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns suffer first Sun Belt loss yet still win series
The Cajuns dropped game one of the series 14-3 to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers but when on to win games two and three to take the series victory.
Game 1 – Western Kentucky 14, No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette 3
WKU treated ULL to a taste of its' own medicine as the Hilltoppers put together two big innings, a five-run fourth and a six-run sixth to defeat the unbeaten Cajuns 14-3 and end their winning streak at 14 games. Justin Hageman allowed three runs off 10 hits and four walks over seven innings to get the win. Regan Flaherty went 3-for-5 with a home run, a walk, two runs scored and three runs driven in to lead the WKU attack.
Game 2 – No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette 10, Western Kentucky 9
Both teams exchanged three run first innings but the Cajuns would add a four run second inning en route to building a 10-6 lead and would hang on for a one-run victory. WKU reliever Sam Higgs went three innings allowing an earned run on three hits. Ryan Leonards led the Cajuns with a 3-for-5 day, hitting two doubles while scoring three runs and driving in two more.
Game 3 – No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette 7, Western Kentucky 4
The Cajuns unleashed a four run rally in the sixth with the game tied at three to go up 7-3 and would hold on to win the game 7-4. Connor Toups allowed an earned run off three hits and a walk over 4.1 innings of work to get the win while Ryan Leonards went 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored to key the Cajuns' offense. Seth Harrison and Jace Conrad each homered in the win.
The Cajuns improve to 26-3 with a 8-1 Sun Belt mark while WKU falls to 14-14 and 4-5 in the Sun Belt. ULL travels to Troy next weekend WKU hosts A-State.
Georgia State captures first series win as member of the Sun Belt
The Georgia State Panthers took the first two games at home against the Troy Trojans before dropping game three to grab their first series win as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
Game 1 – Georgia State 8, Troy 6
Panthers starter Kenny Anderson allowed four earned runs over six innings of work to get the win over Troy in what was a back-and-forth game. Chase Raffield paced the Georgia State attack with a 3-for-3 effort, hitting a double, scoring a run and driving in two. Chris Triplett hit his third homer of the season adding two RBI to the effort.
Game 2 – Georgia State 6, Troy 3
Chase Raffield was at it again reaching base three times while scoring a run and driving in two to lead the Panthers in scoring six runs in the first three innings for the win over Troy that clinched the series. Nathan Bates allowed an earned run on five hits over 4.2 innings to get the win for the Panthers.
Game 3 – Troy 13, Georgia State 9
Troy staves off the sweep with the win on Sunday with an offense paced by Garrett Pitts 4-for-5 day in which he hit two doubles, scored two runs and drove in four RBI. David Hall was 3-for-5 with a double and three runs scored while Clay Holcomb was 3-for-5 with a triple, two runs and an RBI.
Georgia State is at 14-15 with a 3-6 Sun Belt record and travels to play UALR while the Trojans are 15-13, 4-4 in the Sun Belt and host No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette.
UT Arlington gets road sweep at South Alabama for first Sun Belt series win
The UT Arlington Mavericks had a week of sweeps, first of the South Alabama Jaguars, then of the Sun Belt Conference weekly awards.
Game 1 – UT Arlington 8, South Alabama 3
The Mavericks jumped on the Jaguars for an early 4-0 lead and added a four-run sixth for the 8-3 victory. Brad Vachon scattered 10 hits allowing only an earned run while striking out five over 7.2 innings of work to get the win for the Mavericks. Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week Ryan Bottger went 2-for-5 with a home run, a double, a run scored and five RBI.
Game 2 – UT Arlington 6, South Alabama 2
UTA broke a 2-2 tie with two-run rallies in each the seventh and eighth innings to win the game 6-2. Mavericks reliever Chase Weaver threw 5.1 scoreless innings allowing only three hits while striking out two Jaguars. Matt Shortall and Derek Miller each went 3-for-5 on the day. Shortall had a double and two RBI while Miller scored two runs and drove in another.
Game 3 – UT Arlington 6, South Alabama 1
Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week Daniel Milliman hurled six scoreless allowing only a hit while recording a strike out to lead the Mavs to the series sweep. Ryan Bottger reached base three times with a single and two walks while scoring a run and driving in two more to lead the Mavericks offense.
UTA improves to 12-14 while moving to 4-5 in the Sun Belt and hosts Louisiana Monroe this weekend while South Alabama falls to 13-13 and 3-5 in the Sun Belt and travels to play Texas State.
ULM rights the ship with series sweep
The Louisiana Monroe Warhawks had a rough start to the Sun Belt season, dropping five of their first six games with most of them not even being close outscored 66-17 so far. ULM rallied around interim head coach Bruce Peddie to pull off the sweep of UALR.
Game 1 – Louisiana Monroe 6, UALR 4
ULM jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings only to have the Trojans tie the game with a four-run fourth inning but would then get a Josh Faciane two-run single in the fourth to retake the lead for good. ULM's pen pitched three scoreless innings to secure the victory. Faciane led the team going 1-for-2 with a walk while scoring two runs and knocking in two more.
Game 2 – Louisiana Monroe 11, UALR 10, 11 innings
In a game that featured 13 errors, nine by UALR versus four by ULM, the Warhawks managed to score nine unearned runs and win on a walk-off hit by Dalton Herrington in the 11th inning. Herrington would go 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI to lead ULM. Keelin Rasch went 3-for-6 with a triple and three RBI.
Game 3 – Louisiana Monroe 16, UALR 5
ULM got to be on the good side of a blowout on Sunday as the Warhawks piled up four multi-run rallies to defeat the Trojans. Alex Hermeling fired five scoreless innings allowing a hit and three walks for his first win of the year for the Warhawks. Justin Stawychny lead the ULM offense going 3-for-4 with two home runs, two runs scored and five RBI while Keelin Rasch added a 2-for-3 day with a double, two runs scored and two RBI.
ULM improves to 11-17 and 4-5 in the Sun Belt and plays at UT Arlington next weekend while UALR continued their drop falling to 11-13 with a 1-8 Sun Belt mark and will host Georgia State.