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Sun Belt Weekend Recap (March 15th-17th)

sunbelt_thumb.jpgFlorida International at Florida Atlantic

The Florida Atlantic Owls continue their domination over the Florida International Golden Panthers. Owls starting Pitcher Austin Gomber struck out a season high eight on Friday, as the Owls scored twelve in the first two games. Though Florida Atlantic did ramp up their offense a bit, while also holding the Golden Panthers to five combined runs for Friday and Saturday, FIU avoided getting swept. They used a ten run third inning to win 12-1, making up FAU’s two game total in seven frames of mercy-rule baseball on Sunday. Starter Jeremy Strawn couldn’t make it out of the third inning before getting pulled. The Junior right-hander allowed six runs on six hits, as FAU needed five pitchers to work out of that third frame. Despite Sunday’s trouncing, Florida Atlantic kicks off conference play at 2-1, while FIU starts with a 1-2 mark.

Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky

Senior first baseman Ryan Huck propelled the Western kentucky Hilltoppers to a sweep of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. Game one saw Huck blast his first two, breaking up what was otherwise a four inning pitching duel. Blue Raiders starter Hunter Adkins was pitching shutout ball until Huck’s first homer to left field scored two, eventually leading to a 6-5 win for the Hilltoppers. Games 2 and 3 were both played on Saturday, the doubleheader being the result of reported imminent weather for Sunday. WKU saw two more homers from Huck, propelled by their first baseman’s solo shots to a 7-9 win in game 1. The second game saw WKU put on a ten-run 5th inning, eventually winning 12-1. Outfielder Trevor Lowe and Catcher Ryan Messex each plated three on the day. Infielder Griffith Roark added his own two RBI’s, while designated hitter Devin Kelly used a two-run homer to secure WKU’s sweep.

South Alabama at Troy

The Trojans started their series off with what was looking like a win on Friday. In fact, South Alabama was down 10-4 going into the top of the eighth. The Trojans needed just six innings to plate their ten runs. Instead of playing out what many must have thought was a foregone result, South Alabama scored five runs in the ninth to win it 11-10. Saturday’s game was another comeback by the Jaguars, as they used a fifth inning flurry to overcome back a 5-4 Troy lead. Trojans infielder Trae Santos belted two round-trippers in Sunday’s game, salvaging an 8-7 win, Troy coach Bobby Pierce’s 900th career victory.

 Arkansas State at Arkansas-Little Rock 

Arkansas State took their conference opening series in convincing fashion, sweeping the UALR Trojans. The weekend’s sweep marks twelve straight victories for the Red Wolves over UALR, all of the wins coming in four consecutive three-game sweeps. The Sunday game put a stamp on Arkansas State’s dominance, as Red Wolves starter pitched six innings of shutout ball. Wallace struck out a career high eight batters, throwing 70 of his 112 pitches for strikes. The Arkansas State starter allowed just six hits, an unearned run, and walked one en route to a conference record of 3-0 for the Red Wolves.

Louisiana-Monroe at Louisiana-Lafayette

Louisiana-Lafayette’s weekend sweep of Louisiana-Monroe boiled down to a tale of three starts. The Ragin Cajuns gave ULM all it could handle via the quality pitching of its weekend starters. On Friday, Junior Ryan Wilson went nine innings in a nine strikeout, two run gem of a performance. Wilson gave up nine hits, walking none in his complete game. Saturday’s game was manned by the mound presence of sophomore Austin Robichaux. The right-hander went just over seven innings, allowing one run on a mere three hits. Robichaux struck out eight, walking none. Cody Boutte rounded off the stellar starts with quality pitching of his own. The junior lefty went eight innings, giving up two runs on six hits, striking out five. All three starters kept ULM to two runs in each game of the conference opening set.

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