Conference USA Weekend Preview (March 28th-30th)

ConferenceUSALogo#29 FIU (21-4, 6-3)-UAB (17-8, 4-2)

The Matchup

FIU is riding high after a weekend sweep of Marshall followed by a mid-week win over South Florida. The offense leads CUSA in average at .322 and 7.7 runs per game. That offense is led by Aramis Garcia who is hitting .413 with 26 runs scored, 5 home runs and 25 RBIs. The pitching staff also leads CUSA with an ERA of 1.79. Mike Franco is 4-0 on the season with an ERA of 1.16 to go along with 45 punch outs in 38.2 innings.

UAB went out to Hawaii last week and only won one of four games, while dropping a couple of one-run games. The offense is hitting .278, while scoring 5.3 runs per game; meanwhile, the pitching staff has an ERA of 2.85 striking out 203 batters in 224 innings. Chase Davis leads the offense with an average of .333, 23 runs scored and 15 RBIs. All three of UAB’s weekend starters have an ERA of 1.62 or lower. Chase Mallard leads the group with an ERA of 1.03 in 6 starts with 45 strikeouts in 43.2 innings.

Fri., 6:30 p.m. – Mike Franco (4-0, 1.16) vs. Chase Mallard (4-0, 1.03)

Sat., 2 p.m. – Cody Crouse (2-0, 1.55) vs. Alex Luna (4-0, 1.00)

Sun., 12 p.m. – Chris Mourelle (4-0, 0.85) vs. Johnny Lieske (2-0, 1.62)

 

Charlotte (5-16-1, 0-9)-Old Dominion (14-10, 4-5)

The Matchup

Charlotte has not had a great start to the CUSA schedule losing all nine games, but they’re coming off of two mid-week wins as they face Old Dominion. The offense is hitting just .239, while the pitching as an ERA of 4.01. Ryan Butler has been their best starter with an ERA of 2.90 in 5 starts. On offense, Derek Gallello is hitting right at .300, while Logan Sherer leads the team in RBIs with 16.

ODU is coming off a series victory over CUSA-foe La Tech. The offense is hitting a solid .270, while scoring almost 6 runs a game. The pitching staff has been good as well with an ERA of 3.31. Josiah Burney has come on as of late for ODU and was named the CUSA Player of the Week last week. On the season Burney is hitting .306 with 5 home runs and 22 RBIs in just 62 at-bats. Andy Roberts has been their best starter with a 2.70 ERA in 6 starts.

Fri., 6 p.m. – Corey Roberts (0-2, 3.56) vs. Tommy Alexander (1-0, 3.86)

Sat., 3 p.m. – Ryan Butler (1-3, 2.90) vs. Andy Roberts (2-0, 2.70)

Sun., 1 p.m. – Brock Hudgens (0-3, 4.04) vs. Greg Tomchick (1-0, 1.23)

 

Tulane (13-11, 5-4)-Marshall (6-16, 3-6)

The Matchup

The Green Wave are coming off a weekend series win over MTSU and a huge mid-week win over SEC-foe LSU. The offense has struggled a bit this season with an average of just .237, but they’ve still managed to score 4.5 runs per game. The pitching has been much better with a 3.33 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 213.1 innings. Tyler Mapes has been leading that staff lately with a perfect 4-0 record and 1.35 ERA in five starts, while Randy LeBlanc has backed him up with a 2.60 ERA in 6 starts.

Last weekend Marshall was swept by #29 FIU, and then they dropped their mid-week game 4-0 to Ohio State. The Thundering Herd has lost seven of their last eight as the offense continues to struggle to score runs only putting up 1 run or less on the board in their last four games. The pitching has been good enough to win.

Fri., 5 p.m. – Tyler Mapes (4-0, 1.35) vs. Josh King (2-2, 2.60)

Sat., 11 a.m. – Randy LeBlanc (2-1, 2.60) vs. Michael Taylor (1-5, 3.24)

Sun., 9 a.m. – Emerson Gibbs (1-2, 5.00) vs. Matt Margaritonda (2-3, 3.56)

 

Southern Miss (13-12, 4-2)-FAU (14-10, 3-6)

The Matchup

Southern Miss is coming off a big weekend series win over UTSA and a huge mid-week win over SEC-foe Ole Miss. They’ve won six of their last eight games as they get ready to take on another tough CUSA team in FAU. The offense is scoring right at 5 runs per game, while the pitching staff is striking out almost a batter an inning over 223 innings with an ERA of 3.59. Christian Talley has a 2.12 ERA in 5 starts, striking out 32 batters in 29.2 innings. Matt Durst is leading the offense with a .321 average, 3 home runs and 17 RBIs.

FAU will be looking to bounce-back from a crushing sweep handed to them by Rice last weekend. The offense only managed to score 3 runs all weekend against Rice’s dominating staff. Overall, the offense has been good on the season with an average of .277. Stephen Kerr leads that group with a .326 average and 17 runs scored. Pitching has been good for FAU as well with a combined staff ERA of 2.99, striking out 186 in 216.2 innings. In Austin Gomber’s last 3 starts he’s gone at least 6 innings, while giving up 2 earned runs or less.

 

Fri., 6:30 p.m. – Christian Talley (1-1, 2.12) vs. Austin Gomber (2-3, 3.92)

Sat., 4 p.m. – Conor Fisk (1-1, 2.70) vs. Jeremy Strawn (2-4, 3.55)

Sun., 12 p.m. – Cameron Giannini (2-1, 3.47) vs. Drew Jackson (2-0, 2.55)

 

La Tech (9-14, 3-6)-UTSA (16-9, 3-3)

The Matchup

La tech dropped 2 games against Old Dominion last weekend, but bounced-back to win their mid-week game against Grambling State. The offense is only hitting .248 with 91 runs in 23 games, while the pitching staff has an ERA of 5.21. Tyler Ervine is hitting .284 with 12 runs scored, 3 home runs and 15 RBIs. Richie Navari has been a nice surprise in the rotation with an ERA of 1.80 in 40 innings.

UTSA dropped its weekend series to Southern Miss and also lost its mid-week game to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The offense is hitting .280 on the year, putting up just over 6 runs per game. Jesse Baker is leading the offense with a .333 average, 25 runs scored, 4 home runs and 24 RBIs. The pitching staff has a combined 2.78 ERA with 211 strikeouts in 229.2 innings. Nolan Trabanino is 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA in 6 starts, while Brock Hartson has struck out 37 in 35.2 innings.

Fri., 6 p.m. – Phil Maton (2-3, 4.26) vs. Brock Hartson (1-1, 2.78)

Sat., 2 p.m. – Adam Derouen (0-2, 5.21) vs. Nolan Trabanino (4-0, 1.24)

Sun., 1 p.m. – Richie Navari (3-1, 1.80) vs. Justin Anderson (2-1, 3.82)

 

#13 Rice (20-7, 8-1)-MTSU (10-13, 5-4)

The Matchup

Rice had their 9 game winning streak broken up this week with a loss to Houston, but they followed that with a mid-week win against Lamar. They’re one of the hottest teams in the country with 10 wins in their last 11 games. The offense is hitting .283 and putting up 5.7 runs a game. Zech Lemond is one of the top prospects in the nation and has proven that with a 1.06 ERA in 34 innings with 29 strikeouts.

MTSU dropped two-out-of-three against Tulane last weekend but still has a winning conference record. They won their mid-week game against Lipscomb to prepare for a difficult weekend series against Rice. The offense is hitting a combined .252, while the pitching staff has posted an ERA of 4.66. Trent Miller is the offensive leader with a .356 average and 17 RBIs, while Zac Curtis leads the rotation with 52 strikeouts in 39.1 innings.

Fri., 6 p.m. – Zech Lemond (3-0, 1.06) vs. Zac Curtis (2-1, 3.66)

Sat., 4 p.m. – Blake Fox (5-0, 1.37) vs. Paul Mittura (1-0, 2.92)

Sun., 12 p.m. – Chase McDowell (3-1, 1.38) vs. Johnathan Frebis (1-3, 4.85)

 

ECU (14-11, 6-3)-UMBC (5-10)

Fri., 2 p.m. – Jeff Hoffman (0-3, 4.03) vs. Joe Vanderplas (0-2, 2.74)

Sat., 2 p.m. – Reid Love (1-1, 3.12) vs. Mac Gill (1-1, 1.30)

Sun., 1 p.m. – David Lucroy (1-3, 7.63) vs. Riley Stephenson (1-1, 3.18)