Conference USA Weekend Preview

East Carolina (17-12, 6-3) @ #14 Rice (21-10, 9-3)
This matchup will feature one of the most anticipated matchups of the year as top pitching prospects Jeff Hoffman and Zech Lemond will square off on Friday night. ECU had won 7 games in a row before losing to N.C. State during the week. Rice is coming off a weekend series loss to MTSU and mid-week loss to Texas. These teams are 2nd (Rice) and 4th (ECU) in the conference in pitching so expect this to be a tight, low-scoring series. Rice is still dominating the conference despite its recent series loss, while ECU could prove a lot by picking up a couple of wins this weekend.

Friday, 6:30 p.m. CT Jeff Hoffman (1-3, 3.80) vs. Zech Lemond (3-0, 1.34)
Saturday, 2 p.m. CT Reid Love (2-1, 2.31) vs. Blake Fox (6-0, 1.14)
Sunday, 12 p.m. CT David Lucroy 1-3, 5.48) vs. Chase McDowell (3-2, 2.45)

MTSU (13-15, 7-5) @ Southern Miss (17-13, 6-3)
MTSU is coming off a huge series win over #14 Rice, while Southern Miss won 2-out-of-3 from FAU last weekend and has won 8 of its last 10 games. Both teams are in the bottom half of the conference in average and ERA, but both have played much better in conference play. Trent Miller of MTSU is 8th in the conference in average at .339, while Christian Talley for Southern Miss has posted an ERA of 1.72 in 6 starts, striking out 36 batters in 36.2 innings. MTSU has played a lot better in conference play and this series could decide where exactly each team stands in the conference.

Friday, 6 p.m. – Zac Curtis (3-1, 3.17) vs. Christian Talley (2-1, 1.72)
Saturday, 2 p.m. – Paul Mittura (1-1, 2.64) vs. Conor Fisk (2-1, 2.76)
Sunday, 1:30 p.m. – Jonathan Frebis (2-3, 4.29) vs. Cameron Giannini (2-2, 3.83)

UAB (19-10, 6-3) @ La Tech (9-18, 3-9)
UAB is coming off a big home series win over then-ranked #29 FIU. They’re pitching remained dominant as they won both of their games over FIU by a score of 1-0. La Tech was swept by UTSA last weekend and has lost four in a row. UAB and La Tech have similar numbers on offense, but UAB is third in the league in ERA, while La Tech is last. UAB’s Chase Mallard has had an outstanding season posting an ERA of 0.85 with 53 strikeouts in 52.2 innings. Taylor Love is leading the offense for La Tech with a .343 average and 16 runs scored.

Friday, 6 p.m. – Chase Mallard (5-0, 0.85) vs. Phil Maton (2-3, 3.91)
Saturday, 3 p.m. – Alex Luna (5-0, 0.84) vs. Adam Derouen (0-3, 5.48)
Saturday, 6 p.m. – Johnny Lieske (2-1, 1.82) vs. Richie Navari (3-2, 1.96)

Old Dominion (17-12, 6-6) @ FIU (23-6, 7-5)
ODU is coming off a series win over CUSA-foe Charlotte to help bring their overall CUSA record back to .500. FIU’s offense failed to make the trip to UAB as they only scored 3 runs in the weekend series and dropped 2-out-of-3. ODU’s offense is fourth best in the conference at .278, while it’s pitching staff has a 3.60 ERA. FIU leads the conference in both average (3.09) and ERA (1.63).

Friday, 6 p.m. – Ryan Yarbrough (2-4, 3.51) vs. Mike Franco (4-1, 1.00)
Saturday, 6 p.m. – Tommy Alexander (1-0, 4.96) vs. Cody Crouse (2-1, 1.56)
Sunday, 1 p.m. – Andy Roberts (2-0, 2.95) vs. Chris Mourelle (5-0, 0.73)

FAU (16-12, 4-8) @ Marshall (9-17, 5-6)
The Thundering Herd are coming off a 2-game sweep over Tulane with the third game being cancelled, while FAU lost 2 of 3 to Southern Miss last weekend, but did manage to upset SEC-foe Florida during a mid-week game. Marshall has struggled at the plate all season with a team average of .218, while FAU’s bats have hit a solid .277. FAU pitching is over a full run better in the ERA department than Marshall.

Friday, 2 p.m. CT – Josh King (2-2, 2.60) vs. Austin Gomber (2-4, 3.52)
Saturday, 6 p.m. CT – Michael Taylor (1-5, 3.00) vs. Drew Jackson (3-0, 2.25)
Sunday, 11 a.m. CT – Matt Margaritonda (2-3, 3.51) vs. Jeremy Strawn (2-4, 3.55)

UTSA (19-10, 6-3) @ Tulane (13-14, 5-6)
UTSA continued its great season last weekend by sweeping La Tech to improve to 6-3 in the conference. Tulane lost two games to Marshall last weekend, the second being cut short by rain, and they were unable to play the third game of the series because of rain. UTSA is second in the conference in average at .309, and fifth in ERA at 2.78, while Tulane is 12th in average at .229, and 9th in ERA at 3.76. Mike Warren for UTSA is hitting .336 with 2 home runs and a team-high 31 RBIs.

Friday, 1 p.m. CT – Brock Hartson (1-1, 2.59) vs. Tyler Mapes (4-0, 1.30)
Friday, 4:30 p.m. CT – Nolan Trabanino (5-0, 1.28) vs. Randy LeBlanc (2-2, 2.59)
Saturday, 10 a.m. CT – Justin Anderson (2-1, 3.53) vs. Emerson Gibbs (1-2, 6.26)

Evansville (16-10) @ Charlotte (7-18-1, 1-11)
Friday, 1 p.m. – Kyle Freeland (4-1, 2.03) vs. Corey Roberts (0-3, 4.71)
Friday, 5 p.m. – Connor Strain (1-2, 3.13) vs. Brandon Vogler (1-0, 0.69)
Saturday, 12 p.m. – Cole Isom (2-2, 3.73) vs. Ryan Butler (1-4, 3.68)
Sunday, 1 p.m. – Matt Rodgers (3-0, 5.11) vs. Brock Hudgens (0-3, 4.28)