Baseball to face conference leader Coastal Carolina this weekend

Shortstop Evan McDonald bunts during a game against Appalachian State. McDonald has started 27 games and has 13 RBIs this season.

Thomas Jilk

This weekend, Georgia Southern baseball will travel to Conway, South Carolina to face the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, who are currently in first place in the Sun Belt East Division.

As it stands

After facing Savannah State Wednesday night, the eagles will prepare for a three-game series against the Chanticleers (22-13-1, 10-4-1), who sit two spots ahead of Georgia Southern (23-13, 9-6) in the conference division standings. South Alabama (22-15, 10-5) is between the two teams for second in a currently air-tight three-team race at the top of the Sun Belt East Division.

This weekend’s series is an opportunity for the Eagles to jump in the standings heading into the last month of the regular season.

The West Division of the Sun Belt Conference has a similar situation unfolding, with Louisiana leading the way followed by UT-Arlington and Texas State.

The Eagles have four more three-game conference series to go not after the Coastal Carolina series. They will face Little-Rock at home, Louisiana on the road, Arkansas State at home and rival Georgia State on the road.

Coastal Carolina

The Chanticleers are a formidable power team offensively, having hit 51 home runs this season, which is 11 more than any other team in the conference. Junior first baseman Kevin Woodall, Jr. has hit 14 home runs and driven in 39 RBIs to lead the offense for Coastal Carolina. He leads the conference in both of those categories.

Junior center fielder Billy Cooke is second in the conference in on-base percentage (.503) and third in slugging percentage (.602).

The pitching staff for the Chanticleers has been less outstanding than the offense. They rank in the bottom half of the conference in most team pitching categories, such as ERA (8th) and hits allowed (9th).

Georgia Southern is also a top offensive team in the conference, and the Eagles’ pitching has struggled at times. It should be a hard-fought series with the two similar teams facing off.

Looking ahead

The last month of the season will determine which teams have better positioning heading into the conference tournament. The Sun Belt Conference tournament begins on Tuesday, May 23 and will be hosted at J.I. Clements Stadium in Statesboro. The event will run through Sunday, May 28, and it will be broadcast throughout by ESPN3.