Georgia Southern to host South Alabama in battle of top-ranked Sun Belt teams

Marqus Williams

The Georgia Southern Softball team will take on the South Alabama Jaguars this weekend at Eagle Field. The series will be played Saturday and Sunday in a Sun Belt matchup of the two and three seeds in conference standings. Both teams are coming in with confidence as the Jaguars have won six straight games. The Eagles have won three straight coming off their first series sweep of the season against rivals, App State.

The Eagles come in with a 23-17 overall record and 9-3 conference record already surpassing their win total from last season and building up. The Jaguars have a 24-11 overall record and a 12-2 conference record making this series important to the tournament seeding. Both teams want a head up on the other especially going down the stretch in conference play later in the season.

The Eagles are sixth in batting average and earned run average this season in Sun Belt play, but they have found ways to win and be a surprise team this season. The Jaguars are third in batting average and second in the Sun Belt in earned run average, but fall behind the Eagles in runs scored, hits, and runs batted in.

For the Eagles to win this series, their defense will be a key factor to their success. Though the Jaguars are second in batting average in the conference, they are tied for last in the Sun Belt in home runs this season. With that in mind the Eagles know the key for the Jaguars will be hitting the ball throughout the infield and outfield to gain base runners as well as go for sack flies and bunts to move them closer to home.

The Eagles have played well recently in tough situations this season and they need to stay consistent in that area to win this series. The Jaguars have only allowed an average of one run in their six game winning streak, beating their opponents by five runs per game. The Jaguars have a pitching duo in Devin Brown and Destin Vicknair who combine for a 24-10 record and a 2.06 ERA. The Eagles will need the bats of Lydia Witkowski, Morgan Robinson, and company to get a jump on the Jaguars early and often in this series.

It will be crucial to get a leg up on South Alabama early and put pressure on them to bat consistently and put runs on the board. With the pitching crew of GSU, the Eagles have the opportunity to slide past the Jags into second place in the Sun Belt. The probable starters for each time will be Dixie Raley for the Eagles (15-8) and Devin Brown (14-7) for the Jaguars. The first game is Saturday at 3 p.m.