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 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament 
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Post 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
The 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament takes place Wednesday, May 25th and will continue until the championship game at 1pm on Sunday at Bobcat Ballpark in lovely San Marcos, TX.

Participants:
2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Seeds (Season Record)
1. UL Lafayette (37-19, 21-9 SBC)
2. South Alabama (38-18, 21-9 SBC)
3. Little Rock (26-26, 17-13 SBC)
4. Troy (32-24, 17-13 SBC)
5. Texas State (30-26, 16-14 SBC)
6. Georgia Southern (33-23, 16-14 SBC)
7. UT Arlington (29-26, 15-15 SBC)
8. Arkansas State (27-27, 13-17 SBC)

2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Schedule:
Wednesday, May 25
Game 1: - 9:00 a.m. - No. 6 Georgia Southern vs. No. 3 Little Rock
Game 2: - 12:30 p.m. - No. 7 UT Arlington vs. No. 2 South Alabama
Game 3: - 4:00 p.m. - No. 4 Troy vs. No. 5 Texas State
Game 4: - 7:30 p.m. - No. 8 Arkansas State vs. No. 1 UL Lafayette

Thursday, May 26
Game 5: - 9:00 a.m. - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 6: - 12:30 p.m. - Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 7: - 4:00 p.m. - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 8: - 7:30 p.m. - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

Friday, May 27
Game 9: - 3:00 p.m. - Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7
Game 10: - 6:30 p.m. - Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8

Saturday, May 28
Game 11: - 9:00 a.m. - Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9
Game 12: - 12:30 p.m. - Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10
Game 13: - 4:00 p.m. - Winner Game 11 vs. Loser Game 11 (if necessary)
Game 14: - 7:30 p.m. - Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 12 (if necessary)

Championship Sunday, May 29
Game 13: - 1:00 p.m. - Winner Game 11/13 vs. Winner Game 12/14

All games on Wednesday will be broadcast live, for free, on the Sun Belt Digital Network.
Link: http://www.sunbeltsports.org/watch/?Live=142

All games Thursday through Sunday will be broadcast live on ESPN3.

Team Previews:

#1 - UL Lafayette
Overall Record: 37-19
SBC Record: 21-9
RPI: 18
Head Coach: Tony Robichaux
The conference champs are locks for the NCAA tournament regardless of the outcome of this tournament. With an RPI of 18 they are in. The Cajuns clawed back from 4 games down with 6 to go to catch South Alabama and overtake the Jags for the regular season championship on the final day of the regular season. TXST is in the same side of the bracket as ULL (as always) and will have to get through the Cajuns if they want any shot of winning this tournament. The Cajuns have absolutely owned the Bobcats in this tournament since TXST joined the Sun Belt. In fact, every single SBC tournament loss the Bobcats have had has been to ULL. In 2014 TXST went 2-2 with wins over WKU and ULM and both losses to ULL and last year TXST beat ULL in the opening round, then beat UTA, only to drop back-to-back games to the Cajuns to be eliminated from the tournament. ULL clawed back out of the losers bracket to win last years tournament.

The Cajuns are likely the favorites to win this tournament due to their deep pitching staff. ULL is built for tournament play and have the arms to last into a 5-game tourney unlike most of the other staffs in this tournament. Their rotation is one of the best in the league, despite being one of the youngest. Sophomore Gunner Leger (6-3, 2.09), freshman Nick Lee (6-1, 3.24), sophomore Evan Guillory (5-5, 3.37), and sophomore Wyatt Marks (4-7, 4.70) should have the Cajuns feeling very confident about their options through Saturday of this tournament. The question is: should they need to use all 4 to get to the championship game, who will pitch in the championship? The Cajuns do not have a 5th starter. Robichaux will have to make a difficult decision to pitch one of those 4 on short rest or to start a reliever. Regardless, they have a myriad of options in their bullpen as well as they are stacked with reliable relievers. Basically, they have a nasty staff with a 3.18 ERA and pitching usually wins out in these long tournaments.

Offensively, they are led by outfielder Kyle Clement, who is hitting .366 with 13 doubles on the year. They aren't the best offensive team in the league with a team BA of .274, but they do have a dangerous lineup with some power. They have 109 doubles and 37 homers as a team and have 4 players that have hit at least 13 doubles this season.

#2 South Alabama
Overall Record: 38-18
SBC Record: 21-9
RPI: 47
Head Coach: Mark Calvi

The Jaguars limped to the finish line despite a 15-0 league start, and lost their outright championship on the final day of the season. They can still claim a co-championship, but their series loss to ULL gives them the #2 seed for the tournament. With a slipping RPI of 47th and some tough series losses down the stretch (including a series loss to last-place Appalachian State) the Jags need a strong showing in this tournament if they want any shot at an at-large bid. If they make it to the championship game they may have a shot, right now I'd say they would probably be left out considering their finish to the season. Being able to claim a co-championship should help their chances though.

Like ULL, USA is a team that relies on its pitching to win games. They have a staff ERA of 3.45 and opponents have only hit .240 against them this season. The USA ace, Kevin Hill, was the Sun Belt pitcher of the year last year and is poised to repeat after the year he's had this year. Despite not having dominant stuff, he has consistently won games for his team and it's rare to see a loss to open a series when he's on the mound. Hill is 8-1 this season with an impressive 2.38 ERA in a league leading 109.2 innings of work. Hill is a workhorse who I'd expect to see pitch tomorrow vs. UTA and again later in the tournament if needed. USA has built a reputation over the years of withholding their ace until game 2, but I don't see that happening this year. The rest of the USA rotation isn't too shabby either with Randy Bell (5-1, 2.69), Austin Bembnowski (6-3, 3.88), and Hunter Soleymani (4-3, 3.89) giving the Jags 4 reliable options to get through Saturday. I'd imagine Hill would pitch again in the championship game if needed.

USA's offense is very dangerous despite not hitting for a high average. They have a decent amount of power (92 doubles, 29 homers), but have a ton of team speed and are extremely aggressive on the base paths. They have stolen 100 bases on the year, which is a ridiculous number. No other team in the league has even attempted 100, let alone take 100. For reference the bobcats have stolen 37 bases on 55 attempts this year. They only hit .265 as a team but these guys know how to get on base. They lead the leagues in walks and can bunt their way on and love to run. Allowing free baserunners to these guys is a big mistake. Cole Billingsley is the most dangerous of them all. The center fielder is batting over .300 with 69 hits, 36 RBI, and has stolen 30 bases.

Being on the other side of the bracket means USA wouldn't have to face ULL until the championship game. Both teams will be heavy favorites to win their side of the bracket as they are the deepest pitching staffs in the league.

#3 Little Rock
Overall Record: 26-26
SBC Record: 17-13
RPI: 121
Head Coach: Chris Curry

Completely different team than the first two seeds. Little Rock can absolutely mash. They are hitting .305 as a team (1st in the league), slugging .432 (1st in the league), and have a .389 ob% (1st in the league). OF Ryan Scott leads the league in a myriad of offensive stats. The guy can just straight up mash. He's hitting .433 on the season. That's obviously the best average in the league, 2nd best is Dalton Thomas at .386. Who does Thomas play for? Yeah he's also a Little Rock Trojan. Scott has 90 hits on the season and Thomas has 86. Both tops in the league. Thomas is slugging a ridiculous .601 and Scott is slugging a mind-blowing .702. Scott's .433 average is 2nd best in the nation. You have to outslug Little Rock if you want to beat them. Which you can do, because....

They are all offense. Despite the gaudy offensive stats they have the worst staff ERA in the league at 6.11. They allow the worst opponents BA in the league also (.289). The best arm in their rotation is Matt McDowell who sports a very pedestrian 4.26 ERA. That's the 2nd best ERA on the team. The other two-thirds of their usual weekend rotation is Cory Malcom (5-4, 5.68) and Joe Corbett (3-1, 6.83). After that, things get even uglier. Once their pitching starts wearing down they will be trying to outhit their opponents to win games.

Pitching usually wins these type of tournaments and despite the favorable seeding I just don't see this team being deep enough to make it to Sunday. That being said, you don't want to face this team early in the tournament. They are extremely dangerous as they will put runs on the board even against the top of your rotation. Luckily for us they are on the other side of the bracket. Best case scenario is they can take one in the 2nd round vs. USA to tire the other side of the bracket out some.

#4 Troy
Overall Record: 32-24
SBC Record: 17-13
RPI: 79
Head Coach: Mark Smartt

The Bobcats' first opponent is 4-seed Troy. Troy beat South Alabama in the final two games of the regular season to prevent the Jaguars from winning the outright conference title. Troy has been hot to end the regular season having won 5 of their last 6 games going into the tournament. They finished off the regular season by shutting out South Alabama 8-0 in a game the Jaguars badly needed to claim the #1 seed.

Troy has the pitching depth to compete for the tournament title with 5 guys who've had at least 7 starts on the season. In a format that may require you to win 5 games that is a luxury. The projected starter for the TXST game is staff ace Grant Bennett. Bennett may challenge Kevin Hill for the SBC pitcher of the year. Bennett was 8-2 on the season with a solid 2.15 ERA. Humpal and Bennett have faced each other already this season in San Marcos with Bennett coming out on top in a surprisingly high scoring 12-8 game. The other two parts of their usual weekend rotation have solid numbers as well in Lucas Brown (8-4, 2.54) and Houston Mabray (5-3, 3.05). They also have a solid closer in Corey Childress (2-3, 3.70, 10 saves).

Offensively they are led by the trio of TJ Binder, Joey Denison, and Matt Sanders, who are hitting .317, .317, and .316. Despite the 12-8 game the last time these pitchers matched up, I'd expect a much lower scoring affair tomorrow. Troy has one of the better staffs in the league (arguably 3rd best behind ULL and USA) and is middle of the pack offensively. Should be a great matchup in round 1 for the Bobcats.

More to come, got to go for now.....


Tue May 24, 2016 6:16 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Game 1: - 9:00 a.m. - No. 6 Georgia Southern vs. No. 3 Little Rock


Sun Belt Conference
Eagles impress! The No. 6 seed Georgia Southern Athletics slugs its way to a 13-4 win vs. No. 3 seed Little Rock Trojans in the Baseball Championship first round.
The Eagles advance to play tomorrow at 4 p.m. CT. The Trojans will play at 9 a.m. CT tomorrow.

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Wed May 25, 2016 12:27 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
So I have a co-worker who is not a Bobcat alumni who got a last second notice from his neigbor last night that the Sun Belt was having a Home Run Derby at the stadium.

He said he went out there. He said it was empty. He said it was a lot of fun but asked me, "Why don't they advertise this type of stuff to the community?"

I said that's a good question.


Wed May 25, 2016 1:16 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
UTA beats South Alabama 4-2 in the 12:30 game. A tournament of upsets thus far.

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Wed May 25, 2016 3:41 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
The Sunbelt is pathetic. The games aren't on espn3, Southland & MVC is. Sidearm doesn't allow me to cast to my tv using my chromecast. I have to watch on my laptop or iPad.

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Wed May 25, 2016 5:13 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
11-4 cats in the 9th. How about one more win by a lower seed in the night cap!

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Wed May 25, 2016 6:33 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Harrington is the dumbest manager I have ever seen. He brings Mazacolli in to finish out a 11-4 game. Humpal only threw 93 pitches. WHY? Why doesn't Humpal finish the game? This is a tournament, you milk every inning you can out of starting pitching.

Harrington should be fired as soon as the game ends.

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Wed May 25, 2016 6:39 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
RiverRatCat06 wrote:
The Sunbelt is pathetic. The games aren't on espn3, Southland & MVC is. Sidearm doesn't allow me to cast to my tv using my chromecast. I have to watch on my laptop or iPad.

The rest of the tournament, starting tomorrow, is on ESPN3. I can't answer for why today's games weren't.

It was on the SBC site. Did you try hooking up with that one?


Wed May 25, 2016 7:33 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
I'm OK with taking the starter out in a blowout. He could be needed later on this weekend for an inning. I don't know why you'd bring the closer in for the last inning of a 7-run game. That should be mop-up work for someone else.

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Wed May 25, 2016 10:31 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
classof78 wrote:
I'm OK with taking the starter out in a blowout. He could be needed later on this weekend for an inning. I don't know why you'd bring the closer in for the last inning of a 7-run game. That should be mop-up work for someone else.

In post game Harrington said Humpal was gassed and no way was he going out for the 9th. Yes, we may also need him if we go further than Friday. I also agree we should have sent one of the other relievers out and not waste Mazzocolli. (sp)


Wed May 25, 2016 11:44 pm
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I've never seen the ACC and SEC as stacked in the RPIs as this season. They make up the entire top 10 RPIs and combine for 19 teams in the top 40 RPIs. USA should see a very tough time getting an at-large nod if 17 of those 19 SEC/ACC teams pickup at-large bids. That is to say of the 33 at-large spots and the 29 other conferences those 2 conferences will combine for more than half of the at-large spots. I might even say it's impossible even if they give ULL a good game in the conf championship. Because all but maybe 2 regions (CCU and TTU) will be hosted by SEC/ACC teams I suspect ULL may not even host if they go 4-0 in conf tournament play

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Thu May 26, 2016 9:51 am
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Thursday games
USA eliminates UALR 6-4
After hours of rain/lightening delays, stAte comes back from 12-4 deficit to win 13-12 - Troy eliminated

UTA/GS was delayed then moved to Friday @ 9AM. GS up 1-0 top 3rd.

TXST/ULL moved to Friday @ approx 11:30


Fri May 27, 2016 2:57 am
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
0-0 bottom 2nd.

Reminder, game is on ESPN3 (all remaining tournament games are).


Fri May 27, 2016 12:07 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Bobcats get 1 in the bottom of the 3rd.

1-0 TXST. Bottom 4th. Great production on the ESPN3 broadcast by the way. Haven't had the opportunity to watch a single game yet of this tournament.


Fri May 27, 2016 12:37 pm
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Post Re: 2016 Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Umps blow a HR call. Ball was over the fence and they call it a double. Lazy 2nd base umpire didnt get out in to the OF to make a proper call and screws us out of a run.

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Fri May 27, 2016 12:41 pm
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