Written by Chris Webb, Staff Writer
On the Diamond this weekend VSU (25-15, 16-11 in GSC play) is looking to secure the sixth and final spot in this year’s Gulf South Conference Baseball Tournament.
Currently sitting with a two-game lead over seventh-place North Alabama, VSU controls their own destiny and can clinch the all-important sixth seed with two wins this weekend when GSC newcomers Mississippi College (12-31, 4-25 in GSC) come into town for a three-game series that kicks-off off with Saturday’s double header starting at 1 p.m.
For a Blazers team that is (6-4) in their last ten games, this matchup could not have come at a better time.
A struggling Choctaws team enters on a five-game losing streak while being outscored overwhelmingly 55-17 during that stretch.
VSU will look forward to add on to that spread for themselves when their high-powered offense steps in the batters box.
The Blazers have had one of the best offenses in the Gulf South Conference all season and are currently second in batting average (.343), runs (315), hits (463), homeruns (42), and runs batted in (278).
If Mississippi College expects to realistically pull off any type of upset, they will need their pitching staff to step up in a big way.
A dismal staff-earned run average of 6.82 puts the Choctaws in second to last place in the GSC and looks to have their hands full all weekend dealing with a Blazers lineup featuring seven batters hitting over .300 on the year.
The big question for VSU however is not found at the plate—they have hit all year. It is found in the bullpen and on the field defensively.
These two problems have reared their ugly faces all season and directly contribute to why the Blazers are still having to battle for a spot in their conference tournament entering the final weekend in the regular season.
VSU ranks second to last in the GSC in saves with only four and seventh in total ERA at 4.67.
The Blazers have been trying a bullpen-by-committee approach all season and it should be interesting to see if Coach Gregg Guilliams keeps that going into the GSC tournament.
With the gloves the Blazers rank a disappointing seventh in the league owning a 965 fielding percentage.
The 55 errors committed by the Blazers this season have been the deciding factor in multiple losses that they arguably deserved to win.
When you get to this point in the season, especially as a team with post-season aspirations, limiting errors is more important then ever.
VSU has not committed an error in their last three games while going (2-1) and will need that trend to continue as they prepare for their last conference challenge before a hopeful conference tournament birth next weekend.