March 30, 2012

Can the Bobcats stay hot this weekend versus McNeese?

Despite being tied for second place with Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland Conference standings - trailing co-leaders Sam Houston State and Northwestern State by just a single game - McNeese State looks more like a sheep in wolf's clothing than they do a serious championship contender. With a 6-3 record in Southland play, the Cowboys are just 9-12 overall on the season. It helps that they've already played early at home against Central Arkansas (11-11) and Nicholls State (14-11). They were able to take care of business over those six games, compiling a 5-1 record, but have struggled mightily against quality Southland Conference competition this season.

The Cowboys lost two of three to Northwestern State in Natchitoches and a tournament game to Southeastern Louisiana by a 9-1 margin. Luckily for the Cowboys, the loss to Southeastern Louisiana does not factor into the conference standings. McNeese State has also been a poor road team so far this season, going 3-6 away from Lake Charles so far in 2012. That being said, with Texas State boasting just a 4-5 record in conference play and getting swept at Sam Houston State last weekend, the Bobcats need this series a lot worse than the Cowboys do.

With a team batting average of .267 and good balance throughout their lineup, the Cowboys are pretty solid offensively. Their pitching, however, is a different story. On the surface, the McNeese team ERA of 5.31 could lead one to believe this team lacks any quality arms, but that is not the case. They have several talented kids, but their staff, led by Blake Ware (1.26 ERA), is very top heavy. The Cowboys have a handful of players with excellent numbers, but the drop-off is significant after that. Anytime you have five student-athletes who have appeared in multiple games with double digit ERA's, you have problems.

The stench of the BearKat losses over the weekend should have cleared up after the midweek sweep of (at the time) a ranked Oregon squad. This is a winnable series for the Bobcats, but a dangerous one. Texas State goes on the road until April 20th, with games at Baylor, Rice, Southeastern Louisiana, and Texas in that span. A sweep of the McNeese series could be the continuation of a hot streak leading into a heavyweight road trip.

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