Mark West: Big Series, Opportunity in Jonesboro for Red Wolves


Arkansas State hosts the biggest baseball series ever in Jonesboro with a lot riding on it as No. 3 Louisiana Lafayette rolls in with a four game lead in the conference and on pace to be a National Seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Red Wolves are clinging to fading at-large bid hopes than can be resuscitated by a series win over this long time conference rival. Arkansas State comes into the series at 26-19 with a 14-7 conference mark that places them alone in second with a two game cushion over Texas State. ULL is 41-6 overall with an 18-3 Sun Belt record and hasn’t lost a weekend series all season.

Louisiana Lafayette leads the Sun Belt in just about every positive category and is poised to roll through the conference. The Red Wolves look to rebound from only their second conference series loss of the year.

This series in Jonesboro will feature a couple of outstanding pitching matchups starting with the Friday night tilt between Preseason Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year Austin Robichaux from ULL taking on A-State’s David Owen. Robichaux looks to rebound from a rough start last time out, his first since returning from an injury while Owen hopes to continue his solid pitching performances at the Tom.

Robichaux is 5-2 on the season with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP while holding opponents to a .227 average with 56 strikeouts against 15 walks. Owen is 5-3 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP with 56 strikeouts and 19 walks with opponents hitting .249 against him.

Saturday will see a pair of aces square off as ULL’s Carson Baranik (8-1, 3.41 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .237 OBA, 52 K, 18 BB) goes toe-to-toe with A-State’s Bradley Wallace (3-3, 3.90 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, .273 OBA, 45 K, 18 BB). Baranik was rolling earlier in the season with a stretch of 30.2 consecutive innings scoreless but has been hit pretty well in his last couple of starts. Wallace was the opposite, starting the season in a struggle but battling through to put together a string of five solid outings.

Sunday the Red Wolves are on a wait and see approach while the Cajuns roll with their solid three guy Cody Boutte. Boutte is unbeaten at 6-0 and is a lefty which has been the Achilles heel for the Red Wolves. Boutte has a 2.58 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and allows a .243 average with 38 strikeouts and 17 walks on the year.

Baseball fans should be in for a treat in this conference rivalry battle.

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You can read more of Mark West at College Baseball Central where he covers Arkansas State, the Sun Belt Conference and the Big 12 Conference at

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