In the penultimate weekend of the GAC regular season and two of the three teams at the top of the baseball standings are battling for the regular season title. Southeastern is hosting No. 25 Arkansas-Monticello with a lot on the line. Here are five things to know about this series.
• Both teams have won seven of the nine conference series they’ve played – Southeastern has currently won seven in a row – and both have swept three. Of the series that the Storm swept, the most recent was last weekend in Magnolia, when they took down Southern Arkansas. It marked the first time any team had swept SAU since the formation of the Great American Conference and the first sweep of the Muleriders since 2006.
• Southeastern coach said on the GAC Weekly that in order to win the series, Southeastern was going to have to score a lot because UAM was going to get its share. The Weevils have been putting up a little more than seven runs per contest. Led by the bat of Corey Wood, who is hitting .355 on the year and just powered in his 15th home run of the season, which surpassed a 17-year old record at Monticello.
• Both coaches reached milestones during April. UAM coach John Harvey hit win No. 300 last week with a win in the series finale against East Central. Harvey’s record is now 301-268 in 12 seasons at the helm.
Metheny has been the head man for a few years longer. Now in his 36th year, Metheny is the active leader in wins in Division II. The 6-1 Storm win over Oklahoma Baptist on April 9 marked win No. 1,300 for his career. He is 20th on the all-time wins list and third in Division II. His record is now 1,303-643-2, with only 12 wins needed to be first all time for D-II.
• On the mound, Matt Benedict leads the way for the Storm with a 2.68 ERA. The senior from Tupelo is 5-2 on the year, has pitched at least five innings in his last three outings – all wins – and has won his last four overall. For UAM, Braden Chambers has stepped up as the season has gone on. As a sophomore worked his way into the rotation and has not lost this year, now 8-0 with an ERA of 2.37.
• Each team is looking for its first GAC regular season championship. Southeastern finished second in the inaugural GAC season in 2012, and finished second in its final two seasons in the Lone Star Conference in 2010 and 2011, but won the LSC Tournament in 2011. The then-Savages won the LSC South division title in 2000, the third of three, and went on to win the D-II national title.
Arkansas-Monticello was second in the GAC in 2014.
The first game of the series is set to start at 2 p.m. at the Ballpark in Durant. There will be a doubleheader on Saturday with scheduled start times of 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.