The Union University baseball and softball teams will each host the University of West Georgia teams in a series this weekend.
The Bulldogs will face the University of West Georgia Wolves on Sunday, April 26 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and again on Monday at 2 p.m.
“They’ll be a very good team, just like the others that we’ve played,” said Lee Driggers, head baseball coach. “They’ll have solid pitching, they’ll play good defense and they’ll be able to put the ball in play. So our pitcher has got to do a good job.”
The majority of players starting for the Bulldogs this year had not previously held starting positions. Driggers said the team has not struggled to get players on base, but instead has had difficulty getting hits with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve had a rough year and we’ve been in a lot of ball games but we haven’t been able to close a lot of them out,” Driggers said. “Our glaring weakness all year is the fact that we’ve been playing from behind almost all year, so for us to be successful in this series, our starting pitching has to be good and they have to be on.”
Teddy Christie, sophomore physical education and health major and pitcher, has played an important role in that aspect.
“Teddy Christie on the mound has kept us in a lot of ball games this year,” Driggers said. “He’s been our most consistent pitcher and so I look for him to hopefully have a good last outing.”
Driggers said Jim Martin, senior math major and first baseman, has also been an important, consistent player this season. Martin lead the team offensively all season with a batting average of .371.
According to Driggers, the baseball team is determined to continue working hard despite a difficult season.
“Just like they’ve been all year, we’re just going to go out and try to play the best that we can,” Driggers said.
The Lady Bulldogs will play Saturday, April 25 at 6 p.m. and on Sunday, April 26 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Heather Hall, head softball coach, said she is confident of her team’s abilities going into the weekend series, but is not underestimating the University of West Georgia players.
“They are a good overall team and they are going to fight very hard because if they take this series from us they could very well be in the Gulf South Tournament,” Hall said.
There is one spot left in the Gulf South Conference Tournament and there are four teams competing for it this weekend. The Lady Bulldogs are hopeful of their chances in winning that spot.
“If our players play like they have all season, then we should definitely come out on top,” Hall said.
Senior Kelly Robey, senior sport management major and pitcher, has been a crucial asset to the team this year, according to Hall. Alex Williams, senior athletic training major and pitcher/outfielder, will also be back in the lineup this weekend. Williams has been out most of the season with a fractured wrist.
Seniors aren’t the only ones fighting for these wins.
“The seniors are only guaranteed five more games and I want to do my best for them and give them a great end to their softball career,” said Emily Bennett, freshman biology major and utility player. “Every single player on our team has a purpose and a role, if we stay focused and do our job that we know is expected of us then we will be just fine.”
Bennett, however, has already exceeded what was expected of her as a freshman this year. She is leading the team in hitting as well as in stolen bases.
“Emily Bennett is a freshman and the last three or four weeks she has been on fire,” Hall said. “She hit her first collegiate home run two weeks ago against the University of Alabama Huntsville. She’s a very aggressive player, she makes things happen.”
Members of the Lady Bulldogs said they are ready to take on the weekend but they are even more excited about what lies beyond that.
“We’re here to compete, we’re here to win and [we’re] really excited to finish up our regular season games so we can move forward onto our conference tournament championship,” Hall said.