In this mornings Sound Off in the Mobile Press-Register, a reader wrote in criticizing the Jaguar baseball coaching staff. This is rightly so, the team has not performed well since 2006 and the ERA lately has been over 6. So, what is the Athletics Department to do?
With Coach Kitrell’s past success and general likability in the community, it would be a hard sell to fire him. It doesn’t seem like Coach K wants to retire either. However, they might be able to convince him that this would be the best for the program. Either way, what do you do?
Probably the most likely to happen is a shake-up in the staff. Pitching is definitely an area where the bullseye would probably fall. Another area where things could change would be the position of recruiting coordinator.
Recruiting is definitely a tough area for College Baseball. When good high school players graduate, their first inclination is to try to make it in the Minor Leagues. This is the shorter route to possibly making it to the Major Leagues. If they go to college, they may get drafted early in their collegiant career and go play in the Minors. But again, because it’s the shortest route, you don’t go from College to the Majors.
South Alabama and the other programs must have top notch recruiters in order to convince these kids to come to their program. Currently, pitching is at a premium. Which is why you see major league pitchers receiving high paying deals while clubs are scouring minor league teams for the next pitching prospect.
So what is the answer for the South Alabama baseball program? I think it’s too early after the major letdown at the end of the season to determine that. This may be the first major decision the new Athletic Director Joel Erdmann will have to face at South Alabama.
Would Luis Gonzalez like to become a college baseball coach? It could be a big boom in recruiting and his alma mater might be searching.
After an inspiring start on Wednesday, the Jags fell in the second round of the Sun Belt Tournament to top seeded Florida Atlantic. Thought they didn’t go down without a fight.
Trailing 10-4 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, USA could only manage to score two runs after they loaded the bases with with no outs. In the bottom of the ninth, still trailing 10-6, the Jags scored a run before Jags loaded the bases again with no outs. After a fielders choice scored another run, a single through the right side loaded the bases again. A sacrifice fly ball to right would score another run, but was stranded after that when the game ended 10-9.
On Friday, the Jags found themselves facing Florida International, whom they defeated the first day to put them in the losers bracket. FIU scored eight runs in the first four innings but South Alabama would rally for six runs in the top of the sixth inning to cut the lead to 8-7.
The top of the seventh would see the Jags tie the game at eight, but was answered by the Owls in the bottom half of the inning with two runs. The top of the eighth inning had the Jags score their final run of the game.
Trailing by a run in the top of the ninth, they got a one out single to right field, however the runner could not be advanced past first base. So for the second consecutive game the Jags fell 10-9 but were eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament.
The Jags end the season with an overall record of 32-27 after stranding 12 runners on base against for the game.
While the Jags lost five of the last six games of the season, at least they sent the seniors out on a winning note against Troy. After dropping the first two games at home, the Jags won 11-10 on Saturday’s Senior Day.
The season ending losing streak took the Jags from first place to fifth place and will open the Sun Belt Tournament against fourth seeded Florida International on Wednesday at 9am. FIU started the Jaguars losing streak with a three game sweep in Miami.
However, an interesting note about this is that the last time the Jaguars won the Sun Belt Tournament in 2005 the Jaguars lost five of their last six regular season games.
The Jags need to win the SBC Tournament in order to get a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The eight participants in the Tournament in order of their seeding are: 1) Florida Atlantic, 2) Lousiana-Lafayette, 3) Middle Tennessee, 4) Florida International, 5) South Alabama, 6) Troy, 7) Arkansas State and 8) Western Kentucky. As usual with baseball tournaments, this is a double elimination tournament.
South Alabama fell to 30-23 for the season and 16-11 in the Sun Belt while FIU improved to 30-20 overall and 16-11 in the Sun Belt. The Jags fell to 5th place in the Sun Belt, a full three games behind Florida Atlantic who is in first place. The full Sun Belt rankings are: FAU (19-8), ULL (18-9), MTSU (17-10), FIU (16-11), USA (16-11), ASU (15-12), Troy (14-13), WKU (14-13), UALR (10-15), ULM (7-20) and UNO (2-26).
The Jags have a three game home stand against Troy to end the season, while FAU’s regular season has concluded. While the Jags have a chance to improve their SBC tournament ranking, but the other teams the Jags need to leap-from also play lower ranked teams. Another weekend sweep would be disastrous for the Jags.
So come out to Stanky Field and support the Jags during this pivotal weekend series as they try to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Jags fell to second place in the Sun Belt after this past weekend’s three game series at Stanky Field. After falling 7-2 to FAU on Friday night, the Jags came from behind on Saturday night to win 6-5 on a walk-off balk in the 9th inning.
On Sunday afternoon, the Jags lost 6-3 to FAU after a squandering a 3-0 lead in the top of the eighth inning. The Jags allowed five runs on six hits in the top of the eighth, including back-to-back home runs to take the lead 5-3. FAU added an insurance run in the top of the ninth.
So the Jags went into the weekend with a one game lead over FAU but leave the weekend trailing by one game. FAU improves to 18-8 in the Sun Belt and 30-17 for the season while the Jags fall to 16-7 in the Sun Belt and 29-19 on the season.
The Jags still control their own fate though with two more Sun Belt series left in the regular season while FAU only has one series left against FIU.
The Jags have their last non-conference game tomorrow night at Stanky Field when they host #18 ranked Auburn University then they will travel to FIU for a three game weekend series followed by a Thursday through Saturday series at Stanky Field hosting Troy University to end the regular season.
With three remaining Sunbelt conference series left in the season. Their first series will be hosting Florida Atlantic after the Jags off week. The following weekend is a travel to Florida International then the season ending series against Troy in Mobile.
However, when the regular season ends it will only be the beginning for the Jags. In order to get into the College Baseball World Series, Coach Kittrell feels that the Jags need to win conference tournament. Kittrell says that even though the Sunbelt is currently the 5th ranked conference in the nation, it does not guarantee that two or more teams could make the College World Series. The Jags do not want to leave it up to chance, for good reason.