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Staying Sharp

The best thing, according to The OG, to come out of the Owls' four intrasquads this past weekend? No one suffered an injury, and with his team on the brink of playing its way into a hosting position for an NCAA regional, optimal health is priority No. 1 as the Owls enter the stretch run. Needing to win as many of their 17 remaining games prior to the NCAA Tournament as possible, the Owls' cause will be greatly aided if all hands remain on deck.

As was to be expected 42 games into the season, nothing earth-shattering unfolded over the weekend. The OG added Jr. LHP Matt Evers to the active, 27-man roster with the hope that the veteran southpaw might provide some punch to the bullpen if/when his name is called. With finals nearly complete (more on that subject to come on the mothersite), several players might be relieved enough of their academic burdens to contribute in means beyond what they have thus far this season. Given Evers' talent, he is certainly worth the risk of a roster spot.

Coming off a sound defensive performance in the series finale against East Carolina last Sunday (including two putouts and four assists), Jr. SS Rick Hague 'looked good' at his natural position. Sr. CF Steven Sultzbaugh swung the bat well, and considering how strongly he came on down the stretch last season (Sulztbaugh hit .425/.471/.663 with four homers and 10 RBIs over 23 games following the finals break in 2009), perhaps something positive remains ahead for Sultzbaugh. Fr. 2B Michael Ratterree has been in a prolonged slump at the plate, but with his first academic year ostensibly complete, he appeared much more relaxed. Fr. IF/RHP J.T. Chargois was closely observed at first base as a viable backup to Sr. Jimmy Comerota and, in the never-ending quest to develop reliable righthanded pitching, Fr. Chase McDowell was advanced. Look for McDowell to pitch at some point this week with five games on the slate.

The Owls (26-16, 11-4 C-USA) begin their stretch run on Tuesday against Texas State at The Reck. Their immediate goals remain three-pronged: win the C-USA regular-season title, sweep the field at the C-USA tournament at Cougar Field, and secure a bid as a host for an NCAA regional. With an RPI of 25, the Owls have work to do, but the task isn't improbable.
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