Despite winning two of three from Southern Conference favorite College of Charleston last weekend and knocking off No. 3 South Carolina on Tuesday, The Citadel remains in ninth place in SoCon baseball.
That's not good, considering that only eight teams make the SoCon tournament, set for May 25-29 at the Bulldogs' own Riley Park.
And that's why coach Fred Jordan is hoping the 2-0 victory over the Gamecocks can give his squad some momentum heading into its final four SoCon series of the season, starting today at Furman.
"It all depends," Jordan said of the win over USC, "on if we use it as a springboard, or as a hammock."
The Bulldogs (13-20, 7-11) are just behind Appalachian State (6-9 SoCon) for eighth place in the league. Furman is sixth at 17-18 overall and 7-7 in the league, and the Paladins boast their own victory over USC, a 4-2 win on March 15 when the Gamecocks were ranked No. 4.
Meanwhile, College of Charleston also faces a crucial SoCon series at league leader Elon, and Charleston Southern is home to VMI in Big South play.
The Citadel will again be short-handed, with closer Drew Mahaffey (leg) definitely out for the weekend. T.J. Clarkson filled that role against USC on Tuesday, getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth inning.
Citadel center fielder Nick Orvin (shoulder) will be a game-time decision. He was expected to swing a bat today in practice after running into the outfield wall in last Sunday's loss to College of Charleston and missing the USC game.
Jordan will stick with his weekend rotation of Matt Talley, Austin Pritcher and Justin Russell.
The 21-12 Cougars are fifth in the SoCon at 7-5, but could make up a lot of ground with a series win or sweep of first-place Elon (22-12, 12-3), which has lost only one SoCon series so far, at UNC Greensboro.
Charleston Southern (20-17, 7-5) is tied for third in the Big South and is coming off a 4-3 win over College of Charleston. The Bucs need a good weekend against VMI (16-16, 5-7) to keep pace with league leader Coastal Carolina (21-12, 7-2).