FLORENCE -- The 2011 collegiate baseball season may be just past the midpoint but this weekend's three-game series between No. 18 ranked North Alabama and No. 3 West Florida will have almost a post-season feel. Both teams are on rolls as West Florida has won 11 straight and will bring a 25-4 record to Mike Lane Field. The Argonauts are also ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division II South Regionl and lead the Gulf South Conference East Division with a 5-1 record. UNA is 21-7 overall and has won its last six straight. The Lions are ranked second in the South Region and second in the GSC East Division with a 6-2 league record.
Saturday's double-header is set for 2 p.m. and Sunday's single game begins at 1 p.m.
Between the two schools they have claimed every GSC East Division Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week awards this season.
West Florida won last year's series 2-1 in Pensacola, but UNA's win was a no-hit shutout thrown by Trey Mitchell. Mitchell was also the winning pitcher in a 12-6 UNA win over West Florida in the GSC Tournament. Mitchell is slated to throw in the first game for the Lions and will carry a 6-1 record to the mound. He leads the GSC with four complete games and has won two GSC Pitcher of the Week honors this season.
West Florida has the top hitting team in the GSC with a .330 average, but UNAis fourth with a .325 average. The Argonauts are also tops in pitching with a 2.34 team earned run average, while UNA is fourth at 3.56.
West Florida's pitching staff includes Ben Hawkins (6-0), Jason Postill (6-0), Daniel Vargas-Villa (5-1) and Kevin Peters (3-1), all who rank among the GSC leaders in earned run average. UNA counters with Mitchell, Johnny Hornbuckle (4-2) and Chad Boughner (4-1).
UNA has won the last two series in Florence and has a solid 10-2 record at home this season. Although West Florida is 25-4 overall, the Argonauts are just 5-3 on the road this season.