William and Mary baseball head to Hofstra this weekend for a three-game series up in Hempstead, N.Y. While every series can be worthy of a long write up, there are a couple of storylines which bear watching heading into the weekend.
1) Is sophomore Matt Davenport a starter? Davenport has been brilliant so far this season. He has a 2.11 E.R.A in 16 appearances this season. He leads the team in wins (6), innings (64), strikeouts (57) and appearances coming out of the bullpen for the Tribe.
But Davenport struggled last season as starter. In five starts last year, Davenport gave up three or more runs in all but two of his starts. More troubling was the fact that Davenport struck out only 15 hitters in 31 and two-thirds innings last year as a starter. Davenport has a stellar strikeout rate as a reliever this season, but in his first start last Friday gave up 10 hits and struck out five in 6 and one-third innings.
Davenport will never be a strikeout pitcher like freshman John Farrell, but he needs to maintain his high K-rate to be effective. He has done so this season out of the bullpen, the question is whether he can continue to limit the hits keep the strikeouts as a starter.
2) Can the Tribe keep up in Conference? Right now, the Tribe is 6-6 in CAA play and in sixth place, two spots out of the fourth and final playoff spot in conference.
James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth are far ahead of all other teams with 11 wins each. The other teams are within striking distance for the College but, with the exception of Georgia State who plays VCU, they all are playing a cupcake schedule this weekend. George Mason (7-5) takes on 3-6 Delaware and UNC Wilmington (7-5) takes on 0-9 Northeastern. Hofstra is 3-6 in the CAA. The Tribe could use three wins this weekend to keep up in Conference.
3) Wither R.J. Archer? Forget the NFL Draft for a second. Archer had two starts in leftfield last weekend as freshman outfielder Derek Lowe sat out with a hand injury. Lowe returned to the starting lineup versus Longwood Tuesday, but the freshman has struggled at the plate at times this season, mostly against lefties.
In a big series, if Lowe struggles, will Archer get a shot in left again? Or will he already be on a plane to Minnesota or some other NFL city by Sunday?