Toppers look to bounce back against Fairmont State

By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
After an unfortunate weekend against Shepherd this past week, the Hilltoppers will prepare for another tough test against the Fairmont State Fighting Falcons.  
The baseball team got swept by the Shepherd Rams to drop them from first place into second place in the Mountain East Conference standings. The Falcons enter the weekend in third place in the north division, and they are hungry to move up in the standings and secure their spot in the conference tournament that is just over two weeks away.
The Hilltoppers enter the weekend with a 22-15 overall record and a 16-8 record in conference games. They control their own destiny for the rest of the season because they are playing the team right below them in the standings and they have a two game lead over Fairmont, so if they can pull a few wins out, they will lock up the number two spot for the conference tournament. 
The Hilltoppers will have to go another weekend without senior starting pitcher Greg Stagani as he is recovering from an arm injury. In Stagani’s place will be Parker Dyson, a sophomore from Tiltonsville, Ohio. 
The Fighting Falcons enter the weekend with a 22-18 record overall and a 14-8 record in conference games. They will finish off their season playing against the number one and number two teams in the Mountain East Conference, so they are in danger of falling out of the top three if they are unable to pull off a few victories in the next two weekends. 
Both of these teams enter with very high team batting averages, both over .300. West Liberty is sporting a .304 batting average and Fairmont State has a .314 batting average. The Hilltoppers pitching staff has been at, or near, the top of the charts for team earned run average with a 4.82 team era. The Falcons will enter the weekend with a team era just over six. 
Last season, when these two teams faced off, Fairmont State came away with three wins in four games, earning them the series victory. For the Hilltoppers, they will be looking for revenge as each of those losses still sting due to the fashion of the losses. All three of the losses were by one run in each game, and two of the losses came on walk-off hits. 
The Hilltoppers will surely need a lot of fans in the crowd cheering them on this weekend as they will take on the Fairmont State Fighting Falcons in a four game series starting on Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. and on Sunday at the same times. For more information on this year’s Hilltoppers, please log onto hilltoppersports and continue reading The Trumpet. 

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