CHATTANOOGA — The rain rolled in and washed away Saturday’s Gulf South Conference baseball tournament games, affecting UNA pitchers Chad Boughner and Cade Medley in different ways.
For Boughner, who threw 130 pitches in a Gulf South Tournament-opening loss on Thursday, it meant an extra day of rest and the possibility for an earlier return should the Lions advance in the losers’ bracket.
For Medley, it meant meant an extra day of waiting for his first start in two weeks, his last scheduled appearance also having been rained out.
UNA (28-20-1) will find out this morning whether its elimination game against West Georgia (25-23) will be rained out once again, with the forecast calling for persistent rain. The earliest tournament play could resume is 11 a.m.
“I’m ready to throw,” Medley said. “I didn’t get a chance to throw last weekend and that kind of ticked me off a little bit. I’m just ready to get out there again. I haven’t done anything but bullpen the last two weeks to stay tuned up.”
Medley (6-1) was supposed to start last Sunday’s rubber match at West Georgia before it was washed out. His last start was a four-hit shutout of Valdosta State on April 14.
A first-year transfer from Wallace State, he has somewhat of an element of surprise over the Wolves, who have never faced the All-GSC second-teamer.
“I think overall there is an advantage there,” Medley said. “But I’m just going to pitch them like I would any other team. Any team left in this tournament is going to hit it pretty good.”
Despite Saturday’s 6:45 a.m. wakeup call and pre-game routine, Medley looked outside and had little doubt the game would be scrubbed.
He tried to get his mind off of it, spending the afternoon at the Tennessee Aquarium with coach Mike Keehn and other players.
Some teammates went the movies. Others, including Boughner, stayed at the team hotel.
The Lions’ sixth-year senior ace spent the day resting and studying for an accounting exam he needs to pass in his pursuit of an master’s degree in business administration.
He feels confident he’ll be ready to return for a Monday start.
“I’ve got some more studying to do, but I don’t know if I can spend another day in the hotel,” Boughner said. “It’s a good thing to get some rest, but I don’t know if it’s an advantage for any team.”
Getting that opportunity would give him another chance to pick up his first postseason win.
Boughner holds eight UNA records, including four career marks, but is 0-6 in postseason games and 0-4 in GSC tournament games, though by little fault of his own.
He has been the hard-luck loser in several of those games, including two last year in the GSC tournament and another in the NCAA Division II South Regional as the Lions’ offense gave him one run of support in 22 2/3 innings pitched.
“It would be a big opportunity,” Boughner said. “It would be nice to have another chance at a postseason win. Not only that, but every extra game in the post-season is another chance for me to play another game.”
Boughner will have three days rest by Monday and was always expected, before the rain rolled in, to pitch that day if UNA advanced to the championship round.
With the delayed schedule, he might now get a chance to return as soon as a semifinal game.
“We’ll have to see how he feels,” Keehn said. “The good thing is he had a short week last week, pitching Saturday at West Georgia and coming back Thursday and throwing effectively. We still have to get through this game. After we do that, we can worry about the next step. West Georgia is playing well, they’re swinging the bats and had a lot of momentum coming into (Saturday).”
Keehn also pointed out that all six remaining tournament teams being able to rest their best arms doesn’t translate to much of an advantage.
If today’s games also are rained out, Keehn said, maybe West Georgia also could have its ace, Jamie Sexton, available.
As of Saturday evening, Keehn said the GSC contingency plan included possibly playing more games Monday in order to have a chance to play the entire tournament at 6,362-seat AT&T Field.
The stadium’s tenant, the Chattanooga Lookouts, return for a home game Tuesday at 6:15 p.m., creating a scheduling problem if today’s games are rained out.
Located 30 miles east of here, Lee University, which will become a GSC provisional member this fall, would serve as an alternate site.
“I just hope we get a chance to finish the tournament in the stadium,” Keehn said.
“It would be disappointing not to. If we can play (today), there’s still a chance to finish in the stadium. Having to go finish at an alternate site would take something away from it.”
Bryan App can be reached at 256-740-5730 or bryan.app@TimesDaily.com. Follow @bappster on Twitter.