Most college baseball teams begin the season with a handful of goals, all geared toward building a resume that results in an NCAA Tournament bid come season's end.
For the College of Charleston, one of those goals can be achieved this weekend: the regular-season Southern Conference championship.
"When the NCAA selection committee looks at it, I think they put some emphasis on who wins the regular season," said Cougars coach John Pawlowski. "I think it's very important to win the regular season. I think it makes a statement to the NCAA committee."
The Cougars (36-13, 17-4 SoCon) play host to UNC Greensboro (25-24, 11-10 SoCon) in a three-game series at Patriots Point Field.
Charleston has a two-game lead over Western Carolina in the conference standings, but thanks to a sweep of the Catamounts earlier this season that gives them a tiebreaker edge, the Cougars' magic number is four with six league games to play.
Western Carolina plays a three-game series at Wofford this weekend.
"It's special any time you have a chance to win a championship," Pawlowski said. "That's what we're shooting for. The kids know what's at stake. But we've got a lot of work to do. It will be a tough weekend, I know that."
Four also is a magic number toward another Charleston goal.
"One of our biggest goals of the year is always to try and get to 40 wins," said Charleston pitcher Nick Chigges, who will start tonight's 6 p.m. game for the Cougars. "We need four wins to get to 40, and that would give us the regular season championship also."
Chigges and fellow four-year senior Chris Campbell also stand to achieve something special: a fourth championship ring.
The Cougars have won two of the last three SoCon regular season championships as well as last year's conference tournament championship.
"It's nice to have some older guys on the team who have been through it," Pawlowski said. "Nick Chigges and Chris Campbell know what is expected. It's nice to have guys in that situation. It's fun. It's championship time. If you want to win a championship, you have to go out and prove it on the field."