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MARSHALL, April 30, 2014—YourEastTexas.com brings you the East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) Baseball and Softball Preview by Eric Holth.
Winning the final game of the series vs. University of the Ozarks, East Texas Baptist University kept themselves firmly entrenched in the hunt for the American Southwest Conference Tournament. In their final series of the regular season, ETBU visits Louisiana College needing at least two wins to get into the tournament. Friday night’s series opener begins at 6 p.m., with Saturday’s doubleheader beginning at noon.
“I feel like we didn’t show up,” said head coach Lee Driggers. “We had a bad weekend. Fortunately for us, we get another chance. You don’t get many second chances, but the way the standings work out that we can control our own destiny gives us another chance. If we hit on all cylinders this weekend, we will keep playing, if we can’t, then we won’t.”
Tyler Bates, who has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games, leads the team in batting average (.357), runs scored (24) and stolen bases (13) and Phillip Windham leads the team in home runs (nine) and RBI’s (33). On the mound, Jordan Wilkerson leads the team in ERA at 3.90 while Zack Tampke leads them in wins (four), shutouts (one), innings pitched (70.2) and strikeouts (31). Tampke is tied with Ashley Dukes for the team lead in complete games with three each.
Louisiana College enters the weekend 14-22 overall and 13-17 in the ASC, tied for seventh with Hardin-Simmons. Kyle Feazell leads the team in batting average (.351), home runs (four) and RBI’s (21) while Mark Riendeau leads the team in runs scored with 25 and Kade Van Norman leads the team in steals with four. Madison Lachney leads the pitching staff in ERA (2.63), wins (five), complete games (nine), shutouts (three), innings pitched (68.1) and strikeouts (34).
When asked how he will prepare his team, Driggers replied: “We just need better focus. One starting pitcher being good isn’t good enough. We left the bases loaded in a couple of those close games several times and didn’t get clutch hits. Two positive takeaways were that all the seniors had good final series’ at home and that we are still alive and the fact that we are able to go over to Louisiana this weekend with something to play for just gives us another chance.”
Two wins for ETBU would get them into the ASC Tournament, which takes place in Austin, Texas beginning May 7.
Looking to defend their American Southwest Conference Tournament championship from last season, #7 East Texas Baptist University seeks their eighth conference title and eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament. Their first opponent in the ASC Tournament will be Concordia-Texas on Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m.
“Our whole objective in the Sul Ross series was to make sure we played our best ball,” said head coach Janae Shirley. “We were sharp with the things that we did. The girls had good at bats, they played good defensive ball and our pitchers had nice outings in the circle.”
During their current 18 game winning streak, ETBU has posted 14 shutouts and has outscored opponents 156-7. Lacey Lindsey leads the team in batting average (.442), home runs (14) and RBI’s (49), Alyssa Romero leads the team in runs scored with 37 and Kayla Garcia leads the team in steals with 16. In the circle, Shelby Parker leads the team in wins (17), shutouts (eight), innings pitched (119) and strikeouts (155) while Kelly Jo McLendon leads the team in ERA (0.69) and complete games (13).
When asked about how the team is preparing for the ASC Tournament, Shirley responded: “We talk about there being several seasons. This is the start of the new season: the playoffs. We have to have the same approach. We have to make sure we play our ball. We have to come at Concordia with a lot of energy and excitement and play our ball.”
Concordia-Texas is the seventh seed in the ASC Tournament and has a record of 17-23 overall and 14-19 in the ASC. Concordia and ETBU played in Austin early in April with ETBU sweeping the series 8-1, 10-0 and 10-0 to run their winning streak to nine at the time. Jessica Parish, a former ETBU player (2011), leads the team in batting average (.412), RBI’s (30) and is tied for the team lead in home runs with Jenna Franz (two). Katie Carrizales leads the team in runs scored (32) and steals (10). On the pitching side, Sydney Coffey leads the team in ERA (4.18), complete games (11), shutouts (two), innings pitched (115.2) and strikeouts (45) while being tied with Zalysa Perez for the lead in wins with seven.
A win would put ETBU in the top part of the bracket for a game against the Mary Hardin-Baylor/Texas-Dallas winner Friday, at 1 p.m.
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