ECU Softball Prepares for Series with No. 2 Southeastern

The Games
The East Central University softball team will look to open the Great American Conference and home portions of their 2013 schedule this weekend when they host Southeastern Oklahoma State. The games have been rescheduled for a double-header on Feb. 23 due to the rain and snow fall in the area over the week, starting at 1 p.m.

The Coverage
Fans who can’t be at the game can find links to live stats, live video (if available) on ECUTigers.com. Go to the softball schedule page.

Scouting Southeastern
The Savage Storm are raked No. 2 in the latest NFCA.com polls after starting the season 14-3 and winning their last eight games, including three ranked opponents on the way to the NFCA Leadoff Classic Title last weekend.

Jessica Simmons and Courtney Moore lead Southeastern at the plate. Simmons has a .356 batting average, with 21 hits and four RBIs. Moore has 17 hits, four home runs, 15 RBIs and a .354 average.

Jacee Bennett and Mindy McElroy are the key pitchers for the Savage Storm. Bennett is 9-1, with two saves, three complete games, a 2.15 ERA and a .206 opponent batting average. McElroy is 4-1, with a 2.01 ERA and 22 strikeouts to her credit.

As a team, Southeastern has a .293 batting average and has allowed just a .242 average by the opposition. The pitching staff has recorded a 2.85 ERA and forced their opponents into a 4.05 ERA.

Against the Savage Storm
Last year the Lady Tigers and Southeastern played four games, with ECU going 1-3 in the series. The Savage Storm earned a 36 to 50 hit advantage, but the Lady Tigers hit six home runs to three by Southeastern.

Lauren Brancroft and Ali Manship are the top returners from the series for ECU. Bancroft hit .600, with three hits and two RBIs, while Manship tallied six hits, one home run, five RBIs and a .462 average. Brianna Nunley led the returning pitchers with a 1-1 record, with a 6.72 ERA and five strikeouts.

Courtney Moore is the top returner for the Savage Storm, with a batting average of .571 on eight hits and eight RBIs. Jacee Bennett is the key returner in the circle, with a 2-0 record, 2.00 ERA and one strikeout to her credit.

Finishing Early
So far this season the Lady Tigers have played 14 games, winning 10. Of those 10 wins ECU has earned the victories at the end of the fifth inning in six games, with the run rule.

All-Tournament Honors
Four members of the ECU softball team earned a spot on the 12-member Tarleton State All-Tournament team. Junior Gina Mengwasser, senior Shelby Simmons and sophomore Lacey Williams were named to the team as the catcher, short stop and outfielder, while senior Ali Manship was named the co-MVP of the tournament.

Mengwasser has a .385 batting average, with three home runs, four RBIs and a 1.077 slugging percentage. Simmons finished the four games with a .500 batting average, a double, home run and four RBIs. Williams tallied a .455 average, with a double and home run. She also added an RBI, .818 slugging percentage and 2-2 in stolen bases. Manship earned a win in the circle and recorded a batting average of .600. She tallied five home runs and nine RBIs, with a 1.600 slugging percentage.

Home Run Fever
The Lady Tigers had a case of home run fever in the Tarleton State Tournament, with 12 total home runs, including seven in the second day.

Senior Ali Manship led the team with five home runs, junior Gina Mengwasser added three, and senior Shelby Simmons, sophomores Lauren Bancroft and Lacey Williams and freshman Jordynn VanPelt all garnered one.

Mengwasser Picking Up Recognition
Junior transfer Gina Mengwasser made an immediate impact for the Lady Tigers in her first games. The Edmond, Okla., native tallied four hits, including a home run and a grand slam. She tallied 10 RBIs and a .786 slugging percentage. For her efforts she was named to the 14-member St. Mary’s All-Tournament Team as the catcher.

Manship GAC Pitcher of the Week
Senior Ali Manship also had a strong showing in the opening weekend of action and was named the first Great American Conference Pitcher of the Week for the 2013 season. The honor is the first for the Harrah, Okla., native.

Manship picked up the win in all three of the Lady Tigers victories at the St. Mary’s Invitational. She threw a shutout and two complete games. She struck out seven and registered an ERA of 1.47 for the weekend. As a batter, she hit .429 (6-for-14) with four runs scored.

GAC Preseason Poll
The Lady Tigers were picked to finish third in the 2013 Great American Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. ECU received 35 points.

Arkansas-Monticello earned the top spot, with 43 points and four first-place votes. Southeastern was second, with 39 points and two first-place votes, with Southwestern and Southern Arkansas each earning the final first-place votes and finishing fourth (34 points) and fifth (30 points), respectively. Henderson State (17 points), Arkansas Tech (13) and Ouachita Baptist (13 points) round out the poll.

Up Next
The Lady Tigers will remain at home for a double-header against Oklahoma Baptist, Feb. 26, starting at 1 p.m., before heading to face Southwestern Oklahoma State, March 1-2 in GAC action.


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