The East Central University softball team will open the 2014 season at the St. Mary’s DII Classic for the third straight season. In the past two seasons the Lady Tigers have gone 6-1 at the tournament, with their lone loss to a ranked opponent.
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 Texas A&M International
The Dust Devils finished the 2013 season with a 22-36 overall record. TAMUI lost six players from the team and has 11 upperclassman and eight freshmen on the 2014 roster.
Mariena Gallardo is the top returner at the plate and in the circle for the Dust Devils. Gallardo finished the season with a .325 batting average, 17 runs, 53 hits and 29 RBIs. She also threw 122 innings, for a 3.98 ERA and a 7-5 record. Kyndall Reaves is the other key returning pitcher for TAMUI, with a 5.18 ERA, 8-10 record and 30 strikeouts.
Against the Dust Devils
Last season the Lady Tigers earned two five-inning wins over TAMUI at the Midwestern State tournament (9-0/11-3).
Kaci Snider led ECU at the plate in the 2013 series, hitting .833, with three runs, five hits, two home runs and four RBIs. Brianna Nunley earned a win in the circle, with six strikeouts.
Scouting St. Mary’s
The Rattlers claimed the 2013 Heartland Conference regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Regional with a 45-15 record. St. Mary’s now has three seniors and seven freshmen on the 2014 roster.
Emily Brittain is the top returning pitcher for the Rattlers, with a 1.98 ERA, 27-6 record, 192 hits allowed and 105 strikeouts. Nicole Sardelich is the top returner at the plate, with a .444 average, 58 runs and 87 hits.
Against the Rattlers
The Lady Tigers earned a 4-2 win over St. Mary’s last season during the tournament.
Jordynn VanPelt led ECU at the plate, with one hit and two RBIs.
Taylor Vidrine led the Rattlers, with one hit, run and RBI.
Scouting St. Edward’s
The Hilltoppers went 33-23 in 2013 and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round. St. Edward’s returns 14 from the 2013 season and added three newcomers to the 2014 roster.
Sarah Debrow is the top returner in the circle, with a 2.18 ERA, 23-11 record, 180 hits allowed and 237 strikeouts. Kaci Olson and Faith Roberts are the top returners at the plate. Olson had a .345 average, 30 runs, 61 hits and 17 RBIs. Roberts added a .333 average, 58 runs, 42 hits and 31 RBIs.
Scouting Texas A&M Kingsville
The Javelins went 13-38 overall and 2-15 in the Lone Star Conference in 2013. TAMUK lost eight players, including two pitchers that accounted for all but one decision last season.
Adela Gomez is the top returner in the field, with a .316 average, 28 runs and 49 hits. Carynn Gonzales added a .247 batting average, 15 runs, 36 hits and 13 RBIs.
Against the Javelins
The Lady Tigers met TAMUK in the St. Mary’s tournament a season ago and claimed a 12-6 win in six innings.
Gina Mengwasser led ECU at the plate, with one run, a home run and four RBIs. Lacey Paulk threw the first two innings for the Lady Tigers, striking out three batters.
Adela Gomez earned two RBIs on one hit for the Javelins.
GAC Preseason Poll
The success from a year ago and the retention of the majority of the 2013 squad has not gone unnoticed by the GAC coaches, as ECU was picked to finish second (87 points/2 first-place votes) in the 2014 GAC Preseason Poll.
Southeastern Oklahoma State was picked to finish first, with 97 points and seven first-place votes. Arkansas-Monticello was picked third (75 points/2 first-place votes), Arkansas Tech fourth (70 points), Southern Arkansas fifth (60 points), Henderson State sixth (59), Ouachita Baptist and Southern Nazarene seventh (36 points), Northwestern Oklahoma State ninth (33), Southwestern Oklahoma State 10th (27) and Harding 11th (25).
The Lady Tigers will next play at the Southeastern Oklahoma State Regional Tournament, Feb. 7-9 in Durant, Okla.