The East Central University baseball team will be on the road for the final away Great American Conference series of the 2013 season, April 12-13 at Southwestern Oklahoma State. The teams will play a single game Friday, April 12 at 2 p.m. and a double-header starting at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 13.
Fans who can’t be at the game can find links to live stats, live video (if available) on ECUTigers.com. Go to the baseball schedule page.
The Bulldogs are 24-12 overall and 14-7 in the GAC after going 2-1 at Harding last weekend and earning two wins over Oklahoma Science & Arts April 9. Southwestern has been strong at home going 18-7 at home in 2013.
The Bulldogs have a .298 average for the season and have allowed a .256 mark by their opponents. They have out-scored the opposition 193-132 and out-hit them 316-267.
Kevin Cantrell and Cooper Chambers are the top producers at the plate for Southwestern. Cantrell has a .379 average, with 44 hits, 25 runs scored and 20 RBIs. Chambers is hitting .375, with 24 hits, 10 runs scored and 12 RBIs.
Shane Martin and Calyn Young have seen the most action on the mound for the Bulldogs. Martin has pitched 75 innings, going 8-1 and has a 2.76 ERA. He has allowed 72 hits, 28 runs and struck out 48. Young has allowed 67 hits, 35 runs and struck out 39 in 68.1 innings of work. He is 5-2 on the season with a 2.77 ERA.
Against the Bulldogs
In 2012 the Tigers and Southwestern battled three times, with the Bulldogs earning two of the wins despite a 12 to 13 runs scored difference for the series.
Senior Mac Grace had three hits in the series and hit .500. Fellow senior Paul Guardado added three hits, two runs scored and two RBIs.
Senior Gabriel Martinez and junior Robert Buitrago both threw five innings against the Bulldogs. Martinez allowed two hits and one unearned run, while striking out three. Buitrago allowed eight hits and five runs.
Kevin Cantrell is the only returner to see an at-bat in the series, where he had a single hit and run scored. Cole Stephens and Shane Martin both saw six innings on the mound against the Tigers. Stephens allowed six hits and three runs, while earning four strikeouts. Martin picked up a win and allowed six hits and three runs, with five strikeouts.
The series with Northwestern Oklahoma State, April 19-20 is going to be Alumni Weekend for Tiger Baseball. All alumni are encouraged to attend. ECU fans will have an opportunity to mingle with alumni, current players and coaches after each day with free food provided. The Tigers will have a Fajita Night Friday after the game and a Crawfish Boil after Saturday’s double-header.
Breaking the Streak
With the 3-2 come-from-behind win at Oklahoma Christian (March 18), the Tigers broke a 12-game losing streak that had started Feb. 22 at Henderson State. During the span ECU played nine of those games on the road and had three one-run games.
Mariano Making Moves
Junior Michael Mariano has been strong at the plate for the Tigers. The Okmulgee, Okla., native has a current hitting streak of 15 games going and has been on base in all 18 games that he has appeared at the plate.
Golden Grand Slam
Junior Ethan Gold hit the Tigers first grand slam of the season in the bottom of the sixth inning against Ouachita Baptist, Feb. 17. The home run was the first of the season for Gold and capped off a 14-run inning for ECU.
Shutting Out the Opposition
In the second game of the four-game series at Abilene Christian, seniors Andrew Olson and Gabriel Martinez combined to shutout the Wildcats and ECU went on to win 3-0. Olson picked up the win and threw five innings, striking out three batters and allowing five hits, but no runs. Martinez pitched the last two innings to earn the save, with no hits allowed and two strikeouts.
Benny Banging Away
Senior Benny Woodard was the first Tiger to earn a hit in the opening weekend of action, with a double. The Kennedale, Texas, native garnered a home run, two doubles, five hits, four RBIs and a .455 batting average in the first four games.
GAC Preseason Poll
The Tigers were picked to finish 10th in the 2013 Great American Conference Baseball Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
Southern Arkansas was picked to finish first, with 63 points and seven first-place votes. Southeastern earned the second spot, with 56 points and one first-place votes. Arkansas Tech was the only other school to receive a first-place vote and finished third (48 points). Ouachita Baptist (44 points), Southwestern (35 points), Harding (29 points), Henderson State (22 points) and Arkansas-Monticello (17 points) round out the field.
The Tigers will return home for the final two weeks of the season, starting with a GAC series with Northwestern Oklahoma State, April 19-20 at Tiger Field. The final series of the season is scheduled for April 26-27 against Southeastern Oklahoma State.