Baseball Prepares to Host Arkansas Tech

The Games:
The East Central University baseball team returns to Tiger Field for a Great American Conference series with Arkansas Tech, March 1-2. The teams have one game scheduled for Friday, March 1 at 2 p.m. and a double-header scheduled for Saturday, March 2, 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 baseball schedule page.

Scouting Arkansas Tech:
The Wonder Boys are 13-5 overall and 3-0 in the GAC, having swept Southern Nazarene two weeks ago.

ATU has a team batting average of .325 and is allowing just a .281 mark. The Wonder Boys have garnered 181 hits this season and allowed 155. The pitching staff has combined for a 4.69 ERA, while forcing a 7.20 ERA on its opponents.

Cesar Abreu leads ATU at the plate, with a .468 average. He has scored 15 runs, tallied 22 hits and 13 RBIs. Cole Fergus is also hitting over .400, with a .431 mark on 25 hits and 14 RBIs.

Ryan Taylor and Danny Parker have seen most of the action on the mound for the Wonder Boys. Taylor has pitched 26.2 innings and has a 2-1 record, 2.70 ERA, 1.35 opponent batting average and has struck out 16 batters. Parker is 3-0 in 20 innings of work, with a 3.15 ERA, .278 average and 20 strikeouts.

Against The Wonder Boys:
In 2012, ATU earned a sweep of the Tigers on the road.

Paul Guardado is the top offensive producer for ECU, with a .444 average on four hits and one run. Gabriel Martinez is the only returning pitcher to see action against the Wonder Boys, having thrown just one inning.

Jonathan Finnegan is the top returner for ATU, with a .375 average, three runs, three hits and four RBIs. Ethan Crocker is the only pitcher to return to have faced the Tigers, throwing just one inning.

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 10 games going and has been on base in all 13 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.

Up Next:
The Tigers will hit the road for the next seven games, the longest road trip of the season. ECU will first face Bacone College (March 5) and then have a league series with Harding (March 8-9). The final three games of the road trip will be non-conference games against Oklahoma Baptist (March 12), Oklahoma Christian (March 16) and Oklahoma City (March 18).


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