For the fourth-straight season the East Central University softball team will be competing in its league championship tournament, as the Lady Tigers (39-11, 23-7 GAC) claimed the No. 2 seed in the 2013 Great American Conference Championship Tournament, April 25-27 in Bentonville, Ark. ECU will open the tournament with a match up with No. 7 Ouachita Baptist, Thursday, April 25 at noon at Tiger Athletic Complex in the double-elimination tournament.
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 Ouachita Baptist
OBU is 18-31 overall and finished the GAC season with a 12-20 mark after going 3-1 against Southern Arkansas last weekend at home.
OBU has a .247 average on the year and is allowing a .292 mark at the plate. They are being out hit 314 to 393 and have scored 90 fewer runs (161/251) on the season.
Megan Askew and Kailey Madden are the top producers at the plate. Askew has a .323 average, with 43 hits, 32 runs scored, 10 home runs and 25 RBIs. Madden has complied a .303 average on 47 hits, 17 runs scored and 21 RBIs.
OBU has three pitchers that have seen action this season, with Abbi Frakes seeing the majority of the time in the circle. Frakes is 12-17 on the year, with a 4.57 ERA in 201 innings of action. She has allowed 192 hits, 127 runs and 77 walks, while adding 159 strikeouts. The other two pitchers on the roster have seen less than 80 innings of work.
Against the Lady Tigers
This season ECU earned four wins over OBU March 15-16. ECU claimed 4-1, 9-6, 7-0 and 9-4 wins at Lady Tiger Field in Ada. ECU hit .368 as a team and held OBU to a .260 mark.
Senior Shelby Simmons led ECU with a .600 average on nine hits, three runs scored and three RBIs. Freshman Jordynn VanPelt added a .500 mark, with five hits, four runs scored and four RBIs. Sophomore Kayci Snider led the team with five RBIs and added five hits and three runs scored.
All three pitchers earned at least one win in the circle for ECU, with freshman Lacey Paulk going 2-0. Paulk allowed 10 hits and five runs, while striking out 14. Sophomore Brianna Nunley went 1-0, allowing 12 hits and six runs and striking out five. Senior Ali Manship was 1-0, with five hits allowed and five strikeouts, while earning a shutout win.
Brianne Baley and Olivia Guin were the top producers for OBU. Baley hit .455 on five hits, while Guin added a .400 mark on two hits. All three pitchers saw action in the series, with Abbi Frakes and Shelby McWhorter both suffering two losses each. Frakes allowed 18 hits and 11 runs and struck out three. McWhorter allowed 12 hits and runs and struck out five.
Thursday’s game will mark the fourth time in 2012-13 that an ECU team has met an OBU team in the conference tournament. Soccer and women’s basketball both meet the other Lady Tigers in the opening round of their tournaments and men’s tennis faced OBU in the championship match. The only team to not face OBU in the championship tournament is volleyball.
Against the League
The Lady Tigers have faced all but one team in this year’s tournament field after the series with Southeastern Feb. 22-23 was cancelled due to large amounts of rain a freezing temperatures. ECU has played the rest of the field at least twice this season and the worst record is .500. ECU went 4-0 against OBU and Henderson State; 3-1 with Southwestern and Arkansas Tech; 2-2 with Southern Arkansas; and 1-1 with Arkansas-Monticello.
Gina Doubling Up
For the second time in three weeks, junior Gina Mengwasser was named the GAC Player of the Week (April 2/April 16). Her second honor comes after she hit .600 over six games, with nine hits, three runs scored and six RBIs. Her first honor was due to a week when she hit .500 in four games; recording six hits, three home runs, seven RBIs, eight putouts and four assisted outs.
Patterson Leading the Charge
Sophomore Chelsea Patterson had a strong weekend at the plate for ECU against Henderson State. The Decatur, Texas, native tallied a .615 average with eight hits, six runs and one RBI.
Gina Going the Distance
In the first game against Southern Arkansas, March 22, junior Gina Mengwasser came up big for the Lady Tigers. ECU was trailing 3-2 with two outs. Senior Ali Manship was walked and sophomore Lauren Bancroft had hit a single to right when Mengwasser stepped to the plate and hit a three-run game-winning home run off the top of the fence in center field.
Striking Out the Competition
In the six games that ECU played from March 12-16 the pitching staff combined for a 6-0 mark and 39 strikeouts. Sophomore Brianna Nunley started the strong week off with 10 K’s against Oklahoma Baptist (March 12) and freshman Lacey Paulk continued the run with 11 against Ouachita Baptist (March 15).
Simmons Earns Player of the Week Honors
ECU senior Shelby Simmons was named the GAC Player of the Week for March 19 after helping the Lady Tigers to a 6-0 record over the week.
The North Richland Hills, Texas, native hit .591 for the week, with 13 hits in 22 at-bats. Simmons scored five runs, added four RBIs, had a double and triple and a slugging percentage of .727.
Leah Leaping Forward
Freshman Leah Tigert had a standout weekend for the Tigers at Southwestern and earned GAC Player of the Week honors for her efforts. The Hennepin, Okla., native hit .636, with seven hits and six RBIs. Tigert came up big with a double and a game-winning double in the seventh inning of the fourth game with the Lady Bulldogs.
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.
So far this season the Lady Tigers have played 46 games, winning 36. Of those 36 wins ECU has earned the victories at the end of the fifth inning in 14 games, with the run rule.
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.
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.
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.
The Lady Tigers will next face either No. 3 Arkansas Tech or No. 6 Henderson State in the next round at 6 p.m.