The East Central University baseball team will start a seven-game road swing this weekend when they travel to Alva, Okla., to face Northwestern Oklahoma State. The teams are scheduled to play a single game Friday, April 18 at 7 p.m. and a double-header Saturday, April 19 at 1 p.m. ECU will also battle at Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 22 in the final non-conference regular-season game of the 2014 season at 7 p.m.
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 Rangers are 20-22 overall, but just 5-19 in the Great American Conference this season after losing three at Southwestern last weekend and earning a non-conference win over Newman on Tuesday.
NWOSU is hitting .277 for the season and allowing a .268 mark. Despite the large difference in wins and losses in the conference, the Rangers have kept the games close, scoring 210 runs to 217 and they have a 367 to 346 advantage in hits.
Logan Porter and Jonathan Freemyer are the team’s offensive leaders. Porter has a .368 average, 23 runs, 49 hits and 19 RBIs. Freemyer adds a .354 average, 25 runs, 52 hits and 39 RBIs.
The Rangers have three key pitchers on their staff with over 50 innings of action. Joe Coto leads the team with 66.1 innings, a 4-6 record, 65 hits and 34 runs allowed and 56 strikeouts. Michael Morales adds 42 Ks in 53 innings and Zach Postoak has struck out 34 batters in 52.1 innings.
Against the Rangers
In 2013, the Tigers went 1-2 against NWOSU and were out hit 15 to 25.
Senior Ethan Gold is the only returner to garner a hit in the series, while also scoring a run. Senior Robert Buitrago earned the win on the mound in 7.1 innings. He allowed four hits and just one run and struck out two.
Daniel Bolanos and Colten Dickerman are the top returners for the Rangers. Bolanos hit .545 with six hits, five runs and eight RBIs. Dickerman added a .429 average, three hits, four runs and three RBIs.
Scouting Oklahoma City
The Stars are 28-13 overall and 16-5 in the Sooner Athletic Conference and will face Wayland Baptist for a three-game conference series this weekend before hosting the Tigers.
OCC has a .302 team batting average and is allowing just a .255 mark by the opposition. They have clear advantages in runs (269 to 201) and hits (371 to 309).
Connor Lynch and Forrest Smith are the key players to watch at the plate for the Stars. Lynch is hitting .422 for the season, with 16 runs, 49 hits and 36 RBIs. Smith adds a .367 mark, 33 runs, 47 hits and 48 RBIs.
Chris Pike and Michael Nolan are the top pitchers for OCC. Pike is 7-2 on the season, having allowed 40 hits and 22 runs and striking out 93. Nolan has allowed 51 hits and 29 runs and has 63 Ks.
Against the Stars
ECU and OCC meet earlier this season, with the Tigers earning a 12-4 win March 25 at home.
Juniors Luc Pomales and Casey Chenoweth each garnered three hits and three RBIs. Sophomore Jake Wellington threw five innings with eight strikeouts and zero hits and runs allowed.
Kyle Lacy and Connor Lynch each tallied one hit for the Stars. Cale Russell suffered the loss with four innings of work, with five hits and one run allowed and one strikeout.
Writing in New Records
The Tigers 10-game winning streak between March 11 and March 25 was the longest in the record books that date back to the 1996 season. The previous longest streak was seven games during the 2012 season (March 17-March 27) and 1999 (Feb. 27- March 4).
Career Win No. 100
ECU head coach Dino Rosato claimed his 100th career victory this season when the Tigers defeated Dallas Christian, 4-1, March 19 at Tiger Field.
National Strikeout Leader
Junior Icezack Flemming has made an immediate impact for the Tigers on the mound, recording 94 this season. His total not only puts him at the top of the GAC category, but he is the NCAA’s Division II Strikeout leader as of April 13. The next person on the list has 90. For his efforts he is currently ranked No. 1 in the GAC in strikeouts (94), No. 1 in complete games (9) and No. 4 in innings pitched (73.1) and No. 3 wins (7). He is also ranked No. 2 in the NCAA in complete games (9) and No. 3 in games started (11).
Donohoe Earns GAC Player of the Week
Junior Garrett Donohoe was been named the Great American Conference Player of the Week for March 10 after helping the Tigers to a 2-1 record over the weekend against Harding.
Donohoe started the weekend series by hitting .857 in the double-header March 7. Donohoe hit for the cycle in the games, with two singles, two doubles, a triple and home run, while garnering six RBIs. The Lake Forest, Calif., native added six put outs and four assisted outs. He ended the weekend with a .636 batting average, seven hits and six RBIs.
Taking Down Ranked Teams
The Tigers had a strong road GAC weekend, Feb. 28-March 1, earning a 2-1 record against then-No. 17 Arkansas Tech. ECU fell in the opening game 2-12, but rebounding to win 9-1 and 7-3 in Saturday’s double-header. The Tigers then added two wins over No. 4/5 Southern Arkansas April 4-5. ECU lost the first game of the series (1-16) and then took 6-1 and 5-1 wins at Tiger Field.
Home Run Performance
The Tigers had a strong weekend at the plate against Henderson State, recording five home runs, including a grand slam. The weekend total surpasses what ECU put together all of the 2013 season (4).
Pomales Pounding Away
Junior Luc Pomales had a strong week for the Tigers, with seven hits, four RBIs and two runs scored against Ouachita Baptist and Texas Wesleyan. Pomales tallied one home run, a slugging percentage of .667, a .467 hitting percentage, stole a base and was 8-for-8 in the field.
GAC Preseason Poll
ECU will have a lot to prove, as the Tigers were picked to finish 11th (13 points) in the 2014 Great American Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
Southern Arkansas was a clear top choice with 100 points and 10-of-11 first-place votes. Arkansas Tech was the only other team to receive a first-place vote, finishing second with 88 points. Southwestern Oklahoma State was picked third (78 points), Arkansas-Monticello fourth (63), Henderson State fifth (61), Harding sixth (55), Ouachita Baptist seventh (50), Southeastern Oklahoma state eighth (46), Northwestern Oklahoma State ninth (25) and Southern Nazarene 10th (19).
The Tigers will wrap up the regular season with a three-game Great American Conference series with Southeastern Oklahoma State, April 25-26 in Durant, Okla.