The East Central University baseball team will continue their busy Spring Break with a three-game Great American Conference series against Southern Nazarene, March 21-22 at Tiger Field. A single game is set for Friday, March 21 at 2 p.m. and a double-header is slated to start at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 22. ECU will also get ready to face Oklahoma City, Tuesday, March 25 at 2 p.m. at Tiger Field.
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 Southern Nazarene
The Crimson Storm are 11-14 overall and 3-12 in the GAC after going 1-2 last weekend against Southeastern and falling to Oklahoma City Tuesday.
SNU has a .272 team batting percentage and is allowing a .277 mark for the season. The close batting average is mirrored in a 154 to 147 runs advantage and a 206 to 215 hitting deficit.
Caleb Teel leads the team at the plate, with a .389 batting average in 11 games. He has played in the last eight games and has seven hits, four RBIs and two runs. Riley Morrow has a .338 average and has played in 23 games. Morrow has 24 hits and 11 RBIs.
Thomas Schelhardt is the top pitcher for the Crimson Storm, with 41 innings of work. He has a 3-3 record, 29 strikeouts and has allowed 46 hits and 29 runs. Kyle Vail adds 37.1 innings, with 34 hits and 29 runs allowed and 27 strikeouts.
Against the Crimson Storm
Last season the Tigers fell 0-3 to SNU on the road in Bethany, Okla.
Sophomore Brandon Maggia led the ECU returners with a .333 average. Seniors Josh Lavender and Ethan Gold each added a .286 average. Lavender tallied two hits and two runs, while Gold added two hits.
Riley Morrow and Scott Stanley are the top returners for the Crimson Storm, with .500 averages. Morrow tallied five hits and one RBI, while Stanley contributed three hits. There are no returning pitchers from SNU in the series.
Scouting Oklahoma City
The Stars are 19-6 overall and 8-1 in the Sooner Athletic Conference this season. OCC will face Oklahoma Baptist in a three-game home-and-home series this weekend before making the short trip to Ada.
The Stars had a .319 team batting average and are allowing just a .235 mark by the opposition. OCC has a 186 to 107 runs and 243 to 171 hits advantage on the year, including a 98 to 53 lead in extra-base hits.
Conner Lynch is the top producer at the plate for the Stars, with a .435 average, 12 runs, 30 hits and 28 RBIs. Mason Toole adds a .407 average, five runs, 11 hits and five RBIs.
Chris Pike and Michael Nolan are the top players on the mound for OCC. Pike has 33 innings of action, with a 4-1 record and 1.64 ERA. He has allowed 17 hits, 13 runs and struck out 62 batters. Nolan adds a 2.38 ERA, 3-1 record, 28 hits and 11 runs allowed and 42 K’s.
Lavender Coming Up Big
Senior Josh Lavender may have a .297 overall batting average, but he has been coming up big at key moments for the Tigers. He has a .371 mark with runners on base, .550 average with two outs, .440 mark with runners in scoring position, .556 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and a .875 average with the bases loaded.
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.
National Strikeout Leader
Junior Icezack Flemming has made an immediate impact for the Tigers on the mound, recording 62 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 March 17. For his efforts he is currently ranked No. 1 in the GAC in strikeouts (62), No. 1 in complete games (5) and No. 7 in innings pitched (42.2) and No. 7 in ERA (2.95).
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.
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).
After finishing up the home stand, the Tigers will hit the road next weekend to face Arkansas-Monticello for a three-game GAC series, March 28-29. ECU will then return home for the following two and a half weeks for the final home games of the 2014 season.