The East Central University softball team will open the Great American Conference portion of the season, Feb. 21-22 when they travel to Arkadelphia, Ark., to battle with Henderson State. Both days have double-headers scheduled, with Friday’s games starting at 1 p.m. and Saturday’s at noon.
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 Henderson State
The Lady Reddies are 4-7 overall after going 1-3 in the 8-State Classic in Bentonville, Ark., last weekend. The games with ECU will be home games number 8-12 for HSU, who is 3-4 at home in 2014.
The Lady Reddies have a .303 team batting average and are allowing their opponents to hit at a .328 pace. They have been out-hit 97 to 110 and 21 to 30 in extra-base hits.
Ashlyn White leads the team at the plate, with a .474 batting average in eight games. She has nine hits and seven RBIs. She is also one of the top two pitchers for HSU, with a 1-2 record, 5.85 ERA and 10 strikeouts.
Tricia Hock is second on the team at the plate, with a .457 average, 16 hits and five RBIs. Kayla Williams is one of the other five pitchers that have seen action in 2014. Williams has a 1-2 record, 3.80 ERA, 41 hits and 23 runs allowed and eight K’s.
Against the Lady Reddies
In 2013, the Lady Tigers and HSU meet six times, including twice in the GAC tournament. ECU earned wins in all the regular season meetings, but fell in both post-season games.
Junior Chelsea Patterson led the Lady Tigers on offense, with a .526 average, 10 hits, seven runs and two RBIs. Sophomore Leah Tigert added a .429 average, six hits and four RBIs.
Both junior Brianna Nunley and sophomore Lacey Paulk finished the series with 2-1 records in the circle. Paulk had a 2.19 ERA, with seven strikeouts. Nunley added a 2.57 ERA and 11 K’s.
Kayla Williams is a key returner on offense and defense for the Lady Reddies. Williams and a .429 batting average and a 6.35 ERA against ECU. She went 1-2 in the circle, while striking out seven.
Since the teams started playing each other as members of the GAC, the Lady Tigers hold an 8-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Opening in the GAC
This year is the first time that ECU will play its first GAC games of the season against someone besides Southwestern Oklahoma State. In the first two seasons, the Lady Tigers went 5-3 in the opening weekend.
Junior Chelsea Patterson has a strong seven-game hitting streak in progress. They key is that she has not just garnered one hit in all seven games, but two.
Nunley GAC Pitcher of Week
Junior Brianna Nunley was been named the Great American Conference Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 11.
The Moore, Okla., native earned two wins against No. 17 Angelo State at the Rambelles’ George McCorkle Classic. On Saturday, she recorded her third career shutout as she held Angelo State to just five hits. On Sunday, she entered the game with the score tied at four and threw two scoreless innings as the Lady Tigers rallied for a win.
Sophomore Autumn Suydam had a strong weekend at the George McCorkle Classic, hitting .538. Suydam led ECU with seven hits, added four runs and two RBIs. After her performance over the weekend she is now ranked in the top-10 in eight categories in the GAC statistics.
VanPelt Belting Some Out
Sophomore Jordynn VanPelt had a big day for the Lady Tigers in the opening day of the ASU Tournament. VanPelt hit two game-winning home runs. In the first game, against Texas A&M International, she hit a three-run shot over the scoreboard in center field. In the second game of the day she sent home the only two runs of the game, with a shot to left field against Angelo State.
GAC Preseason Poll
The success from a year ago and the retention of the majority of the 2013 squad has not gone unnoticed by the GAC coaches, as ECU was picked to finish second (87 points/2 first-place votes) in the 2014 GAC Preseason Poll.
Southeastern Oklahoma State was picked to finish first, with 97 points and seven first-place votes. Arkansas-Monticello was picked third (75 points/2 first-place votes), Arkansas Tech fourth (70 points), Southern Arkansas fifth (60 points), Henderson State sixth (59), Ouachita Baptist and Southern Nazarene seventh (36 points), Northwestern Oklahoma State ninth (33), Southwestern Oklahoma State 10th (27) and Harding 11th (25).
The Lady Tigers will finally open the home portion of the 2014 season, Feb. 28-March 1 when they host Arkansas Tech for a four-game series at Lady Tiger Field.