The East Central University softball team heads to Russellville, Ark., for the final regular-season games of the 2013 season. The Lady Tigers will face Arkansas Tech in a four-game Great American Conference series, April 19-20. Double-headers are scheduled for each day, starting at noon Friday, April 19 and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20.
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 Arkansas Tech
The Golden Suns are currently third in the GAC standings with a 15-18 overall record and 18-12 mark in the league. ATU has won its last two games after splitting a GAC series with Southern Nazarene last weekend.
Despite having a winning record, the Golden Suns are close to their opponents in batting average (.289 to .285) and hits (338/326). However, they do hold a 230 to 154 runs scored and have tallied 42 more extra-base hits.
Whitney Robinson and Siarra Gomez are the top producers at the plate for ATU. Robinson has a .386 average with 32 runs scored 51 hits and 32 RBIs. Gomez is averaging .372, with 31 runs scored, 45 hits, 16 home runs and 44 RBIs. Her 16 home runs account for 40% of the team’s homers on the season.
The Golden Suns have used five pitchers this season, with Victoria Huie and Rachel Keeton seeing most of the time in the circle. Huie is 14-9 after pitching 131.2 innings. She has allowed 137 hits, 80 runs and struck out 67. Keeton is 7-1 with 72.1 innings of action. She has allowed 84 hits, 28 runs and struck out 27.
Against the Golden Suns
In 2012, the Lady Tigers and ATU played a total of five games, including a game in the GAC Tournament.
Sophomores Chelsea Patterson and Lacey Williams led the Lady Tigers at the plate in the series. Patterson hit .538, with seven hits, two runs scored and one RBI. Williams added a .400 average on six hits, two runs scored, a home run and three RBIs. Sophomore Brianna Nunley and senior Ali Manship each earned two wins in the circle. Nunley went 2-0, with a 0.64 ERA. She allowed 12 hits, three runs and struck out seven. Manship was 2-1, with 19 hits and eight runs allowed, while striking out 15.
Victoria Huie is the top returner at the plate and in the circle for ATU. She hit .176, with three hits and one run scored. Huie also suffered two losses in the circle, with 16 hits and eight runs allowed.
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.
GAC Preseason Poll
The Lady Tigers were picked to finish third in the 2013 Great American Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. ECU received 35 points.
Arkansas-Monticello earned the top spot, with 43 points and four first-place votes. Southeastern was second, with 39 points and two first-place votes, with Southwestern and Southern Arkansas each earning the final first-place votes and finishing fourth (34 points) and fifth (30 points), respectively. Henderson State (17 points), Arkansas Tech (13) and Ouachita Baptist (13 points) round out the poll.
The Lady Tigers will head to the post season, starting with the Great American Conference Championship in Bentonville, Ark., April 25-27.