The East Central University baseball team will return home for the first three games of four-straight at Tiger Field, March 29-30. The Tigers will face Arkansas-Monticello in a Great American Conference series. The teams will play a single game, Friday, March 29 at 1 p.m. and then battle through a double-header, Saturday, March 30 starting at 1 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 Boll Weevils are 19-13 overall and 9-9 in the league after winning their last four games, including a non-conference double-header against LeMoyne-Owen College March 26.
UAM has a .294 batting average on the season, and is allowing a .266 mark from the opposition. The Boll Weevils have a 293 to 261 advantage in hits and a 4.74 to 6.38 ERA advantage.
Taylor Eaves is the team’s leader at the plate, with a .336 average, 24 runs scored, 36 hits, 17 RBIs and a 9-of-11 stolen base mark. Alex Lang is also a key player for UAM, with a .333 average. Lang has scored 22 times, has 35 hits and 24 RBIs.
Bobby Bryan and Logan Johnson are two of the key pitchers for the Boll Weevils. Bryan has a 3-3 record in 46.2 innings of work, with a 5.01 ERA, 14 strikeouts and a .289 opponent batting average. Johnson has thrown 31.1 innings, has a 1-0 record, 2.01 ERA, 22 strikeouts and .212 average.
Against the Boll Weevils
Last year the series with UAM was cut short, with just two games played. However, the Tigers earned wins in both games.
Senior Mac Grace is the only returning player to see an at-bat against the Boll Weevils, recording one hit in two attempts. Senior Robert Buitrago earned a win on the mound, with a 3.60 ERA in five innings. He allowed five hits, two runs and struck out three batters.
Taylor Eaves is the top returner for UAM, with a .750 average on six hits and three runs scored. Eddie Smith is the top returning pitcher from the series, with a 2.08 ERA in 4.1 innings of work. Smith allowed four hits, one run and recorded four strikeouts.
Breaking the Streak
With the 3-2 come-from-behind win at Oklahoma Christian (March 18), the Tigers broke a 12-game losing streak that had started Feb. 22 at Henderson State. During the span ECU played nine of those games on the road and had three one-run games.
Mariano Making Moves
Junior Michael Mariano has been strong at the plate for the Tigers. The Okmulgee, Okla., native has a current hitting streak of 15 games going and has been on base in all 18 games that he has appeared at the plate.
Golden Grand Slam
Junior Ethan Gold hit the Tigers first grand slam of the season in the bottom of the sixth inning against Ouachita Baptist, Feb. 17. The home run was the first of the season for Gold and capped off a 14-run inning for ECU.
Shutting Out the Opposition
In the second game of the four-game series at Abilene Christian, seniors Andrew Olson and Gabriel Martinez combined to shutout the Wildcats and ECU went on to win 3-0. Olson picked up the win and threw five innings, striking out three batters and allowing five hits, but no runs. Martinez pitched the last two innings to earn the save, with no hits allowed and two strikeouts.
Benny Banging Away
Senior Benny Woodard was the first Tiger to earn a hit in the opening weekend of action, with a double. The Kennedale, Texas, native garnered a home run, two doubles, five hits, four RBIs and a .455 batting average in the first four games.
GAC Preseason Poll
The Tigers were picked to finish 10th in the 2013 Great American Conference Baseball Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
Southern Arkansas was picked to finish first, with 63 points and seven first-place votes. Southeastern earned the second spot, with 56 points and one first-place votes. Arkansas Tech was the only other school to receive a first-place vote and finished third (48 points). Ouachita Baptist (44 points), Southwestern (35 points), Harding (29 points), Henderson State (22 points) and Arkansas-Monticello (17 points) round out the field.
The Tigers will remain at home for a mid-week game against Bacone College, Tuesday, April 2 before returning to the road for a three-game series with Southern Arkansas, April 5-6.