The East Central University softball team will wrap up a two-week road trip, April 5-6 when they battle with Henderson State at Dee White Field in Arkadelphia, Ark. The teams will play double-headers each day, with Friday’s games starting at 2 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 17-21 overall and 11-9 after dropping a non-conference double-header against Midwestern State April 2. The games at HSU will conclude a 10-game home stand and will be the final home games of the season for the Lady Reddies.
HSU has a team batting average of .273 and is allowing its opponents to hit .293 for the season. While the Lady Reddies are only being out-hit by 27 (268/295) this season they have a 126 to 202 disadvantage in runs scored. HSU has also allowed a 4.25 ERA and forced a 2.68 ERA on the opposition.
Sarah Gipson is the top performer at the plate for the Lady Reddies, with a .357 average. She has 40 hits, 18 RBIs, six home runs and has scored 19 times. Laura Mabary is next on the list with a .344 average, 42 hits, 12 RBIs and 17 runs scored.
HSU has used six total pitchers this season, with two seeing the majority of time in the circle. Kayla Williams stands out with 111.2 innings of work, with a 4.14 ERA, 10-8 record, .278 opponent batting average and 59 strikeouts. Kasey Carlock is the other pitcher more likely to be faced. She has a 4.17 ERA, 6-10 record, 89.0 innings of action, a .310 opponent batting average and 45 strikeouts.
Against the Lady Reddies
Last year the Lady Tigers earned a clean sweep of HSU at Lady Tiger Field (4-0). ECU out-hit the Lady Reddies .347 to .282 and tallied 25 runs to nine by HSU.
Senior Ali Manship was strong at the plate and in the circle against the Lady Reddies. Manship had a .500 average on six hits, five RBIs, three runs scored and two home runs. She also went 2-0 in two complete games. She allowed 14 hits, six runs (three earned) and struck out five batters. Sophomore Brianna Nunley was also strong in the circle, going 2-0 as well. Nunley allowed 10 hits and two runs, while striking out seven batters.
The Lady Reddies have no returning pitchers that saw action against the Lady Tigers, but Amber Wilburn tallied a .700 average on seven hits and two runs scored.
Gina Garnering Honors
Junior Gina Mengwasser earned her first GAC honor, being named the GAC Player of the Week for April 2. The Edmond, Okla., native helped the Lady Tigers to a 3-1 record over the weekend against Southern Nazarene. Mengwasser hit .500 in four games; recording six hits, three home runs, seven RBIs, eight putouts and four assisted outs. She scored the game-winning runs in the second game against the Crimson Storm, with her first three-run home run of the weekend (March 28). The next day she then started the scoring for ECU with her second home run in game one and then added a third shot over the fence in the second game of the day to score the first two runs of the game.
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 36 games, winning 27. Of those 27 wins ECU has earned the victories at the end of the fifth inning in 11 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.
ECU will return home four eight-straight games at Lady Tiger Field. The Lady Tigers will first face Oklahoma Panhandle State, April 9 for a double-header starting at 2 p.m.