The East Central University baseball team will return home for one game after a seven-game road trip before hitting the road again for a three-game Great American Conference series. The Tigers hosted Oklahoma Christian yesterday at 2 p.m. at Tiger Field and will then travel to Bethany for a GAC series with Southern Nazarene, March 22-23.
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 Oklahoma Christian
The Eagles are 15-9 overall after splitting two games with the Tigers Saturday, March 16.
The Eagles have a .279 to .236 batting average advantage and a 93/66 runs scored lead on the season.
Dillon Andrews and Blake Stringer are the top producers at the plate. Andrews is hitting .391 on the year and has 25 hits and nine RBIs. Stringer has garnered 17 hits, 10 RBIs and a .327 average.
OC has three key pitchers that have been on the mound for more than 20 innings. Luke Sandoval is 3-0 on the season with 21 strikeouts. Tyler Sturges is 3-1 and has 21 strikeouts, while Cale Coshow is 1-2 with 23 strikeouts.
Against the Eagles
In the first two games of the series, both teams earned a win, with OC first earning a 0-5 win and then the Tigers claiming a 3-2 victory.
Senior Benny Woodard and junior Josh Lavender led ECU with .333 averages. Woodard tallied two hits and an RBI while Lavender had two hits, a double and two RBIs. Senior Gabriel Martinez picked up the win on the mound in game two. He had an ERA of 2.57 in the complete game and allowed five hits and two runs. Martinez held the Eagles to a .192 average and struck out eight batters.
Blake Stringer and Garrett Stephenson led OC at the plate. Stringer averaged .600 on three hits and two runs scored. Stephenson hit .400 with two doubles and 4 RBIs. Luke Sandoval threw a complete game and allowed three hits in the opening game.
Scouting Southern Nazarene
The Crimson Storm is 6-16 overall and 3-12 in the GAC after losing three games to Southeastern over the weekend. SNU is 4-8 when playing at the Cypert Athletic Facility this season. The Crimson Storm will play a mid-week game against Hillsdale Baptist, March 19, before hosting the Tigers.
Nate Saquilon is the team’s leader at the plate and on the mound. Saquilon had a .363 average, 29 hits, seven doubles, three home runs and 16 RBIs on the season. He is also 2-3 on the mound with a 4.92 ERA in 42 innings. He has an opponent batting average of .320 and has struck out 31.
Chance San Miguel is the other key hitter for the Crimson Storm with a .344 average on 21 hits and 15 RBIs. Matt Berry is the other top pitcher with a 1-6 mark in 49 innings and 27 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 savewith 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 vote. 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 return home for four games, March 29-April 2. ECU will first host a three-game series with Arkansas-Monticello (March 29-30) and then battle with Bacone College (April 2).