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Line Drives -- ASC's Weekly Baseball Notebook
March 30, 2004

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AROUND THE CONFERENCE
Compiled from information submitted by ASC sports information directors.

A heavy Tuesday non-conference slate is a warm-up for a busy weekend of conference divisional series in the American Southwest Conference. . . . In the ASC East, second-place UT Dallas looks to make up ground on division leader Mississippi College during its three-game series at third-place Louisiana College (Apr. 2-3). No. 9-ranked MC is on the road at LeTourneau. . . . ASC West leader Hardin-Simmons makes the cross-town trip to conference rival McMurry this weekend in a series where McMurry has won eight of last 10 against the Cowboys. Division second-place Texas Lutheran is at Concordia-Austin. McMurry and CUA are tied for third in the ASC West.

East Texas Baptist 3B James Morgan was selected Hitter of the Week and Texas Lutheran LHP Brian Wallace earned honorable mention National Pitcher of the Week (March 24) by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association for their play the week of March 15-21. Morgan, who also earned ASC East Division co-Hitter of the Week honors, stretched his season-long hitting streak to six games by hitting 13-for-18 (.722) over five games during the March 15-21 period, including four multi-hit games. Wallace, the ASC West Pitcher of the Week, set school and conference records for innings pitched in a game with an 11-inning, three-hit shutout of Schreiner (Mar. 20). The sophomore struck out 12 and walked three to improve to 4-1 and spark the Bulldogs to an ASC West series sweep of Schreiner with the 1-0 pitcher’s duel. . . . Morgan and Wallace are the second and third ASC baseball player honored by the NCBWA. Louisiana College P James Halle was selected co-National Pitcher of the Week for March 8-14 after tossing a no-hitter in the Wildcats’ ASC East series vs. Ozarks.

LeTourneau sophomore 1B Jeremy Burgess was named the National Christian College Athletic Association co-Baseball Player of the Week for March 21. Burgess lifted the YellowJackets to a 5-4 victory over UT Dallas on March 20with his two hit, three RBIs performance. He hit his first career home run in the bottom of the sixth to close the Comets' lead to 3-2 and then tied up the score in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run single. Burgess continued his hot hitting in the second game of the doubleheader with two doubles, two runs scored, one RBI and he stole home. . . Burgess is the second YellowJacket to earn the NCCAA Baseball Player of the Week honors in 2004. Junior Derek Fitchett earned the honor February 7.

DH Brandon Genzer’s five-RBI weekend included a grand slam in the fifth inning to pull Austin College within striking distance in the opening game of Saturday’s (Mar. 27) doubleheader vs. Ozarks. Genzer’s shot to left center came with the ‘Roos down 9-4 and put them in position for an explosive sixth inning and the eventual 12-9 win. In the second game, Genzer hit a single and a sacrifice fly to help AC overcome Ozarks, 6-5, and win two games in the three-game ASC East series. . . . Austin College plays at conference newcomer UT Tyler to open its April schedule (Apr. 2-3).

Tim Gardner hit a two-run home run against Schreiner to bring his season total to seven; one behind team leader Jake Decker. Garner leads Concordia-Austin with 25 RBIs. . . . CUA swept the three-game ASC West series vs. the Mountaineers to move into a third-place tie with McMurry in the division standings.

Senior RHP Aaron Lippe turned in one of the best games of his East Texas Baptist career Saturday (Mar. 27) in a 1-0, extra-inning loss to UT Dallas. Lippe pitched 7.1 innings and allowed no earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts. The winning run scored in the bottom of the eighth was unearned. . . . The Tigers were shutout in a conference doubleheader for the first time since joining the ASC with the 1999 season. . . . Sophomore P/DH Brandon Vorse hit .625 (5-for-8) with an RBI and two runs scored in the UTD series. Vorse also took the loss on the mound in a 5-0 setback Saturday, allowing nine hits and three earned runs in the complete-game loss.

Junior RHP Justin Wilson had his best outing as a Hardin-Simmons Cowboy when he needed it most. Wilson took the ball in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader at Texas Lutheran (Mar. 27) and played in command the whole game, striking out three and allowing one walk and six hits in 8.0 innings. TLU left exactly one runner on base in every inning of the game, but never more than one, as Wilson collected a 2-1 victory. . . . Who says college baseball is a slugfest? Hardin-Simmons and TLU played their three-game set allowing just 12 combined runs. A stiff breeze blowing in from right made the series a pitching and defense series and it was the Cowboys who came up with clutch two-out hits in Saturday’s games after the Bulldogs had done the same on Friday. . . . Senior P Brian Whitworth, who pitched essentially the same game as Wilson, won his sixth game of the year in the rubber game of the series. Whitworth allowed seven hits and was shaky through the first four innings, stranding seven Bulldogs on base, but was solid down the stretch as the Cowboys rallied with a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh. . . . HSU leading hitter Michael Popino did not have a hit (0-for-7) in the TLU series. . . . SS Barry Janisse had a great weekend in the field. On one he dove to his left in the hole, got up and threw out Bulldog Aaron Crais. Janisse had 12 assists and four putouts on the weekend. He came into the series hitting .452, but went 1-for-11 at the plate. However, his one hit was critical as he singled-in Scott Drake with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of game three.

2B Craig Simpson led Howard Payne with a .364 average (4-for-11) in the three-game series with Mary Hardin-Baylor (Mar. 26-27). The junior collected five RBIs in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, with four coming via a grand slam in the first inning. Simpson totaled seven RBIs in the series. . . . P Patrick Cumbie tossed a complete game to earn the win in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday. The senior struck out six with no walks and gave up 10 hits. . . . Freshman Ryan Kuntz helped HPU to the win on Saturday by driving in five runs on a sacrifice fly and a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning.

For the third consecutive week, LeTourneau avoided being swept in its ASC East series by taking one of the three games, this week getting by Louisiana College in the middle game of the three-game set. . . . LHP Demetri White picked up his first victory of the season, working 8.0 innings for the 5-3 win vs. LC. White struck out eight and gave up seven hits and one earned run in the complete-game effort. White has 47 Ks for the season. . . . Every player in the starting lineup contributed as no one player carried the offensive load. 2B Jeremy Hall had his best weekend of the year going 5-for-13 with two runs and two RBIs while 1B Jeremy Burgess extended his hitting streak to five games and raised his average from .218 to .294 in span. . . . The YellowJackets staged one of the greatest comebacks in school history on Friday (Mar. 26), only to be thwarted at the end of the game. LeTourneau trailed 9-0 heading into the top of the sixth inning and ended up tying the game at 9-9, but Louisiana College came through with a run in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.

Senior Dustyn Parker carried a hot bat for Louisiana College in last weekend’s series vs. LeTourneau (Mar. 26-27). Parker put together a .727 slugging percentage for the three games, and was responsible for driving in seven of the Wildcats’ 23 runs. Parker drilled a first inning bases-loaded double to clear the bases in the first game of the series to give LC a 3-0 lead. He finished the series-opener with four RBIs. Parker hit .545 for the three games (6-for-11). . . . LF Kenny Bell stole five bases in the weekend series against LeTourneau without being thrown out. . . . Senior P Reggie McFadden gave his best outing of the year in the second game Saturday’s doubleheader on, going 5.1 innings, allowing four hits and two runs. . . . The middle of the LC infield--2B Matt Byrnes and SS Ross Doughty--combined to go 10-for-23 with five RBIs against LeTourneau.

Mary Hardin-Baylor plays a non-conference game at Southwestern on Thursday (Apr. 1) before opening its ASC West weekend home series vs. Sul Ross State (Apr. 2-3). . . . Caleb Damron batted .500 (10-for-20) over six games last week, driving-in five runs while scoring six more. He had the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning of both ends of the doubleheader sweep of #25-ranked St. Olaf College (Mar. 24), and added a two-run homer in Friday’s win over Howard Payne (Mar. 26). . . . Dean Shirley ripped his team-leading third home run of the season in Saturday’s first game (Mar. 27) and he went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in that HPU game. . . . Four different Crusaders hit home runs last week. . . . P Kyle Furrer threw a complete-game, eight-hitter in Friday’s win over Howard Payne. He gave up just four earned runs and struck out nine. . . . SS Billy Moore hit safely in all six of his starts last week and has four straight multiple-hit games. He batted .440 (6-for-14) and scored six runs while driving in six more. Once on base, Moore stole five bases to help lead UMHB to a 4-2 record. . . . Pitcher T.J. McKnight picked up victories in both ends of the Crusaders’ doubleheader sweep of St. Olaf and also threw one scoreless inning against Whittier College (Mar. 23). McKnight struck out two batters and gave up five hits in three appearances. He improves to 4-0 on the season and also has a save, giving him a hand in five of UMHB’s 11 victories this year.

McMurry crowned a new home run king during action last week. 1B/P/DH Josh Lee claimed the school’s career and season home run records in back-to-back games, nailing the career record 27th homer against NCAA Division II Tarleton State for a 9-8 win (Mar. 23) and blasting his record 11th shot of the season in a 15-3 series-opening win at Sul Ross State (Mar 26). Lee also pitched 7.0 innings with seven strikeouts and one earned run in the 12-run win at SRSU. . . . McMurry defeated Tarleton State for the first time since the 2000 season, bettering the Texans with a two-run scoring error on a drop-fly in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. . . . Sophomore RF/P Greg Erickson leads the team with two multi-home run games, and had a team-best seven RBIs last week. . . Albert Carrizales had three three-hit games last week to lead the Indians with nine total hits over the four games. Carrizales leads the team with a .405 batting average, raising that figure 19 points over four games. . . . McMurry heads into Tuesday’s single game vs. UT Dallas winning a season-best four games in a row and is 7-2 in its last nine games.

Mississippi College leaped nine spots in the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Division III Coaches Top 30 poll released on Monday (Mar. 29). The Choctaws list in a two-way tie at No. 9 with Virginia Wesleyan in the season’s first ranking. MC was ranked No. 18 in the preseason poll. The Choctaws are also listed second in the West Region behind national #4-ranked Trinity (Texas). . . . RHP Derek Tillman made only two appearances last week, but the closer was big in key situations. Against Belhaven (Mar. 23), the senior entered the game in the eighth with a 10-6 lead, bases load and no outs, and proceeded to strikeout the next three batters and retire the side in order in the ninth to pick up the save. In Saturday’s ASC East showdown vs. UT Tyler (Mar. 27), Tillman entered in the fifth inning trailing 6-5 with two outs and runners on the corners. He struck out the batter and retired six of the final seven batters to pick up the win. Tillman allowed just one hit in 4.1 innings, striking out six batters and holding opposing batters to a combined .071 batting average. . . . The Choctaws are on a roll with an eight game winning streak and wins in 13 of their last 14 ballgames. During the win streak, MC is batting .381 as a team and averaging exactly 10 runs per ball game. They also have belted 14 home runs and 19 doubles during the stretch.

3B Anthony Brandon excelled on field, hitting .533 (8-for-15) with one home run and eight RBIs over four games for Ozarks last week. Brandon was 2-for-2 and smashed his second home run of the season against Elmhurst while collecting three RBIs (Mar. 22). In the ASC East series at Austin College, Brandon tallied five RBIs and had four hits. Brandon is the current UO leader in numerous offensive categories, including batting .(368), hits (32) and RBIs (25). . . . Clint Phifer had five hits and five RBIs over the last four games. . . . Justin Brown had his best game of the season when he went 4-for-5 against Elmhurst. . . . Kyle Hudson continues to be the team leader in ERA (2.27) and strikeouts (25).

Schreiner is in the midst of a seven-game losing skid. . . . Freshman Adam Smith holds the team-leading batting average of .366 and is tied for the lead with 26 hits. SU’s other offensive threat, Joe Mann, is the only Mountaineer to start all 24 games. Among his team-leading statistics are RBIs (22), runs scored (17) and walks (11). . . . Cory Fite and Geoff Greene each have 2-2 pitching records. Greene has struck out 26 batters, eight shy of team leader Jake Thomas.

Ryan Lavarell, Kevin Heady and Chris Espinoza form a formidable 1-2-3 punch in the Sul Ross State batting order. Lavarell, the number two hitter in the lineup, has a .308 average and a team-best five home runs. The senior RF has 16 RBIs and has scored 20 runs. Heady leads SRSU with a .409 average, 38 hits and seven doubles. The junior 3B/SS has scored 19 runs and driven home 14 to go with a .427 on-base percentage and .548 slugging percentage. Espinoza is batting .357 with three homers and a team-leading 19 RBI. He and Lavarell have .560 slugging percentages.

UT Dallas LF Caleb Chandler had his most productive week with the bat, going 9-for-16 in a five-game stretch, including a 9-for-12 (.750) performance in the middle three games of the week. In the first two games against ASC East rival East Texas Baptist (Mar. 26-27), Chandler was a perfect 10-for-10 at reaching base and plated runs six times. . . . The Comets picked up their first series sweep in conference play by shutting down hot-hitting ETBU. After the Tigers pounded out 14 hits in Friday’s opener--a 19-9 UTD win, Comet pitchers Tony Adler and Gordon Walters combined to give up just six hits in a doubleheader sweep on Saturday--5-0 and 1-0 UTD wins. Adler (4-0), who lowered his team-leading ERA to 0.59, needed less than 80 pitches to stop ETBU on four hits in the opener, striking out six and walking none. Then Walters (4-0, 2.84) went eight innings in an extra-inning affair, stopping ETBU on just two hits. . . . In spite of a weak-hitting day on Saturday, the UTD offense is now batting .344 as team, including a .355 average among the nine starters. Seven UTD regulars are hitting .350 or better. . . . UT Dallas received votes in the season’s first ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Top 30 poll released on Monday. The Comets are also listed sixth in the West Region.

Starting P Brian Wallace gave Texas Lutheran another outstanding start in a 2-1 loss to Hardin-Simmons (Mar. 27). Wallace has pitched 25.1 innings in ASC West play without giving up an earned run. The sophomore left the game with an injury with the scored tied at 1-1 in the top of the eighth inning with one out and nobody on (HSU scored two runs in the inning after Wallace exited.) Wallace did not allow an earned run in 7.1 innings of work. He struck out eight, walked one and surrendered just three hits. . . . The Bulldogs lost two of three at home to Hardin-Simmons (Mar. 26-27). All three games were extremely competitive and very tight. TLU won game one 4-1 and lost the next two games, 2-1 in eight innings. . . . The Bulldogs continue to play without three position starters--1B John Krog, 2B Scott Matocha and CF Brandon Green--who have been hit with the injury bug. . . . Texas Lutheran received votes in the season’s first ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Top 30 poll released on Monday. TLU is also listed seventh in the West Region.


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