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Line Drives -- ASC's Weekly Softball Notebook
April 5, 2004

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

American Southwest Conference softball enters the final month of the 2004 season schedule with a Top 25 showdown between two Top 25 teams and ASC East rivals on the schedule. East-leading and #2-ranked East Texas Baptist travels to #21 Louisiana College on Tuesday (Apr. 6) to complete the season series with an afternoon doubleheader. . . . Texas Lutheran, the top team in the ASC West, resumes its conference slate Tuesday at Concordia-Austin before hosting league newcomer Hardin-Simmons on Friday and Saturday (Apr. 9-10).

No. 2-ranked East Texas Baptist has four players--Christy Shipley, Angela Gonzales, Allison Ratcliff and Holley Martin--with 26 RBIs or more on the season. . . . Senior Tonya Minor was 6-for-6 last week in stolen bases, increasing her ASC-leading total to 26 for the season. . . . The Lady Tigers’ No. 2 ranking in the NFCA poll is the highest national ranking ever for a program that has won the last four ASC championships. . . . Head coach Kent Reeves picked up his 106th career softball coaching win Wednesday (Mar. 31), moving him back into first place on ETBU’s all-time list. Former coach Mike Reed, who had succeeded Reeves originally, posted 105 wins from 2001-03. . . . RHP Mandie McConnell continued her season-long push as ETBU’s ace with two wins last week, one of which came in relief in a 12-4 win on Saturday vs. Mississippi College (Apr. 3). McConnell, who tossed a perfect game against Louisiana College a week earlier (Mar. 27), extended her string of perfect innings to over nine before hitting a UTD batter in the third inning. UTD’s Candace Felts then ended McConnell’s no-hit streak with a leadoff single in the fourth (Mar. 31).

Hardin-Simmons doubled its season win total with three wins on Saturday as the Cowgirls won their first ever ASC West conference series (3-1) over Sul Ross State (Apr. 3-4). HSU nearly swept the series as the Cowgirls had a runner barely thrown out in a bang-bang play at the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning in Sunday’s series finale. The Cowgirls went on to lose 8-5 in 10 innings. . . . Mia Lopez scored seven runs, stole four bases and had four RBIs from her leadoff spot in six games last week.

Sophomore P Tiffany Wolfe picked up three key wins for Howard Payne to help the Lady Jackets in their run at a conference tournament berth. Wolfe pitched four complete games and 30 innings against Mary Hardin-Baylor (Apr. 3-4), totaling six strikeouts and allowing just seven earned runs to go 3-1 vs. the Crusaders. . . . HPU moved ahead of UMHB into second-place in the ASC West standings with the series wins.

LeTourneau played four games against #21 Louisiana College, two at home and two on the road, in last week’s ASC East play. The LC pitchers had their way with the LadyJackets’ bats by not allowing the team to score in any of the games. . . . P Maegan Tubbleville pitched strong games for LeTourneau, but did not receive any offensive support.

No. 21-ranked Louisiana College freshman 1B/DH Katherine Horton continues to show power of late as she hit her fourth home run in eight games. . . . P Emillie Collins continues to throw well as she notched her fourth and fifth shutout of the season this week, Collins and Clark have combined for 14 shutouts this season…LC remains undefeated at home (12-0) and puts that perfect record to the test on Tuesday (Apr. 6) when it hosts #2 East Texas Baptist in the second of its two ASC East doubleheaders vs. ETBU. . . . First-year C Leanne Shanks has not only directed the Lady Wildcat pitching staff like a veteran, but she provided solid offense from the plate in the two LeTourneau doubleheaders (Mar. 30, Apr. 3). She was responsible for seven of Louisiana College’s 24 runs as she drove in three runs and scored four while hitting .600 (6-for-10) against the LadyJackets.

Mary Hardin-Baylor had its eight-game winning streak snapped with back-to-back losses at Howard Payne in Saturday’s ASC West doubleheader (Apr. 3). UMHB finished with one win in the four-game series, slipping into third-place behind HPU in the division standings. . . . Jennifer Pietrowski had two hits in each game of the series against HPU, batting .571 (8-for-14) with three runs scored and four RBIs. She raised her season average to .435. . . . The Crusaders will only play two games this week, with a doubleheader against #2 East Texas Baptist on Thursday (Apr. 8). . . . OF/SS DanielleThomas recorded three multiple-hit games in four starts last week as she put together a .462 hitting performance (6-for-13). Thomas drove in four runs and scored four more.

Sophomore LF Shannon Rainbolt had four hits in Ozarks’ series vs. UT Dallas last weekend (Apr. 3-4). Rainbolt had two hits in the second and third games of the series. She also collected three stolen bases in game two and was a perfect 4-for-4 during the series. Rainbolt is 15-of-16 in stolen bases this year. . . . Freshman LF Kara Bartholomew remains perfect in the stolen base department (16-of-16) after swipeing two bases against UTD. Bartholomew posted her 11th multi-hit game of the season going 2-for-3 in series game three. . . . Rainbolt and Bartholomew have helped the Lady Eagles set the UO season stolen base record with 63 steals in 69 attempts. The 2004 team bettered the old mark of 62 set in 2002.

The UT Dallas Comets picked up a much-needed four-game sweep of an ASC East opponent--their first of the season--by taking four from Ozarks (Apr. 3-4). In the series, UTD scored 25 runs and pounded out 51 hits. Meanwhile, the Comet pitching staff gave up just three earned runs over the weekend. . . . The foursome of Andrina Arenas (7-for-13), Sarah Arldt (7-for-14), Candace Felts (7-for-15) and Laura Hatfield (7-for-15) were a combined 28-for-57 (.491) during the series. . . . Freshman P Daci DeLeon has given up just one earned run in her last three appearances, striking out 20 and walking just two in 15.0 innings of work. DeLeon threw a two-hit shutout vs. Ozarks in the series opener, striking out eight of 22 batters faced. . . . Senior P Christina Sass has also given up just a single earned run in her last three appearances. . . . The Comets’ ERA has dropped to 2.60 while the UTD offense has bumped its batting average up to .315. . . . Arenas hit safely in the first five games of last week’s busy six-game schedule, including three straight multi-hit games against Ozarks. Arenas was 7-for-9 with three doubles in games one through three vs. UO.

Texas Lutheran resumes its ASC West schedule on Tuesday (Apr. 6) with a doubleheader at Concordia-Austin. It is the first half of three four-game conference series remaining for TLU. . . . The Bulldogs at 16-6 overall are on their way to posting one of the best softball records in school history. The 16-6 start to the season is the best since the 1994 season, when TLU finished 31-14 overall and was ranked in the NAIA Top 25. The Bulldogs are trying to advance to a conference tournament for the third time in school history and for the first time since 1992 (when TLU played in the Heart of Texas Conference playoffs). . . . After a slow start, junior DP Amy Behlen has caught fire at the plate. She now leads the team in batting average (.375), hits (24), doubles (5), home runs (1), RBIs (15), slugging percentage (.500), and on-base percentage (.446).


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