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Line Drives -- ASC's Weekly Baseball Notebook
April 15, 2004

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

It’s crunch time in the American Southwest Conference division races. Two conference weekends remain in the regular season with championship and conference tournament berths hotly contested in both the ASC East and West Divisions. . . . The top two teams in the ASC East--leader #13 Mississippi College and UT Dallas--meet in Richardson, Texas for a three-game set Friday and Saturday (Apr. 16-17). . . . ASC West co-leaders Hardin-Simmons and Concordia-Austin each have series scheduled against lower division squads on Friday and Saturday. HSU is at Schreiner while CUA hosts Sul Ross State. Just off the leaders, third-place McMurry is at Mary Hardin-Baylor.

2004 ASC Baseball Championships

The 2004 ASC Baseball Championship Tournament is scheduled April 29-May 1 on the campus of the No. 1-seeded ASC West team. The top two seeded teams in each division advance to the conference playoffs with the tournament winner earning the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.

Don Ferguson exploded early in the third game of what looked to have the makings of a LeTourneau series sweep of Austin College over the weekend (Apr. 9-10). Ferguson went a perfect 4-for-4 on Saturday, belting a single in his first two at-bats, scoring a run in the first inning and driving one in the second. In the fourth and fifth innings the sophomore RF drove two doubles to right field, the first bouncing off first base and driving out of play. He drove in a run on each of his last three hits to give AC a solid cushion in the 18-5 win.

Concordia-Austin briefly dropped out of first-place in the ASC West with a series-opening 1-0 loss at Howard Payne (Apr. 8). The Tornados roared back to take Friday’s doubleheader and the division series with 8-1 and 18-7 victories, moving back into a tie for first with Hardin-Simmons. . . . Senior P Chema Chavez chalked up his fifth win of the season in a seven-inning complete game against HPU. Chavez struck out four and allowed six hits and three walks in the 8-1 victory.

OF Chris Yoder helped spark East Texas Baptist’s 9-8 win over UT Tyler in game three of the ASC East series on Friday (Apr. 9). Yoder produced a 3-for-3 performance that included three runs scored. It was his second three-hit game of the week, as he went 3-for-3 with a career-high five RBIs in Wednesday’s (Apr. 7) non-conference 19-1 win over Jarvis Christian. . . . Senior C Tommy Edwards is tied for the ETBU career record in doubles, with 35. The record had been set by Brandon Springer from 1995-98. . . . ETBU has won 7-of-8 games since being swept three straight UT Dallas on March 26-27. The Tigers have scored 92 runs over that span and have allowed only 47. . . . Junior OF Trey Luster is hitting .714 (15-for-21) with six home runs and 16 RBIs in his last six conference games. . . . Thursday’s 10-5 win over UT Tyler (Apr. 8) was ETBU coach Robert Riggs’ 100th career coaching victory. Riggs is in his third season at ETBU after coaching at LeTourneau for two seasons.

Barry Janisse started last weekend’s Hardin-Simmons sweep of ASC West rival Mary Hardin-Baylor (Apr. 8-9) on a good note with a two-run homer in the first inning of game one on Thursday. In each of the three games the junior shortstop had a hit and run scored in the first inning. In game one Janisse had a homer, then singled in game two and smacked a double in game three. Janisse’s hot start put the Cowboys ahead in each game throughout the series while his defensive work at shortstop started two rally-killing double plays late in games one and two. . . . Freshman 3B Brad Coleman continues his hot play. Coleman hit .556 during the week and is second on the team with a .447 average in ASC West play. . . . P Craig Foreman had 11 strikeouts in his complete game win over the Crusaders. He scattered eight hits and walked just two batters in the nine-inning game on Friday. . . . The Cowboys are in first-place in the ASC West this late in the season for the first time ever. They have never won the division title. . . . C Scott Drake threw out four of five base stealers in the series, negating the Crusaders’ running game. Billy Moore went into the weekend 19-for-19 on the year was 0-for-3 in the series. In ASC West play, opponents have been successful on four of 11 steal attempts against Drake.

Junior 3B Craig Simpson helped Howard Payne to a 1-2 weekend series vs. division leading Concordia-Austin (Apr. 8-9) by averaging .800 on 4-for-5 hitting with two RBIs. . . . The Yellow Jackets are at Texas Lutheran this weekend (Apr. 16-17).

Junior LHP Demetri White started the LeTourneau series against Austin College with a complete game, 4-3 victory in which he allowed just one earned run. White continued to improve upon his season strikeout total with five more whiffs to give him 60 on the season. . . . The YellowJackets went 2-2 last week losing to LSU-Shreveport on Wednesday (Apr. 7) and then taking two of three from Austin College over the weekend (Apr. 9-10). . . . Pitchers White and David Kennedy continue to throw extremely well with both picking up their second wins of the season on Good Friday. Both pitchers allowed only one earned run in 7.0 innings vs. Austin College. Kennedy has allowed just three earned runs over his last 23.1 innings pitched. . . . CF Damon Stokes made his presence felt vs. AC when he walked five times in the three games, including four times in the second game of the series. . . . Josh Swain hit his team-leading fourth home run of the season on Friday and now has 11 in two seasons. . . . Derek Fitchett hit his first home run of the season in the same game as Swain.

Louisiana College handed then ninth-ranked Mississippi College its first ASC East loss of the year. The Wildcats won the middle game of last weekend’s series, 5-1 (Apr. 9), vs. the Choctaws. . . . LC posted a 3-1 win against LSU-Shreveport on April 6, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 mark against last season’s NAIA third-place squad. . . . The four Louisiana College seniors--Dustyn Parker, Luke Kojis, Ross Doughty and Reggie McFarland--will be honored between Saturday’s doubleheader games vs. Austin College (Apr. 17).

Jordan Kutscherousky batted .778 (7-for-9) over four games last week, including his first two multiple-hit games for Mary Hardin-Baylor. The freshman infielder was 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored against St. Edward’s (Apr. 6) and added three hits in five trips to the plate in the Hardin-Simmons series (Apr. 8-9). Kutscherousky raised his season average from .100 to .310 with his hot-hitting, and also made several spectacular plays at third base. . . . Senior hurler Ryan Gotcher threw a complete-game, seven-hitter in a 4-1 loss at Hardin-Simmons (Apr. 9). He allowed just three earned runs and struck out two in the game. . . . Billy Moore stole his 19th base of the season last week to move him into third place on the Crusaders’ all-time season steals list. He trails Mike Lindsey’s 35 and Henrry Martinez’s 21. Moore’s total is the highest by a Crusader since UMHB moved to the NCAA. . . . Will Doyle was 7-for-15 last week (.467) and hit safely in all four games. Doyle added two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. . . . The Crusaders close out the season with seven straight home games, including a pair of three-game ASC West series against two of the three top teams in the division, McMurry on April 16-17 and Texas Lutheran on April 23-24.

McMurry had its season-long five game winning streak came to an end in the first game of Friday's doubleheader at Texas Lutheran (Apr. 9). The Indians dropped game one 6-4 and game two 4-3. Eleven of McMurry's 12 losses have come by 16 runs combined and the team is 8-11 in games decided by three runs or less, but 11-1 when the margin is 5 or more. . . .The McMurry defense went six games and 47 innings without committing an error until Friday’s series finale, when a season-high three errors gave the Bulldogs three unearned runs in a 4-3 loss and knocked McMurry out of first place in the ASC West. . . . Sophomore SS Albert Carrizales leads McMurry in batting average (.382), hits (42) and doubles (9) while Josh Lee tops with 14 home runs, 41 RBIs, .863 slugging percentage, 29 walks, 523 on-base percentage and .995 fielding percentage. . . . .Sophomore RF Greg Erickson shares the team lead with 18 extra-base hits.

Mississippi College slipped from ninth to 13th in the season’s second ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Top 30 coaches poll (Apr. 12). . . . Marc Chisholm had a solid week for the Choctaws, batting .412 in five games (7-for-17). He played particularly well in the doubleheader sweep of Division II Arkansas-Monticello (Apr. 6) with four hits in eight at-bats, five runs scored and three RBIs. His solo home run in the fifth inning of the opener broke a 4-4 tie, with a two-run double putting MC ahead 8-4 the next inning. Chisholm opened the three-game ASC East series vs. Louisiana College going 3-for-4 (Apr. 8). . . . RHP Derek Tillman leads the ASC in saves with eight and has been one of the most dominant closers in the country. Last week Tillman picked up a win and two saves in 3.2 innings of work. In the second game against Arkansas-Monticello, he entered with the bases loaded in the sixth and struck out that batter and the next three in the seventh for the save. Tillman earned a save in the opener vs. Louisiana College (Apr. 8) and won the ASC East series finale with 1.1 scoreless innings the next day (Apr. 9). . . . MC as won seven of its last eight and 15 of its last17 ball games. . . . The Choctaws will finish the season on the road with two key ASC East road weekends.

Ozarks’ sophomore 3B Anthony Brandon recorded a hit in each game of the UT Dallas series (Apr. 9-10) to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Brandon is batting .383 while knocking in 30 runs, three shy of setting a new school record. . . . Brian Heckmann has been the Eagles most consistent pitcher this season, leading the team with 47. 1 innings pitched. He is the team leader in strikeouts (31). Heckmann has also done well at the plate, batting .329 and went 3-for-4 against Central Baptist on April 6. . . . Ozarks pounded out 17 hits against Central Baptist, with each starter collecting at least one hit.

Sul Ross State P/CF/DH Chris Espinoza drilled a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift the Lobos to a 5-4 win over visiting Schreiner in the first game of Friday's double header (Apr. 9). He also tripled in three at-bats, scored twice and had three RBIs. In the nightcap, Espinoza singled, doubled and tripled, scoring one run and driving in another as the Lobos won 4-2. Espinoza ended the game by flagging down a long drive at the centerfield wall, then fired to Kevin Heady who relayed to first baseman Kyle Baldeschwiler to complete a double play.

Espinoza finished the three-game ASC West series with six hits in 11 at-bats, raising his season average to .352.

UT Dallas is listed among teams receiving votes in this week’s ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Top 30 coaches poll (Apr. 12). . . . RHP Tony Adler pitched his third complete game shutout of the season, holding Ozarks to just five hits while striking out 10 and walking one of the 23 batters he faced in Friday’s win (Apr. 9). Adler lowered his league-leading ERA to 0.41 by not allowing an earned run in six of his seven appearances. . . . The Comets starting pitching trifecta of Adler, Kevin McKnight and Gordon Walters did not allow an earned run in the Ozarks series (Apr. 9-10), combining to give up just 10 hits and striking out 27 in 21.0 innings. McKnight has given up just one earned run in his last two outings. Walters has given up just one earned runs in his last three. . . . DH Rob Spencer is 10-for-21 over the last two series while SS Johnnie Espree was 5-for-8 in the final two games of the Ozarks series with six RBIs, scoring four runs.

Tim Beecham jump-started the Texas Lutheran offense with a three-run home run in the first inning Friday during game one of the McMurry doubleheader (Apr. 9). With the Bulldogs’ trailing 1-0, Beecham launched his seventh home run of the season to give TLU a lead it never relinquished in a 6-4 win. He also singled and doubled in the opener, and finished the McMurry series with a .300 average. . . . The Bulldogs took 2-of-3 from then-ASC West leader McMurry last weekend to stay in the ASC West race heading into a crucial home series with Howard Payne (Apr. 16-17) and the regular season-ending season in Belton with Mary Hardin-Baylor (Apr. 23-24). . . . TLU freshman left-hander Kyle Newman improved to 5-0 with his win Friday against McMurry. Newman, making the third start of his young career, pitched six strong innings. Newman struck out seven, walked four and allowed five hits and two earned runs.


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