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

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

2004 ASC Softball Championships

Divisional races continue to heat up in the American Southwest Conference with championships and spots in the April 29-May 1 conference championship tournament on the line. . . . Second-place UT Dallas hosts third-place #17 Louisiana College in a key ASC East series on Friday and Saturday (Apr. 16-17). Division leader #2 East Texas Baptist plays host to Ozarks this weekend. . . . ASC West leader Texas Lutheran plays non-conference games this weekend while its closest challengers--second-place Howard Payne and third-place Mary Hardin-Baylor--are each hosting division rivals in four-game series.

In a split decision with Sul Ross State (Apr. 9-10), Concordia-Austin claimed its first back-to-back wins of the season with a Good Friday doubleheader sweep in the ASC West series. . . . Junior C Brandy Pletan played huge for the Tornados, batting .500 in the four-game series (7-for-14) with two home runs, five runs scored and eight RBIs. The eight RBIs were her first of the season as the junior pushed her season batting average to .231. . . . CUA dropped both ends of Tuesday’s (Apr. 13) ASC West home doubleheader vs. division leader Texas Lutheran. . . . The Tornados have a non-conference date with NCAA West Region opponent Cal State Hayward on Saturday (Apr. 17) before wrapping-up its conference schedule at Hardin-Simmons April 23-24.

East Texas Baptist maintained its #2 national ranking for a second week in the April 14 NFCA Coaches Poll. The Lady Tigers are the top-ranked team in the NCAA-III West Region rankings (April 7). . . . ETBU had its win streak halted at 15 games by Mississippi College on Tuesday (Apr. 13), thanks to a 2-1 loss in game two of the ASC East doubleheader. It is the second time this season ETBU has won 15 straight before a loss. . . . RHP Kristen Abernathy matched Louisiana College ace Sandi Clark pitch-for-pitch in game one of a key ASC East doubleheader in Pineville on April 6, getting the win after pitching 10 innings in ETBU’s 5-1 victory. Abernathy allowed 10 hits but only one earned run in 10 innings with five strikeouts in running her record this season to 4-0. . . . ETBU has five players – Allison Ratcliff (8), Christy Shipley (6), Angela Gonzales (6), Holley Martin (5) and Sarah Tackett (5) – with at least five home runs on the season. Among non-pitchers, a total of eight players have hit at least one dinger this year. The team total stands at 34. . . . Ratcliff set a new team record for home runs in a single season (8) when she blasted a game-winning grand slam in the top of the 10th inning in the 5-1 win vs. LC (Apr. 6). Ratcliff ranks 13th in NCAA-III home runs per game (Apr. 11). . . . Senior OF Tonya Minor opened the week two steals away from breaking her only team record for stolen bases in a season. Minor has swiped 32-of-35 this season and needs only one more steal to tie her team record of 33 set in 2002. Minor is averaging 1.23 stolen bases a game, second-best in NCAA-III.

Howard Payne finishes its ASC West series vs. Hardin-Simmons with Wednesday’s doubleheader in Abilene (Apr. 14). The Lady Jackets are second in the division, chasing leader Texas Lutheran while holding off challenger Mary Hardin-Baylor. . . . HPU is one of the most offensive teams in NCAA-III softball, averaging 6.25 runs a game to rank 29th in the country. . . . Samantha Graham leads HPU with a .461 batting average, Dayberly Hopper averages 1.21 RBIs a game and Kassie Kilburn is averaging 0.24 stolen bases a game to each rank among the Top 30 in their respective national stat category.

C Stephanie Ray belted her LeTourneau record fifth home run of the season in the second game of last Thursday’s doubleheader against UT Dallas (Apr. 8). The three-run blast gave the LadyJackets a brief 3-0 lead and pushed her season RBI total to 17, bettering Ray’s own season school record of 16 set a year ago. The home run was the senior’s 100th career hit making her the first player in LadyJackets history to reach the hits milestone. . . . The LadyJackets played were swept by ASC East rival UT Dallas in its only action last week. LeTourneau scored its first run in five games in the game two 17-3 loss. . . . Ray and Amber Taylor played their final career home games against UTD as the LadyJackets are on the road to finish the regular season.

Louisiana College moved up four spots to #17 in the April 14 NFCA Coaches Poll. . . . The April 7 NCAA regional rankings have the Lady Wildcats first in the Atlantic Region. . . . Four of the six Louisiana College losses this season have come against East Texas Baptist and were by either one or in extra innings. . . . P Sandi Clark picked up some national publicity in Sports Illustrated magazine. The April 12 issue features Clark as one of SI’s “Faces in the Crowd” highlighting the right-hander’s consecutive day no-hitter and perfect games. . . . The LC pitching staff ranks eighth in the NCAA-III earned run average stats with a 0.83 ERA through April 11. Staff aces Clark (0.62, 16th) and Emillie Collins (1.07, 43rd) rank among the division’s top 50 pitchers.

Mary Hardin-Baylor 1B Jennifer Pietrowski ranks second in the NCAA-III home runs per game category in the season’s first national statistical ranking. The sophomore is averaging 0.35 home runs, adding a three-run homer in the first game and a solo shot in game two of last Thursday’s doubleheader vs. #2 East Texas Baptist (Apr. 8). Pietrowski is now batting .413 this season with nine home runs and 30 RBIs. She has already set the UMHB season home run record and is seven RBIs away from that school season record. . . . UMHB won the first of three home doubleheaders with a sweep of NCAA West Region opponent Trinity on Tuesday (Apr. 13). The Crusaders face Schreiner in ASC West play this weekend (Apr. 16-17), then wrap-up the regular-season with four games at Sul Ross State April 23-24.

Mississippi College stopped the East Texas Baptist win streak at 15 games with a 2-1 win in the bottom half of Tuesday’s (Apr. 13) doubleheader vs. the nation’s #2-ranked squad. . . . Leslie Shumock helped lead the Lady Choctaws to a 3-1 record last week by sparking the offense from the lead off position. The freshman 2B batted 500 and drove in a team high five RBIs in non-conference Atlantic Region twinbills vs. Rhodes and Millsaps (Apr. 5, 9). . . . P Katie Waterbury has two saves this season, tying her at No. 11 in NCAA-III saves stats (Apr. 11).

UT Dallas heads into its crucial ASC East weekend series vs. #17-ranked Louisiana College winning it last six conference games and a hold on second place in the division. . . . The Comets have hit .424 as a team in the last five games while the pitching staff has limited opponents to just five earned runs in the last six appearances. . . . Freshman Amanda Craig, who had an 18-game hit streak snapped against LeTourneau Thursday (Apr. 8), leads the team in hitting with a .412 average. . . . Senior Candace Felts has raised her average to 322 by hitting .450 (9-20) in the last five. . . . Shaunna Lawrence has 10 hits in her last seven games, raising her average to .368. . . . Freshman P Daci DeLeon has given up just one earned run and struck out 25 in her last four outings. . . . P Christina Sass has thrown seven straight shutout innings while Stephanie Herrera pitched six shutout innings last week, striking out eight.

Amy Behlen hit .692 during the week as Texas Lutheran went 5-0-1 in six conference games. Behlen drove in both RBIs in Friday’s 2-0 win over Hardin-Simmons (Apr. 9). She had six total RBIs in the Bulldogs’ next two victories. For the series with HSU, Behlen went 8-for-9 with three runs, eight RBIs, two walks and two sacrifice flies. Behlen has raised her average .229 points in the last month of action to .429 and leads the team with 26 RBIs, 33 hits and a .505 slugging percentage. . . . Texas Lutheran has four conference games remaining on its schedule--the April 23-24 series vs. Howard Payne. The Bulldogs swept Tuesday’s (Apr. 13) road doubleheader with Concordia-Austin to open a busy post-Easter week. TLU breaks its conference schedule with four regional games, home/away singles vs. Trinity and home/neutral games with regionally ranked #5 California State at Hayward (1 home, 1 neutral). . . . The Bulldogs are ranked sixth in the April 7 NCAA-III West Region rankings.


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