Top Six Southland Baseball Teams Separated by Just Three Games

Spenser Dennis leads the Southland Conference with a .453 batting average.Courtesy: Southland.org
Spenser Dennis leads the Southland Conference with a .453 batting average.Courtesy: Southland.org

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

Texas State is in first place in the Southland Conference and has a two-game lead ahead of Sam Houston State and UT Arlington with five weeks remaining in the regular season. Just three games separate the top six teams in the league and five games separate the top nine teams in the standings. The Bobcats (24-10, 13-5 Southland), which are riding a five-game win streak after sweeping Southeastern Louisiana last weekend between wins over Houston Baptist, are at Northwestern State this weekend. Sam Houston (20-13, 11-7) is at Nicholls State and UT Arlington (18-16, 11-7) visits Central Arkansas. Other league action this weekend pits Lamar at UTSA, Stephen F. Austin at McNeese State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Southeastern Louisiana.

Central Arkansas

16-16, 9-8 Southland

Central Arkansas was 1-2 last week … won the opening game of the series at Nicholls State but dropped the final two games … in the 7-2 win in the first game of the series, Jeremy Cloud threw his fifth complete game in eight starts this season … he struck out five and walked two in improving to 4-3 on the year … he leads the Southland in complete games … Tye Throneberry leads the team with a .375 batting average … he also paces the team with 31 RBI … Jonathan Yerby is the team leader with 44 hits, 10 doubles and nine home runs … Bobby Pritchett leads the Bears with 38 strikeouts and has five saves.

Lamar

23-13, 10-8 Southland

Lamar had a five-game win streak snapped with a one-run loss at home to Rice, but rebounded to win the opening game of the league series at Sam Houston State … the Cardinals lost the last two games of the series … Tyler Link, who leads the team with a .356 average, is second with 44 runs scored … Eric Harrington leads the Southland with a 1.91 ERA and is 6-0 in eight starts … Ricky Testa has 59 strikeouts, which is just one off the league lead … the pitching staff’s 4.32 ERA is second in the conference behind UT Arlington (4.05), but the team’s .970 fielding percentage is tied for the best among league teams.

McNeese State

15-16, 6-12 Southland

The Cowboys were 2-2 last week with a win over Texas Southern before taking the series finale at UT Arlington … McNeese has gone to extra innings in five of its last eight games and seven times this season … Taylor Freeman leads the team with a .375 batting average, which is tied for 11th in the Southland … more than half of Lee Orr’s 43 hits have been for extra bases … he has eight doubles, four triples and is tied for the league lead with 12 home runs … his 47 RBI rank second in the league … McNeese’s .327 batting average is the best in the Southland … seven everyday players are batting .317 or better.

Nicholls State

15-18, 8-10 Southland

Nicholls State took 2-of-3 from Central Arkansas and has won 3-of-4 and 4-of-6 … Tyler Minto was the Southland pitcher of the week after he struck out a career-high nine batters in the series finale … he scattered six hits through nine innings and did not allow a walk … Chris Murrill, who ranks seven in the league with a .400 batting average, leads the league with six triples and has scored 39 runs, which is the third best conference total … Murrill has stolen a league-best 22-of-23 bases … the Colonels, which are tied with SFA with 58 stolen bases, have three players with double-digit stolen base totals.

Northwestern State

16-15, 10-7 Southland

Northwestern State dropped the opening game last week at UTSA, but won the last two games, which both went 10 innings … Joe Urtuzuastegui drove in a career-high six RBI Saturday in the series clincher thanks to a three-run home run, sacrifice fly and a two-run double … Ryan Zimmerman struck out seven batters but did not get a decision despite leaving with a 4-2 lead … Justin O’Neal leads the team with a .364 average … Chase Lyles has stolen 12-of-16 bases and leads the team with nine home runs and 30 RBI … Jimmy Heard leads the team with five wins and 42 strikeouts … Chad Sheppard has six saves.

Sam Houston State

20-13, 11-7 Southland

The Bearkats were 2-2 last week … after dropping a game at Rice and the series opener to Lamar, Sam Houston picked up wins in the final two games of the series … Bearkats have won 5-of-7 … Sam Houston, which is third in the league with a .320 batting average, is led by Nick Zaleski, who is third individually with a .423 average … he was 7-for-14 in four games last week … Zaleski has driven in 39 RBI, which is third in the Southland … Braeden Riley has 59 hits and is tied for first with UTSA’s Michael Rockett … Riley is second on the team with a .371 average … Sam Houston’s .966 fielding percentage ranks fourth in the league.

Southeastern Louisiana

20-13, 10-8 Southland

Southeastern Louisiana entered its three-game series at Texas State tied for first with the Bobcats, but lost all three games to slip into a fifth-place tie … Cass Hargis leads the Lions with a .348 batting average and 48 hits … Brandon Street, who has a .328 average, has four of the team’s 16 home runs … Ty Summerlin is the team leader with 11 doubles … Ryan Boudreaux leads the pitching staff with five wins though Brandon Efferson leads the staff with 44 strikeouts, which ties him for fourth in the conference … his 3.93 ERA ranks ninth in the league … Chris Franklin leads the Southland with eight saves.

Stephen F. Austin

13-19, 6-11 Southland

The Lumberjacks lost two of three last weekend to A&M-Corpus Christi though have won six of their last nine games … Sean Meyers ranks sixth in the Southland with a .402 batting average … Meyers has four of the team’s 22 home runs and paces the squad with 11 doubles and 30 RBI … Tanner Hines is second in the league with 14 stolen bases (on 15 tries) … Erich Lehmann and Alex Moshier each have three wins to lead the team … Lehmann is 3-3 in eight starts, while Moshier is 3-0 with a team-low 1.29 ERA in 20 appearances, all in relief … Richard Folmer has six saves and a 1.50 ERA in 15 relief appearances.

UT Arlington

18-16, 11-7 Southland

UT Arlington won two of its three home games vs. McNeese State last weekend … three of the Mavericks’ four games last week went into extra innings … Michael Choice was the hitter of the week after he was 10-for-19 (.526) with six RBI and eight runs scored … he is tied for fourth in the league with a .417 batting average … Matt Otteman is second in the league with a .433 batting average … Otteman ranks third with 42 RBI and is tied for second with five triples and is tied for third with 58 hits … he ranks fourth with 94 total bases … Andrew Kainer also is ranked in the top five in the league with a .417 average.

UTSA

18-17, 9-9 Southland

After a sweep at Sam Houston March 20-22, UTSA has dropped 2-of-3 games in each of its three Southland series … UTSA claimed the opener against Northwestern State, but lost twice in 10 innings … UTSA beat Dallas Baptist 4-3 Monday and saw a pair of Southland Conference records fall … Michael Rockett became the league’s all-time hits leader with 297, topping an eight-year record set by Louisiana-Monroe’s Willie Core (1998-2001) … Zach Calhoon also registered his 24th career save, topping the previous record of 23 set by Sam Houston’s Luke Prihoda (2006-07), the NCBWA Stopper of the Year in 2007.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
13-22, 5-13 Southland

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi won two of three games last weekend against Stephen F. Austin … the Islanders claimed a pair of two-run victories and lost the middle game by one run … Trey Hernandez ranks third in the conference with 11 home runs … Weston Montgomery is the team leader with a .346 batting average … Martin Parra, who is second on the team with a .333 batting average, leads the team with 44 hits and is tied for second in the Southland with five triples … the Islanders are last with a 7.19 ERA and have used 16 pitchers, though only two have more than 33 innings … Hernandez has four saves.

Texas State

24-10, 13-5 Southland

Texas State swept its three-game series last weekend against Southeastern Louisiana, which entered the matchup in a two-way tie with the Bobcats atop the standings … a 4-0 win over Houston Baptist Monday extending the Bobcats win streak to five games … Texas State has lost just twice in its last 15 games … Spenser Dennis leads the Southland with a .453 batting average, while Paul Goldschmidt leads the league with 56 RBI and is tied for the lead with 12 home runs … Kane Holbrooks is second in the conference with a 1.96 ERA, but is the league leader with a 7-0 record in second-best 59.2 innings pitched.