Baseball Lions play final games at home
SAGU meets Tillotson on Friday, Saturday
Reduced squad falls to Dallas Christian on Tuesday
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team will play host to Huston-Tillotson University this weekend in a three-game, season-ending series.
The Lions, now 14-32 after a 16-0 road loss to Dallas Christian College on Tuesday, have dropped their last five games.
At stake in the weekender is eighth place in the 10-team Red River Athletic Conference. Tillotson, from Austin, Texas, is currently 10-40 overall and 4-19 in league play.
The Rams are last in the RRAC in batting (.255 BA) and ninth in scoring (4.1 rpg). What they lack in hitting prowess, they make up for in aggressiveness on the basepaths, swiping 80 bases to date.
HT’s pitchers have combined for an earned run average (ERA) of 7.86, which ranks eighth in the conference.
Meanwhile SAGU is hitting .269 (7th), scoring 4.6 runs per game (7th), have stolen 21 bases (8th) and have slid to an ERA of 7.91 (9th).
The two teams, both with the youngest squads in the RRAC, have made the most errors; SAGU with 102, HT with 121.
A year ago, with a senior-laden team, SAGU finished at 14-28; batted .284 (4th), scored 3.5 rpg (9th), had 94 steals (3rd), a 5.27 ERA (6th), and committed 94 errors.
The entire series will be played at the team’s new campus ballfield, where the Lions are 5-4. They are 6-12 at the Waxahachie Sports Complex. The Rams are 3-12 on the road.
Blanked at Reverchon
Tuesday’s loss to Dallas Christian College was largely due to a depleted pitching staff that pressed four seldom used players onto the mound. Two hadn’t pitched all season. One had a lone appearance. The results were understandable.
After defeating the Crusaders in each of their previous meetings this season, this game left little doubt who would win. The hosts, playing at Reverchon Park, rapped 17 hits and scored in six of the first seven innings.
Lion hurlers hit two batters with pitches and walked nine others. Of the 53 batters sent to the plate, SAGU threw a strike on the first pitch 25 times. That meant they were often behind in the count from the start. Four errors didn’t help their cause.
SAGU put together five base hits and collected three walks. They failed to score for the sixth time this season, three to non-conference foes.
Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) led the team with a pair of base knocks including a single in the second and a double in the fifth, both to left-center.
Freshman Garett Thomas (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) stroked a hit in the first before a double-play ended the frame.
SAGU’s best chance to score was in the second when Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) and Denton led off with singles. The ‘Saders, however, regrouped to get three outs on two pitches.
In the seventh, Micah Thompson (Waco, Tx / Gatesville HS) got on board with a liner to centerfield. The next three players failed to advance him.
Finally, in the top of the ninth, SAGU failed to score after getting two walks. One was caught stealing. The game ended on a pair of grounders.
Spencer Ming (Joplin, Mo / College Heights Christian), Tali Fletcher (Monohans, Tx / Monohans HS) and Jeremy Cross (Americus, GA / Harker Heights HS) were benefitted with complete games in the field.
About the Lions late slide
Since the team’s record was 13-16 on March 9th, the Lions have gone 1-14 with a pair of forfeits due to a shortage of pitchers.
The last five weeks has taken the glow off a season in which a team filled with 25 freshmen and sophomores had played near .500 ball and, late in games, had a chance to win another seven times. The most wins in school history is 20.
A host of injuries to pitchers and roster issues took their toll down the stretch.
The ballclub has scored an average of 2.4 runs during the 15 game stretch while allowing opponents to reach double figures nine times (10.6 rpg).
During the first 29 games of the season the Lions scored 5.8 runs per outing and allowed 7.6.
Head Coach Jon Shockley hopes to be able to send both Jarrod Pisors (Dallas, Tx / Red Oak HS) and Hayden Killebrew (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS), a local freshman duo, against Tillotson this weekend.
Pisors leads the team with 60 innings pitched, while Killebrew (2-3 record) has tossed 27. The latter has been out for a month with an ailment. The pair are former prep teammates.
SAGU has three current players hitting near or over .300 with Thomas at .384, Denton swinging at a .350 rate and Billy Mee (Fayetteville, NC / Copperas Cove HS) at .298. Denton is tops in runs batted in with 31.
Thomas, also from Red Oak, would be fifth in the RRAC if he had enough at bats. Denton’s average ranks No. 16 while his RBI’s places him at No. 13.