SAGU Suffers Rare Shutout in Season Finale
Denton roars, but Steers blank Lions
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team wrapped up the 2011 regular season on a sunscorched, windy day, falling to Texas College by a 5-0 count. It was only the Lions third time the squad had been held scoreless all season.
Freshman catcher Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) had an outstanding performance. He rapped a pair of base hits, included a double, a walk and had three assists – gunning out baserunners at second and a pair at third base.
SAGU managed only five hits off Jared Duncan, the Steers’ 6’2 sophomore pitcher. The Lions did add five walks but couldn’t get any of the 10 to score. Southwestern had two serious scoring threats. One was scratched on a missed sign and a baserunning mistake.
The last bid to avoid the whitewash came late. The bags were packed with ‘Cats with no outs. A day after capitalizing in the same situation, an infield pop-up was followed by a ground ball that was turned into a double play to snuff the rally and end the season.
SAGU overcame a 4-0 deficit in the bottom of the ninth on Friday in a thrilling 5-4 victory over Texas College.
Duncan's array of pitches kept the Lions from developing any rhythm as he sat down seven on strike outs. His won-lost record improved to a team-best 6-4. Texas College concludes their season with a 27-25 overall mark as well as 15-15 in the Red River Athletic Conference. They finished in sixth place and qualified for the RRAC post-season tournament.
Others collecting base hits for SAGU were Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS), Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NMMI, Gateway HS) and Weston Lippe (Huntsville, Tx / Alpha-Omega HS).
Defensively, Riley Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) got tested on the hot corner. The sophomore third baseman made four putouts and a team-high five assists (throw outs). First Baseman Cameron Ward (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) led the squad with eight put outs. Jett snared five flies in centerfield, including a daring dash into shallow center to rob a player by making a shoestring catch on the run.
Solid effort by Morgan
Nic Morgan (Fort Worth, Tx / LeTourneau Univ, Boswell HS) had a steady, six inning effort on the mound. He was tagged with the loss, though he surrendered just seven hits and three earned runs. Morgan walked four and struck out one batter.
Afterwards the lefthander said he felt his pitching was okay. “I didn’t feel like I had command of some of my pitches, especially in these conditions.” Saturday weather was 90 degrees and quite blustery, with gusts ranging from 25 to 40 mph.
Morgan finished second on the team in striking out opposing batters and was one of only three pitchers who fanned more batters than they walked. Enemy hitters had a combined .287 average against him, so he was generally up to the task in his first season after transferring from LeTourneau University (Longview, Tx).
A complete season review, including top performances among the players, will be posted. Current batting, pitching and fielding stats on each player can be accessed at: Dakstats
Junior righty Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Ellison HS) tossed two innings. He gave up a pair of hits, an unearned run and struck out two. The final frame saw sophomore Michael Reeves (Red Oak, Tx / Ovilla Christian) sit down all three batters he faced.
The Lions lost two of the three games against Texas College. However, the pitching staff limited the Steers to just 12 earned runs in the series (6 and 3 on Friday, 3 on Saturday).
Morgan, along with fellow starters Cam Ward and Jared Jones (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS), failed to get the necessary run-support to register a win.
SAGU’s final mark was 10-30 in all games and 5-25 against the RRAC. The Lions improved their pitching ERA (earned run average) by over two runs a game and raised their team batting average 10-to-20 points.
Another plus during the campaign were limited injuries (none serious), a testament to the club’s conditioning and off-season training.
Rightfielder Patrick Wherland (Petrolia, Tx / Cedar Valley, Petrolia HS) had an outstanding senior season. Though he was quiet (0-for-9) in the final three-game set against Texas College, he finished with a .403 batting average, a team-best 32 RBI and 17 extra-base hits. He was toting a .428 BA entering this weekend.
The Purple Pride held opponents under 10 runs on 18 occasions this season after doing so only 15 times in 2010.
Hindering the Lions was a defense that ranked last in the league, clutch hitting and depth among batters. The RRAC had four teams ranked among the nation’s best throughout the season, making the opposition clearly an uphill challenge. The addition of LSU-Shreveport (38-13) strengthened the conference though they lost only four times in 30 RRAC contests.
Southwestern posted 3-7, 2-8, 3-7 and 2-8 ten-game stretches this season. They won two more games than they did a year ago with their best string of games coming in mid-March when they won 3-of-4. The Lions topped Howard Payne University, 3-2, and then won two-of-three at Jarvis Christian. They topped the Bulldogs 13-3 and 15-11 and dropped a 10-7 decision.
On Deck for the Lions
Southwestern will participate in the Central Regional Tournament in the National Christian College Athletic Association’s post-season event. With 50 schools from across the nation, the NCCAA provides a spiritually wholesome tourney that ends with eight regional reps playing for the national crown in Cincinnati during May 18-21.
The Lions have committed to this event from the start of the season when they were chosen to host the Central competition. The games will be played at the Waxahachie Sports Complex on May 12-14.
Details will soon be determined and announced, possibly as soon as Monday, April 25.
LSUS will host the RRAC tournament, April 30-May 3. The top two teams qualify for the NAIA national playoff.