Baseball Lions close season, need one win
SAGU hosts Northwood; 3 games today and Saturday
Team to honor four seniors; Cross, Denton, Fletcher, Sheffield
Friday DH begins on campus at noon; Saturday game at 3:00pm
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The regular season comes to a big finish this weekend for the Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team.
The Lions (18-27 record) will play host to nationally ranked Northwood University (29-18) in a three-game series at SAGU’s on-campus ballfield.
It’ll be the third straight series against a perennial power. They played at No. 12 Oklahoma City University and hosted No. 1 Oklahoma Baptist University in the last two weeks.
The team is battling for a spot in the May 2-5 Sooner Athletic Conference tournament. The Top 8 teams qualify. Currently they hold a one-game lead over two teams; St. Gregory’s University and Mid-America Christian University.
Both of those teams must take 2-of-3 against OBU and OKC respectively for the Lions to miss out.
With one win against Northwood, SAGU can gain a berth in the National Christian College Athletic Association’s Central Regional tourney. It is set for May 6-9 in Oklahoma City.
Beating the Knights has been no walk in the park for the Lions. Northwood, who close the doors at their school in a few weeks, have won 16 consecutive games in the series. The last time SAGU won was in 2008 when they claimed two victories in Cedar Hill.
One match-up for fans will be SAGU's effort to thwart one of the nation’s best hitters, Northwood catcher Carlos Contreras. The 5’10 junior totes a .446 bat, good enough to rank No. 5 in the NAIA.
Contreras has six homers and his 52 runs batted in are eighth best in the country.
The fence in rightfield, 300-feet from the plate and 30-feet high, could be tested by the left-handed batter.
Team batting and pitching statistics are similar; though the Knights’ 110 stolen bases, sixty-two more than the Lions, may be a key factor if they need to manufacture runs.
Head Coach Sam Blackmon has been utilizing two lefties and one righty in the pitching rotation of late.
No announcement was made regarding which trio will get the nod. Jarrod Pisors (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) and freshman southpaw Pedro “Tres” Ortiz (Lorena, Tx / Lorena HS) are the most likely to start.
Pisors, a sophomore, is 5-4 with a 3.56 earned run average. He averages 5.6 innings pitched per start. Ortiz, the team leader in innings pitched, has a 3-8 mark and a 5.22 ERA.
Senior Jeremy Cross (Americus, Ga / Harker Heights HS, Univ of Dallas), sophomore Hayden Killebrew (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) and freshman Tucker Burt (N. Richland Hills, Tx /Westlake Academy) have started nine, seven and six games respectively.
The Lions hottest hitters are senior Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS), sophomore Bryant Threadgill (Whitewright, Tx / Whitewright HS, Dallas Christian College), sophomore Raul Castro (Garland, Tx / Richardson Berkner HS, Hillsdale College) and freshman Josh Terry (Daingerfield, Tx / Daingerfield HS).
Denton is batting .405, Threadgill .324, while Terry is at .309. The latter has hit 12-for-32 (.375), while Castro is 10-for-20 over the last seven games.
Denton, who could break a few SAGU records this weekend, recently hit 22-for-38 (.579) over twelve games.
The team will need a solid effort by an infield that is second in the SAC in double plays with 37 as well as good pitching.
A complete team comparison is posted inside a 12-page Game Day program; available at the games. It also includes player stats.
Senior Day / Pre-Game Ceremony at 2:40pm
Prior to Saturday’s 3:00pm finale SAGU will recognize four Lions on Senior Day; Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS), Tali Fletcher (Monahans, Tx / Monahans HS), Cross and Denton. A ceremony is slated for 2:40pm.
SAGU Senior Baseball Players
Name Position(s) Hometown Major
Jeremy Cross Pitcher/Outfield Americus, Ga Business
Jared Denton Catcher/Outfield Mission, Tx Sports Management
Tali Fletcher Outfield/Pitcher Monahans, Tx History
Nick Sheffield 3rd Base/1st Base Maypearl, Tx Secondary Education