'Jacks to Host Lamar in SLC Home Opener
March 22, 2007
NACOGDOCHES - The Lumberjacks opened their Southland Conference slate last weekend and won one of three against Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond. SFA is opening its home league schedule versus Lamar, who is 3-0 in SLC play, this weekend in the first leg of its seven game homestand, its longest of the season. The Lumberjacks lost two straight over the weekend -- a 10-inning 2-1 loss on Friday and Saturday's 7-1 defeat. It was the first time in a month the 'Jacks had put together consecutive losses. SFA is currently sitting with a 12-12 record and is 1-2 in SLC play. The 'Jacks are 9-4 through their last 13 games.
This weekend: Lamar is coming to Nacogdoches for SFA's home conference opener. The 'Jacks are currently 7-0 on home turf.
The Cardinals: Lamar started off Southland Conference play by sweeping Texas-Arlington over the weekend. The Cardinals then split with Texas-San Antonio in non-conference action in a pair of midweek games earlier this week. Lamar is 7-3 in their last 10 games. Erik Kanaby and Michael Ambort are both hitting over .400 with averages of .446 and .412, respectively. Ambort is also leading the team with 29 RBI and is tied for the team lead with three home runs. From the mound, Friday's starter, Brian Sisk is leading the Cardinals' starters with a 1.88 ERA. He is 4-0 on the year and has recorded 34 strikeouts to tie for the team lead with Saturday's starter, southpaw Allen Harrington. Harrington has a 4.25 ERA and is 3-2 this season. Jason Stutes will be making his fourth start of the season Sunday. He is 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA and 11 Ks this season.
Against the Cardinals: SFA has only collected four wins against the Cardinals in its history. The Lumberjacks are down 4-18 all-time against Lamar. Last season, the Cardinals swept SFA, 3-0.
The Coaches: SFA's Donnie Watson is in his second season at the helm of the Lumberjacks baseball program. In his time with the 'Jacks, Watson has put together an 27-53 (.338) overall record and an SLC mark of 8-25. Lamar's Jim Gilligan is in his 30th season as the head coach of the Cardinals.
The Starters Friday - Jared Schrom: In seven games started, Jared Schrom has struck out 37 batters, the most among SFA's pitching staff. In his last outing, Schrom, a sophomore from Portland, Texas, struck out seven in eight innings pitched. He gave up four runs, but none crossed the plate in a pitcher's duel Friday evening at Southeastern Louisiana. He has a season ERA of 1.07, the second lowest in the conference.
Saturday - Lance Luetge: Senior southpaw Lance Luetge suffered his second loss of the season (4-2) Saturday after Southeastern Louisiana defeated SFA, 7-1. The Industry, Texas, native threw 6.0 innings of work, giving up six runs off six hits. He also struck out six to raise his season total to 28. Luetge currently has a season ERA of 3.44.
Sunday - Erich Lehmann: Sophomore Erich Lehmann threw 5.1 innings of work Sunday at Southeastern Louisiana. he gave up nine hits and six runs. He struck out four in the outing and did not receive a decision in the 'Jacks' 15-11 win over the Lions. Lehmann has a 3.61 ERA and a 4-1 record on the year. He has 30 strikeouts compared to just six walks.
Home Runs: The Lumberjacks hit three home runs over the weekend to surpass the season total from 2006. This year SFA has 32 compared to a 2006 season total of 30. SFA hit eight home runs in four games last week and allowed just one. Steven Hill hit three for the week, including his record-breaking career 20th home run at Centenary. Zach Gardner and Jeff Brewer hit their first career home runs in Lumberjack uniforms.
Come a Long Way: Outfielder Justin Long has had a slow start to his freshman campaign this season. Through his first seven games played, Long was batting a low .167. But after fellow outfielder David Jeans suffered an injury, the Mansfield, Texas, native has stepped up to fill the void. Long spent the next six games fluctuating between a .231 and a .276 average before breaking .300 during a 3-for-5 performance against Texas-Pan American. That was the second game of Long's current nine-game hit streak. The freshman is currently second on the squad with a .357 batting average. He has two doubles and a team-leading two triples.
Zach Gardner: After a slow start at the plate this season and going hitless in six games, Zach Gardner has put together a string of three straight multi-hit games. In Tuesday's 20-4 win over Centenary, the Sugar Land, Texas, sophomore was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. On Friday, he was 2-for-4 and scored the Lumberjacks lone run in a 10-inning 2-1 loss at Southeastern Louisiana. Gardner capped off the weekend with a 3-for-4 performance and three runs scored on Sunday. He hit his first home run of his Lumberjack career in SFA's 15-11 win over Southeastern Louisiana. He is now batting .333.
Leading Role: Not only is senior Steven Hill leading the team and among the league leaders in multiple categories (with 35 hits, nine doubles, eight home runs, 33 RBI, a .686 slugging percentage and nine stolen bases), he has also put himself atop SFA's career records. In his two seasons in a Lumberjack uniform, Hill's 25 doubles and 77 RBI are a career best at SFA. He also now owns SFA's career home run record with 22. Hill, a native of Houston, Texas, is also among the top five in hits with 107, runs scored with 63, stolen bases at 19, and is second with three triples.
Up Next: The Lumberjacks will continue their longest homestand of the season Tuesday afternoon as they face Dallas Baptist at 3 p.m. from Jaycees Field. SFA will close out its homestand with a three-game set against league newcomer Central Arkansas Friday, March 10-Sunday, April 1.