SFA Tangles With No. 16 TCU
March 23, 2009
vs No. 16 TCU (13-6, 2-1 Mountain West) March 24, 6:30 p.m.
LUPTON STADIUM (3,500) - FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Probable Pitching Matchup:
SFA - Jared West, RHP (0-1, 7.88 ERA, 16.0 IP, 10 K, 4 BB)
TCU - Greg Holle, RHP (2-0, 1.93 ERA, 9.1 IP, 8 K, 5 BB)
THIS WEEK The `Jacks play just a single midweek game this week, but it is a tough one as they head to Fort Worth to battle No. 16 TCU. SFA will be looking for its first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2006.
AGAINST THE HORNED FROGS SFA is only 2-8 against TCU since 1983, having lost the last six tries, including a 13-0 win by TCU in 2006. In its last three games with the Horned Frogs the `Jacks have been outscored 40-1 and have not won in Fort Worth since 1990.
FOLLOW THE 'JACKS RADIO: Radio can be found via TCU on KTCU 88.7 with Chuck LaMendola on the mic for the Horned Frogs. The broadcast can also be found online at www.gofrogs.com
LIVE STATS: Livestats will be available via Gametracker for all three games vs the Horned Frogs at www.sfajacks.com
UPDATING THE 'JACKS The `Jacks took two of three from Nicholls over the weekend to crack the win column in the SLC. The Sunday win by the Colonels snapped a four-game win streak for SFA. The `Jacks had dropped eight straight games before a win last week at Houston Baptist.
SFA hits a difficult stretch of conference play this weekend as the `Jacks will face two of the teams tied atop the conference (Texas State and UTSA) in the next two weekends. Friday SFA heads to Texas State for a three-game set, followed by another home-and-home with Houston Baptist, then UTSA heads to Nacogdoches.
FAMILIAR FACES HEAD BACK TO FORT WORTH: The Lumberjack coaching staff will be in familiar territory on Tuesday when they take on the TCU Horned Frogs. Both head coach Johnny Cardenas and hitting coach Chris Connally are former Horned Frogs themselves, having played under former head coach Lance Brown. Cardenas wore the purple and white from 1990-93 before being selected by the Seattle Mariners. Connally was a Horned Frog in 1997 and 1998 where he belted 40 home runs in his two seasons in Fort Worth. His single-season record of 23 home runs in 1997 still stands as the all-time TCU record, and earned him All-America honors that year. He followed that up by driving in a school-record 80 runs the following year. To add some more local flair to the game, first-year pitching coach Chad Massengale is a native of Weatherford and spent the 2008 season as the pitching instructor at Weatherford College.
SFA'S KING OF THE K: Erich Lehmann took hold of another SFA career record on Saturday when he became the all-time strikeout leader at the school. Lehmann finished with six strikeouts and no walks in a complete game shutout of Nicholls, but it was his fourth-inning strikeout of Josh Labiche that tallied his 221st career strikeout to move in front of Sean Wood. The Fort Worth native picked up his first win of the season as well, pushing his SFA-best total to 19 for his career. He also needs only 17.2 more innings to pass Wood in the all-time innings category as well. Lehmann has been outstadnding in two home starts, throwing 15 consecutive scoreless innings at Jaycees Field.
RECORD-SETTING SATURDAY: Saturday's win 11-0 win over Nicholls provided several milestones for the Lumberjack program. In addition to Erich Lehmann becoming the school's all-time strikeout king, Gabriel Garcia-Serrano also jumped to the top of the record book as he set a new single-game record at the school with four stolen bases against the Colonels. On top of that the `Jacks also cut the game short by putting the mercy rule into effect for the second straight game, the first time SFA's recorded history that the team has ever run-ruled an opponent in consecutive games.
PUT ON THE BRAKES!: SFA avoided a dubious record with its 7-4 win over Houston Baptist last Tuesday, as another loss would have been its ninth in a row and would have been the longest losing streak since SFA brought back baseball in 2006. SFA had an eight-game losing skid early in the 2006 campaign and had another midway through the 2008 season.
ONE GAME MAKES A DIFFERENCE: Especially when that one game is a game that an opponent scores 24 runs. That happened the second game of the year against ULM when the Warhawks dropped in 24 runs against SFA pitching. Overall the `Jacks have a 4.83 team ERA, but take that game away and as a team SFA has a 4.03 team ERA, a mark that would currently stand as the third best team ERA in the conference.
BULKING UP: Senior outfielder Zach Gardner has spent the majority of his career as the `Jacks primary leadoff hitter and he is doing the same this year, but take a closer look and you will see that he is also making the transformation into a run producer rather than just a run scorer. Gardner had a career best 24 RBI in 48 games as a junior in 2008, but he is quickly nearing that total in 2009 as he already has 16 in just 20 games. He had at least one RBI in four of his five games this past week, including his second home run of the season against Nicholls which tied his career best for an entire season. Gardner is currently second on the `Jacks in RBI, tied for first with seven doubles and is third on the team with a .489 slugging percentage.
NEARLY THE RECORD: SFA was swinging the sticks well on Wednesday against Houston Baptist, tallying 20 hits against the Huskies which was just one hit shy of the all-time single-game record of 21 set in 2007. Oddly enough 18 of the hits were of the singles variety with ony Bo Coffman and Justin McAninch getting hits that went for extra bases.
NOT MEYERED IN A SLUMP: First baseman/DH is one of the few individual Lumberjack hitters to be ranked among the best in the SLC. Meyers leads SFA in batting average (.425), slugging percentage (.699), RBI (21) and doubles (7). The Conroe, Texas, native had an eight-game hit streak to start the season and has now hit in eight of his last nine games as well. In those nine games he has also managed to drive in 12 runs, with at least one RBI in each game. Opposing managers are having a tough time trying to match up with him as well, as Meyers is actually hitting better against lefties (.429, 9/21) than against righties (.423, 22/52).
GOTTA GET `EM IN: Nobody can say that the `Jacks did not have their opportunities in their series against Central Arkansas and Louisiana Tech, but SFA never could seem to convert offensively until late in the game on Sunday. Overall, the `Jacks left 11 runners on base in 11 innings on Saturday, 14 more in 10 innings on Sunday and 11 more in 10 innings against La. Tech on Tuesday. The most SFA left on base throughout all of 2008 was 12 twice, against Sacred Heart (3/8) and Dallas Baptist (3/4). SFA also went a span of 25 consecutive innings without pushing across a run until the sixth inning on Sunday against UCA, tying the most since 2006 in that category. That year SFA went from the eighth inning on March 29 to the sixth inning on April 2 without scoring - a span of 25 innings over four games.
JAYCEES GETS A FACELIFT: Beginning in the fall of 2008, the home of SFA Baseball, Jaycees Field, underwent several renovations including elevating the press box and adding new seating. SFA sank nearly $200,000 dollars into the project that includes creating a new playing field for SFA's softball team as well. At Jaycees Field, though, a new 740-seat bleacher system in addition to chair-back seating in a covered center section in front of the press box that was elevated nearly 30 feet.
LUCKY (OR UNLUCKY) NUMBER SEVEN: SFA has found a key to winning over the past three seasons, and it is scoring at least seven runs that is usually no surprise. With the powerful offenses that the team has had over the past two seasons, it is no surprise that SFA has scored at least seven runs in 76 games since 2006, going 57-19 (.750) in those games; however, the 'Jacks have scored less than seven 113 times since 2006, going only 18-95 (.159) in those games. The 2008 season was alsmost divided directly down that line as SFA went 22-6 in games where they scored at least seven times, and were 3-23 in games in which they scored less than seven. This year the `Jacks have scored at least seven on nine occassions, going 7-2 in those contests and 0-11 when scoring less than seven runs.
SENIOR CYCLE: The 2009 season will mark the fourth season with baseball back at SFA, and will mark the first four-year senior crop of players to make the full cycle through the program. Erik Gregersen, Zach Gardner, Erich Lehmann, Jared Schrom and Richard Folmer are each seniors that were part of the initial freshman recruiting class that opened up play in 2006.