Lumberjacks Headed to Arlington
May 10, 2007
NACOGDOCHES - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks set off on the second leg of their second longest road stretch this season, starting with a three-game series at Texas-Arlington. Heading into the last two weekends of the regular season, SFA finds itself fighting for a bid to the Southland Conference tournament. The Lumberjacks are currently tied for sixth - the final spot in the bracket - with a 13-11 Southland Conference record. Southeastern Louisiana has the same record. McNeese State, Sam Houston State and Northwestern State are the other teams battling for three open slots in the tournament bracket.
SFA is coming off a 1-2 series at Texas State. In a weekend in which the Southland Conference saw seven run-ruled games in three days, the Lumberjacks and Bobcats were responsible for two of them. SFA was the victim on Friday, suffering a 13-3 eight-inning loss, before turning the tables on Texas State Sunday, taking an 11-0 win in seven innings.
The Mavericks: Texas-Arlington has suffered a set back during 2007 after winning the league tournament title to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament in 2006. The Mavericks currently have a 12-34 overall record with a last-place 3-21 conference mark. At the plate, Kyle Rudy and Danny Slinkman are the only two Mavs batting over .300. Rudy is hitting .366 with a team-high 56 hits. Slinkman is second with a .341 mark and is leading with 26 runs scored. Friday's starter Dillon Gee has a 4.04 ERA and is 4-7 on the year. He has struck out 80 batters. Saturday's starter Nathan Long is 1-7 with a 5.34 ERA and Eamonn Donavan, who is starting Sunday, has a 2.86 ERA, but remains winless at 0-3.
Against the Mavericks: Since joining the Southland Conference in 1988, the Lumberjacks are 4-22 against Texas-Arlington. Last season, the Mavericks swept SFA in three games at Jaycees Field.
The Coaches: SFA's Donnie Watson is in his second season at the helm of the Lumberjack baseball program. In his time with the 'Jacks, Watson has put together a 41-63 (.396) overall record and an SLC mark of 20-33 (.380). Jeff Curtis is currently in his sixth year as the manager of the Mavericks. He currently has a 165-182 career record at UTA.
The Starters Friday - Jared Schrom: Sophomore right hander Jared Schrom had his shortest outing of the year Saturday at Texas State. He gave up six runs off four hits in just 3.0 innings. He struck out three while walking two as he suffered his third loss of the season. The Portland, Texas, native currently has a 4.69 ERA with a 3-3 record. He has struck out a team-high 67 while walking 32 in 90.0 innings.
Saturday - Lance Luetge: Senior southpaw Lance Luetge earned his seventh win of the season Sunday at Texas State. The Industry, Texas, native held the scoreless Bobcats to just three hits and the Lumberjacks' offense sailed to an 11-0, seven-inning win. Luetge is currently leading SFA's pitching rotation with a 3.18 ERA in 76.1 innings. He has struck out 51 while walking 23. He is also 7-3 on the year.
Sunday - Erich Lehmann: Sophomore Erich Lehmann took a break from his starting role last weekend at Texas State and worked out of the bullpen. In 4.2 innings of relief work, Lehmann gave up two runs off five hits Saturday. He struck out four batters to move his season total to 65. He is 7-2 overall with a 4.30 ERA over 90.0 innings of work.
Grand Slam: Senior third baseman Chris Smith hit his first grand slam of his entire baseball career Sunday at Texas State. With two runners on, Texas State intentionally walked Steven Hill to load the bases. Smith then came up and hit a home run to left field to put the Lumberjacks ahead, 8-0. SFA run-ruled the Bobcats, 11-0, in seven innings. It was Smith's first home run since Feb. 25.
Home Run Happy: In addition to Chris Smith's home run, four other Lumberjacks went yard over the weekend. Kevin Croft, Steven Hill, Noel Trevino and Jared Pitts all hit roundtrippers for SFA, bringing the Lumberjacks' team home run total to 62, more than double the number of home runs hit in 2006.
Batting .500: Last weekend, Kevin Croft put together a .500 batting average. In three games played at Texas State, he was 4-for-8 with three of the hits coming on Sunday in a 3-for-3 performance with three RBI and two runs scored. Croft hit a two-run home run early in Sunday's game.
Double Up: Junior shortstop Jeff Brewer had five hits at Texas State last week, three of which were doubles. He scored four runs, including three in Sunday's 11-0 win. In the same game, he had two hits with two RBI. For the week, Brewer hit .417 with five RBI.
Watch Lists: Lumberjack first baseman Steven Hill has been named to two watch lists for national player of the year awards. He was named to the Dick Howser Trophy list and just last week, he was named to the "Wallace Watch" for the Brooks Wallace Award. Hill and Sam Houston State's Bobby Verbick are the only two Southland Conference players on the Howser watch list while Lamar's Michael Ambort joins the duo on the Wallace Watch.
Nationally Ranked: The Lumberjacks have left their mark on the national rankings in three different categories this season. Steven Hill is making a steady climb through the top five home run hitters. Currently, he is ranked second in the nation with 21, five behind Texas' Kyle Russel who is leading with 26. Hill is also ranked in the top 10 for home runs per game. Hill's numbers have also helped the team land 14th for home runs per game. Hill is also ranked among the top 10 for RBI per game and in the top 15 in slugging percentage.
Up Next: SFA heads to Norman, Okla., for its first Monday night game this season. After having the season opener at Texas Tech cancelled due to snow, the Lumberjacks were able to schedule a contest with the Sooners for their 56th game. The Lumberjacks will then come back to Nacogdoches to wrap up the 2007 regular season against the Sam Houston State Bearkats in a rare Thursday - Saturday series. The games on Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18, will begin at 3 p.m. while the final game is slated for 1 p.m. Prior to Saturday's game, the Lumberjacks' first senior class since the return of baseball will be honored.