From SFA Athletics
LEADOFF HITS• The only Southland Conference squad without a league loss thus far in 2019, SFA wraps up a four-game road trip by heading northeast to Conway, Ark., for a three-game conference series at Central Arkansas.• The league-leading 'Jacks open the series at 6:00 p.m. Friday evening at Bear Stadium which marks the first meeting between the two clubs in nearly three full years.• Fans hoping to see some big-time offensive numbers may be out of luck this weekend. The 'Jacks and Bears possess the two best pitching staffs in terms of Southland Conference ERA through the first two weeks of league play. SFA's staff boasts a league-best 1.17 ERA in Southland tilts while the Bears' pitchers have posted an ERA of 1.23 in Southland action.• SFA's four-game winning streak is the lengthiest for the team this season. It's also the longest since the 'Jacks strung together five straight triumphs from March 21-27, 2018.
SERIES HISTORY | SFA vs. Central ArkansasRecord vs. UCA | 19-14 (.576)Streak | SFA won oneIn Nacogdoches, Texas | 10-8 (.556)Streak | UCA won fourIn Conway, Ark. | 7-5 (.583)Streak | UCA won threeAt neutral sites | 2-1 (.667)Streak | SFA won oneLast meeting | SFA 10, UCA 4 (5/27/16)SFA runs/per game | 206/6.2UCA runs/per game | 202/6.1Last UCA win | at UCA 5, SFA 4 (3/13/16)Last SFA win | SFA 10, UCA 4 (5/27/16)
SCOUTING CENTRAL ARKANSAS | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS• Scoring runs on the Bears has been a daunting task for opponents this season as Central Arkansas boasts one of the Southland's best pitching staffs. The Bears lead the 13-team league and rank among the top 40 nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.00), WHIP (1.26) and walks allowed per nine innings (3.06).• Friday night starter Cody Davenport has emerged as one of the Southland's best arms through the early stages of the season. In five starts the senior has put forth a 1-1 record and owns a 1.20 ERA. Fourteen of his team-high 31 strikeouts have come in Southland action where he possesses a 0.60 ERA and a .175 BAA. • Saturday's pick to start for the Bears, Noah Cameron captured the title of Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week Monday afternoon after racking up 13 strikeouts in a complete game win over Nicholls. The freshman lefty is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in Southland games and as a whole the Bears' staff has totaled 195 punchouts against just 65 walks in 191 1/3 frames of work.• In Southland action, UCA's pitching staff possesses an ERA of 1.23 - the second-best in the league behind SFA. • At the plate the Bears are led by the trio of Jay Anderson (.327/.417/.449), Beau Orlando (.310/.468/.379) and Josh Ragan (.288/.333/.470). Orlando and Ragan are tied for the team lead with 12 RBI while Anderson has 11 to his credit. Together they have accounted for 35 of the team's 76 RBI - or 46.1-percent of the Bears' total.
LAST TIME OUT | SFA at PRAIRIE VIEW A&M• Freshman infielder Carson Clowers capped a four-run SFA sixth with an RBI single and senior infielder Manny Vasquezbroke a 5-5 tie in the seventh by coming up with an RBI single of his own in SFA's 8-5 comeback win at Prairie View A&M Tuesday evening. • Clowers went 2-for-3 at the dish for the first multi-hit game of his collegiate career. Jared Martin also added two hits for the 'Jacks who won a Tuesday game for the first time this season. • Senior left-hander Cody Adams (2-0) got the win by tossing one frame and senior Tyler Starks came on and fired a scoreless ninth to notch his third save of the season. Starks now has 16 saves in his career - the third-highest total in program history.
THE STREAK CONTINUES• By going 1-for-4 Tuesday night at Prairie View A&M, senior infielder Manny Vasquez extended his team-leading hitting streak to eight games. • During his streak, Vasquez has turned in four of his six doubles on the year and two of his three home runs. Over his last five games, Vasquez is batting .316/.381/.632 and has come up with four of SFA's 20 RBI during that stretch. Vasquez leads the team in extra-base hits (nine), doubles (six) and home runs (three).• This year, Vasquez has become the toughest player to strike out in the Southland. He fans just once every 13.7 at-bats which is the 31st-best ratio in all of NCAA Division I baseball.
STARTING SOUTHLAND STRONG• With six wins through its first six Southland Conference games, the 'Jacks have tied the program mark for the best start to league play. SFA also opened up Southland play 6-0 in 2010 and 2011.• Last weekend SFA bookended its sweep of Houston Baptist with a pair of shutout victories - 6-0 on Friday night and 1-0 on Saturday afternoon - and gave up only two runs over the three-game set against the Huskies. Those two runs are the fewest given up by SFA in a three-game Southland series in program history. • SFA's two shutout wins against the Huskies represent the second-highest total of Southland shutouts tossed by the 'Jacks in a single season. In 2013, 2011 and 2007 SFA finished with a program-best three shutout wins in Southland play.• Alex Palmer started the series with a 10-strikeout performance through seven innings of action. Those 10 punchouts upped his season total to 44 which are the most by any pitcher in the Southland Conference and the 14th most in the nation. The junior picked up the win, improving to 2-1 on the year and 2-0 in Southland play. In his two Southland starts, Palmer owns a 0.60 ERA, a .137 BAA and has fanned 19 through 15 innings of work.
NOT SPARING THE ROD• Junior right-hander Jeremy Rodriguez owns one of the highest usage rates in college baseball thus far in 2019. Rodriguez has made a team and Southland Conference high 12 pitching appearances on the season which ranks as the seventh-most in the nation. • He has posted a team-high four of the 'Jacks' 11 saves while striking out 14 batters in 17 2/3 innings of work. Those four saves are the third-most in the Southland and the 38th-most in the nation.
MOVING 'EM OVER• Making the right plays at the right time has allowed the 'Jacks to start Southland Conference strong. One area in which SFA has excelled is in terms of moving runners into scoring position with sacrifice bunts. • The 'Jacks have 13 of them to their credit this season - the fourth-highest total in the Southland and the 39th-most in the nation. • Individually, it's senior Antonio Lima who has notched the most of them. His four sac bunts are the second-most in the Southland and the 34th-most among all NCAA Division I baseball players.
SPEED KILLS• Injured for the tail end of the 'Jacks' 2018 season, senior outfielder Nick Daley is back in action for 2019 and has provided SFA with a great deal of speed on the base paths. • For his career, Daley has racked up 28 stolen bases which stands as the eighth-most in program history. This season, his seven swipes lead the team and are the fourth-most in the Southland.
OUR 'PEN IS MIGHTIER• In the late innings of games, SFA has found a great deal of success with its bullpen arms this season. • Through 22 games, SFA has accumulated 11 saves which are tied for the seventh-most in a single season the history of the program.• In addition to Rodriguez' team-leading four saves, Jesus Gamez and Tyler Starks have totaled three each. Cully Mangusalso has one to his credit.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY• Unquestionably one of the biggest areas of improvement for the 'Jacks from 2018 to 2019 has been on the mound. • SFA's weekend rotation of Jaxon Covington, Alex Palmer and Jacob Stobart have already combined for six quality starts through the campaign thus far. This comes after the 'Jacks put forth just three quality starts through the 53-game 2018 season. • Covington, Palmer and Stobart have combined to produce a 2.72 ERA this season and 76 of the team's 184 strikeouts.
3M• Most of the 'Jacks' offensive power comes from the middle of their lineup off the bats of Jared Martin, Jordan Monacyand Sean Moore. Together, they have combined to drive in 38 of the team's 86 runs and each of them has at least 10 RBI to their credit. • Moore, a junior out of Waxahachie, Texas, leads the team in RBI (15) and batting average (.318) while Martin's slash line of .300/.385/.400 has helped him drive in 10 runs and makes him on of three 'Jacks who are batting .300 or better. • Monacy has driven in 13 runs and is tied with Martin for the team lead in walks with 11.
THE KID IS ALRIGHT• Through the first 21 games of his collegiate career, freshman outfielder Brandon Uhse has served as one of the best bats in the 'Jacks' lineup. The Grand Prairie, Texas, product is batting .301 and currently leads the club with 25 hits.