• Winners of 12 of its last 13 games, the Stephen F. Austin baseball team travels to the Arkansas capital city of Little Rock Tuesday night for a non-conference clash with the Trojans at 6:00 p.m. Senior left-hander Erik Nouis is set to make his seventh start of 2017 for the ‘Jacks while Little Rock will counter with first-year righty Carter Brown.
• SFA has been the victor in four of its first five contests in the month of April. That matches the program’s best start to the month of April. Both the 1985 and 2013 Lumberjacks squads won four of their first five games in April.
• Despite seeing their nine-game winning streak snapped in their midweek tilt at Louisiana Tech last week, the ‘Jacks are still the owners of two other impressive winning streaks. SFA has won 10 straight home games and that run started with a series-clinching 5-2 triumph over Little Rock back on March 12. Additionally, the ‘Jacks are in the midst of a nine-game winning streak in Southland Conference play after their recent sweep of Northwestern State at Jaycees Field last weekend. It’s the first nine-game Southland Conference winning streak in program history and also marks the first time that SFA has swept three league series in a row.
• Avoiding the strikeout while at the plate has been one of the keys of SFA’s success this season as has dealing the strikeout for the ‘Jacks’ pitching staff.
• As a team, SFA has whiffed 166 times through its 34 games. That’s the lowest team strikeout total in the 13-team Southland Conference by 21 and the ‘Jacks are one of just two teams in the league who have struck out less than 200 times in 2017.
• On the hill, there isn’t a pitching staff in the Southland Conference that has accumulated more punchouts than SFA’s. Lumberjack hurlers have amassed a league-high 280 strikeouts and the squad’s strikeouts per nine innings pitched number of 8.5 leads the Southland Conference and ranks 66th nationally.
• Senior Conner Fikes has struck out only six times in 2017, making the Rowlett, Texas, product the seventh-hardest player to strike out in all of NCAA Division I baseball.
PLAYING THE FIELD
• A sure-handed defensive squad, the ‘Jacks rank second in the Southland Conference with a team fielding percentage of .976.
• Another way the ‘Jacks have been keeping the runs off the board has been by turning their fair share of double plays. SFA’s 30 double plays are tied for the second-most in the Southland Conference.
LEDET CLIMBS THE CHARTS
• By delivering a seven-inning outing on the hill in SFA’s 5-2 win over Northwestern State Saturday afternoon, senior lefty Patrick Ledet earned the 13th win of his career. That moves him into a tie for sixth place all-time in program history in terms of pitching wins.
• His six strikeouts pushed his career total to 143 – the fifth-most strikeouts by any SFA baseball player in the history of the program. In terms of innings pitched, Ledet has logged 185.2 in his SAF career, putting him in seventh place in that category in the ‘Jacks’ record book.
• Ledet’s 38 strikeouts in 2017 lead the team and are the 12th-most among all Southland Conference arms this season.
RECORD vs. LITTLE ROCK | 11-10 (.524)
STREAK | SFA won one
IN NACOGDOCHES | 6-6 (.500)
STREAK | SFA won one
IN LITTLE ROCK, ARK. | 5-3 (.625)
STREAK | SFA won two
LAST GAME | at SFA 5, Little Rock 2 (3/12/17)
SFA RUNS | PER GAME | 259 | 4.1
LITTLE ROCK RUNS | PER GAME | 301 | 4.8
LAST LITTLE ROCK WIN | 3/11/17 • 8-3
LAST SFA WIN | 3/12/17 • 5-2
SCOUTING LITTLE ROCK | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS
All but two of the Trojans’ 12 wins in 2017 have occurred at Gary Hogan Field and it will be at that facility on Tuesday night that Little Rock tries to win a third-straight game. The Trojans took care of Texas State in the final two games of the Sun Belt series between the two squads to earn their first 2017 series win in conference play.
Heading into Tuesday’s non-conference battle with the ‘Jacks, Little Rock ranks fourth in the Sun Belt in both batting average (.276) and slugging percentage (.412). The Trojans are second in the league with 59 doubles and of those two-baggers most have come off the bats of Hunter Owens and Dalton Thomas. Those two Little Rock regulars are both batting at a clip north of .320 with Owens’ mark of .381 leading the squad. He has amassed 48 hits, driven in 30 runs and crossed home plate 26 times – all of which are team-best numbers.
Thomas has totaled 12 doubles and is tied with Owens for the team lead in extra-base hits (16). Opponents of the Trojans have not been afraid to try and steal bases, making 56 total attempts in 2017 so far. Little Rock’s team ERA of 4.57 ranks eighth in the Sun Belt and the Trojans’ staff has racked up some 274 strikeouts – the fourth-most among all Sun Belt squads.
COMING UP NEXT
Two of the top three teams in the Southland Conference standings are set to duke it out in a three-game series at Jaycees Field when the ‘Jacks get a visit from their longtime Piney Woods rivals Sam Houston State. The Bearkats come to Nacogdoches with a 23-9 record that includes a perfect 12-0 showing in Southland Conference play. First pitch in the opening game between the ‘Jacks and Bearkats has been set for 3:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon.