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Baseball Team Makes Third Straight Playoff Appearance

April 23, 2009
By cnp
Posted in Athletics

Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks baseball team has advanced to the American Southwest Conference playoffs for the third straight season under head coach Jimmy Clark and will face Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas, in a three-game series April 24-25.

The Eagles (17-22, 9-9 ASC) will be the No. 4 seed from the ASC East Division and will take on the West Division champion Bulldogs (28-12, 16-5 ASC). The best-of-three series will begin Friday with game one at 2:00 p.m. Game two on Saturday will start at 11:00 a.m., with game three, if necessary, to follow 30 minutes after game two. The winners from the four, best-of-three series will advance to the championship round, a double elimination format to be held May 1-3 at the site of the top remaining East Division seed. The ASC champion will earn the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship. All Ozarks’ playoff games can be heard at and locally on KXIO 106.9 FM. Live stats will be available on TLU’s web site.

“Making the playoffs was one of our goals at the beginning of the year,” said Clark. “The reality is with all of the injuries we had, getting into the playoffs shows the character of our guys. We have won several come from behind games this season, probably more than any other year since I’ve been here. This team will battle. Some of our players are healthy now, and I am hoping we can go over there and scratch out some wins. I am proud of how the guys have continued to play hard.”

Texas Lutheran is among the top teams in the ASC, as they have won seven division titles in the past nine seasons. The Eagles dropped a 8-7 decision to the Bulldogs in a first round playoff game in 2007.

“Texas Lutheran is good on the mound, they swing the bat up and down the lineup and they play outstanding defense,” said Clark. “It will be a challenge. If we pitch the ball well, we will have a chance to win. Todd Koch will need to throw well in game one, and we have to get Bruce Cameron healthy. Guys out of the pen will have to perform. We haven’t had our hitters going all at once yet, and it would be nice for that to come together now. We are a veteran club and these guys will be ready. I don’t think we will beat ourselves.”

Texas Lutheran has six starters hitting above .300, including Jeremy Macklin, who is batting a team-best .471. Macklin is the team leader in numerous offensive categories, including RBI (65). Macklin is also the team leader in ERA (1.53) in 29.1 innings of work. The Bulldogs are fourth in both team batting (.329) and team pitching (5.23 ERA) among ASC schools.

Ozarks is hitting .289 as a team, placing them 13th in the ASC this season. The pitching staff has a 7.33 ERA, tenth-lowest in the conference. Five starters on the club are hitting above .300, with Jeremy Hogan owning a team-best .354 average. Hogan is the team-leader in home runs (11) and RBI (43).

ASC Notes: This is the 13th year of the ASC baseball tournament, with the West Division producing the ASC champion 11 times. The only East team to prevail was Mississippi College in 2003. The hosting rights for the Championship Round rotate each year between each division’s top remaining seed.

(Best-of-3 Series; Winners advance to Championship Round)
April 24-25 (Friday-Saturday)

[East #4] Ozarks (17-22) @ [West #1] Texas Lutheran (28-12)
Katt-Isbel Field/Seguin, Texas
Game 1: Friday, 2 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 11 a.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): Saturday, 30 minutes after Game 2

[West #3] McMurry (24-15) @ [East #2] Texas-Tyler (32-8)
Irwin Field/Tyler, Texas
Game 1: Friday, 6 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): Saturday, 30 minutes after Game 2

[East #3] Texas-Dallas (25-15) @ [West #2] Hardin-Simmons (24-16)
Hunter Field/Abilene, Texas
Game 1: Friday, 6 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): Saturday, 30 minutes after Game 2

[West #3] Mary Hardin-Baylor (22-15) @ [East #1] Mississippi College (23-14)
Frierson Field/Clinton, Mississippi
Game 1: Friday, 6 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): Saturday, 30 minutes after Game 2

(Double Elimination)
May 1-3 (Friday-Saturday-Sunday)
Hosted by East Division’s Top Remaining Seed (Times TBA)