April 29, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

TERRIFIC TIGER: Top-ranked East Texas Baptist solidified its first American Southwest Conference East Division title since 2004 behind the stellar pitching of freshman Erin Garcia, who struck out nine batters in a complete-game shutout of No. 2 Louisiana College last week.

The right-hander from Navasota, Texas, posted a 2-0 record and a save last week, striking out 21 batters with one walk in 17.2 innings pitched.  Garcia also notched a complete-game shutout against Ozarks, and picked up a save in a 2-1 defeat of LeTourneau.  

Against Louisiana College, Garcia gave up just three hits as she collected her third win against a top five team this season. She was selected ASC East Pitcher of the Week for her outstanding play.

ETBU is the top-seeded team in the ASC Tournament, and will face the winner of Howard Payne and Texas-Tyler on May 1.

CLICKING ON ALL CYLINDERS:  Gustavus Adolphus shortstop Rachel Click led the Gusties to a perfect 6-0 week against Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foes as she exploded for five home runs and nine RBI on the week.

The senior from Rochester, Minn., batted .523 with a 1.173 slugging percentage, while becoming the school’s career home run leader (27) and RBI leader (155) during the week.  Click raised her batting average to .444, and was tapped Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III National Player of the Week for her accomplishments.

Click, who finished second in the MIAC in hitting last year by .001 with a .563 average, won the 2009 MIAC batting title with a .529 average. She also finished first in slugging percentage (1.216), on-base percentage (.594), RBI (27), home runs (10), total bases (62), and walks (11). Click has belted a school-record 12 home runs this season.

The No. 21 Gusties are the top seed in the MIAC Tournament, and will face Bethel in the first round on May 1.

STILL GOING:  Salisbury University extended its winning streak to 30 games with sweeps of Virginia Wesleyan and Washington (Md.) College last week as senior second baseman Stacey Malarkey continued her hot hitting.

Malarkey batted .500 with six runs scored and five RBI in four contests, including her team-leading 11th home run of the year against Washington on April 25.  The native of Taneytown, Md., also was hit by a pitch twice to bump her Division III-leading total to 16.  Malarkey was named Capital Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Week for her efforts after collecting her fourth All-CAC nod for her stellar play earlier last week.

Salisbury is the top-ranked team in the Atlantic Region and awaits the NCAA bracket announcement on May 4.  SU has already been chose to host the regional beginning May 7.

NOTABLE:  No. 7 UW-Whitewater upped its winning streak to 16 games with a doubleheader sweep of Elmhurst on April 28 as the Warhawks remained perfect at home with a 13-0 mark.  Jessica Stang, the reigning Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week, improved her season record to 17-1 with a 7-3 victory over the Bluejays in the second contest … Lynchburg College claimed its third straight Old Dominion Athletic Conference title with a 4-1 win over Eastern Mennonite last weekend … Ohio Northern junior Cortney Cash picked up her third Ohio Athletic Conference weekly award after compiling a 4-0 record and 1.08 ERA while helping the Polar Bears to the league’s regular season title last week.  Cash is 21-1 with a 1.72 ERA.  The No. 11 Polar Bears will host the OAC Tournament as the top seed beginning May 1.