Stephen F. Austin vs Seattle University
Dates/Times: Friday, March 24th @ 5:00 p.m. / Saturday, March 25th @ 11:00 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Live Stream: ESPN+
Location: Nacogdoches, Texas
Field: SFA Softball Field
Series: SFA leads 2-0
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin baseball team is fresh off their first WAC series sweep this past weekend against California Baptist and a midweek matchup with Texas. The ‘Jacks are back at home for their second conference series of the season.
A Look at the Lumberjacks
The Lumberjacks head into the weekend with a conference sweep of CBU last weekend, and a tough midweek loss to Texas. SFA comes into this series with a 14-12 record (9-3 at home), while Seattle comes in with a 20-9 record.
Don’t let the record fool you, the Lumberjack bats aren’t one to be messed with. SFA is one of five teams hitting over .300 this season. With a little more help on the defensive side, the offense can take this team a long way.
SFA has two hitters with above a .300 batting average, Mackenzie Bennett is leading the team with a .338 average followed by Mikaelah Burkland with .320. Two others are on the cusp of passing the .300 mark; Camryn Middlebrook sits at .292 and Madison Nguyen has a .291 average.
Skip AdThe WAC Hitter of the Week, Bennett, went 7-13 (.538) overall including three home runs and one double. Bennett also recorded seven RBIs with five of them coming in games against CBU. Two of Bennett’s home runs came in the weekend sweep over CBU. Bennett currently leads the team with a .342 batting average and is second on the team with six home runs.
Gaby Garcia is another power hitter like Bennett, the starting catcher for the ‘Jacks leads the team with 8 of her 16 hits this season being home runs. She also has the second highest slugging percentage at .632 behind Bennet who has .716. If Bennett and Garcia are both locked in and seeing pitches well, they will be a problem for any pitching staff to face.
The pitching tandem of Brooke Gainous and Alexis Telford has been the bright spot in the Lumberjack’s bullpen. Gainous leads the team with four complete games pitched and has a 5-3 record. Two of those complete games came last week against PVAMU and CBU. In her last seven appearances, the ‘Jacks have won five of those games. Telford is a strikeout machine, she has 51 strikeouts already this season which is more than double of any other pitcher for SFA.
A Look at the Redhawks
Seattle U is off to a historic start this season, holding a record of 20-9 overall to mark the program’s best record through 29 games in their Division I history. The Redhawks have had three win streaks of five or more this season, marking six straight wins in a row from Feb. 11-18 and Mar. 5-12. Wins over Power Five opponents, Iowa State and Minnesota, highlight the non conference schedule as the Redhawks entered conference play last weekend 19-7.
Both wins over Iowa State and Minnesota were via a comeback, scoring in the seventh inning to capture the victories. Sydney Frankenberger was the hero against the Cyclones, walking it off with a two RBI double. Grace Luderer was stellar in the circle, striking out seven in a complete game effort.
Seattle U’s previous best 29 game opening stretch came during SU’s DII days, beginning the season 22-6-1 in 2008. With this incredible start, the ‘Jacks will have a difficult time slowing the roll this team is on. Seattle did lose two of their three matchups against Tarleton last weekend, which could make this a perfect time for SFA to capitalize.
Madison Kahwaty was the Redhawks’ top hitter over the past series, going five-for-six with three double, two walks and one RBI. The native of Livermore, California, leads the team in doubles (11) and ranks second in OPS (1.044), runs scored (22), RBIs (22) as well as tied for second in home runs (three). Kahwaty has the second most multiple RBI games (four) on the squad and is tied for second in longest recorded reached base streaks (13). The senior has hit hit third in the order every game, making all 29 starts at shortstop.