The #17 ranked Texas Wesleyan Rams (15-9, 2-1 SAC) head north to take on #10 ranked Oklahoma City Stars (12-7, 0-0 SAC) in a huge Sooner Athletic Conference Matchup. This top 25 showdown was set as the NAIA ball big series of the week.
This series is set to begin on Friday, March 6 and the first pitch will be at 4:00 PM. Saturday they will wrap up the series with a double header which will start at 1:00 PM with the second game to follow. All three games will be played at Jim Wade Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
History has been in favor of the Stars in recent years as they lead the series 18-8 dating back to 2013.
What To Know About Texas Wesleyan:
The Rams come into this series having lost their last two games and look to get back on track. Last weekend Texas Wesleyan took care of business winning the series over Southwestern Christian. The Rams are coached by head coach Bobby Garza, who is now in his third season as the head coach and previously spent four seasons as the assistant coach. His assistant is Kelly Shoppach who is now in his fourth season with the Rams.
Texas Wesleyan comes into this series with the offense hitting .309 as a team and are scoring 7 runs per contest on the season. The offense for the Rams is led by Joaquin Ballesteros who is hitting .397 with 1 home run and 13 RBI’s. Ballesteros has connected for 6 doubles on the season and has put together 31 hits which leads the Rams early in the season. Tanner Amaral is currently hitting .387 and has connected for 8 home runs. Michael Higgins is hitting .383 for the Rams and has hit a team high 9 home runs. Higgins also leads the Rams in RBI as he currently has 25 on the season, including 13 over the last five games.
The Rams pitching staff currently has a team ERA of 4.41 and opponents are hitting .261 against the arms of Texas Wesleyan. The leader for the Rams pitching staff has been Gabriel Sequeira as he is currently 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA and has struckout 64 over his 34 innings pitched. Opponents hit just .182 on the season against Sequeira. Jesse Ramirez is 4-0 on the season with a 1.35 ERA and he has also collected 1 save against LSU Alexandria. Ramirez has thrown 26.2 innings for the Rams and sat down 36 on the season via the strikeout. Josh Brown has been a reliable arm for the Rams as he is 3-0 on the season with a 1.32 ERA and is holding opponents to a .200 batting average. Brown has tallied 13.2 innings for Texas Wesleyan and has picked up 10 strikeouts over those innings.
Texas Wesleyan Head Coach Bobby Garza said “Should be another classic SAC contest between two great teams. Every pitch and at bat will be magnified. We look forward to competing against them.”
Rams Pitcher Jesse Ramirez said “I’m excited with how our team has been coming together. We are one cohesive unit, and more importantly we are having fun playing the game we love.”
What To Know About Oklahoma City:
The Stars come into this series on a 5 game win streak, including a 12-2 win over #13 ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan. This will be the Sooner Athletic Conference series opener for the Stars as they swept Bacone last weekend. The Stars are coached by Denney Crabaugh who is now in his thirty-first season with Oklahoma City and just recently hit the 1,500 victory earlier this season. He is assisted by Keith Lytle who is also in his thirty-first season with the Stars.
The offense for Oklahoma City is currently sitting at a .321 batting average as a team and they are averaging 9 runs per game. The Stars offense is led by Tyler Williams who is currently hitting .417 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI’s. His 10 home runs on the season puts him tied for third in the NAIA. Gunner Halter is hitting .397 and has added on 5 home runs with 15 RBI’s for the Stars. Halter has recorded a hit in every game but three for the Stars and has now picked up 6 hits over his last 3 games. Cross Factor is hitting .371 with 7 home runs and 32 RBI’s for Oklahoma City. Factor is currently ranked 8th in total RBI’s in the NAIA.
The Stars pitching staff currently has a 5.88 team ERA on the season and are holding opponents to a .270 batting average. The staff is lead by Aaron McGeorge, who is 3-0 with 3.91 ERA and has struckout 29 over his 25.1 innings of work for the Stars. McGeorge is holding opposing hitters to a .269 batting average on the season. Jake Patterson is 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA early in the season and opponents are hitting .312 on Patterson. He will be a big piece for the Stars if they are looking to come away with the win this weekend. Brandon Goldston is currently 3-2, has thrown 27 innings for the Stars and opposing teams are hitting .284 against him.
Oklahoma City Pitcher Jake Patterson said “It should be a fun weekend, two good teams that have played each other close the past couple seasons, should be a good challenge for both of us, looking forward to it.”
Special Guest Pickers:
Cody From @NAIABall on twitter
Pick: 2-1 Oklahoma City
“First and foremost our thoughts and prayers are with Texas Wesleyan’s Matthew Espinosa and Oklahoma City’s Caleb Davis as both players are battling cancer off the field. Unique situation this weekend where rivals understand baseball is bigger than a game.
I’m taking Oklahoma City to win the series 2-1. I like Texas Wesleyan to win the opener behind the arm of Gabriel Sequeria (1.85 ERA, 64 K). But look for Oklahoma City to rebound at home on Saturday in two close ball games to pull out the much needed series win.” ”
Robby Gutierrez from @NAIABall on twitter
Pick: 2-1 Texas Wesleyan