Sunday, March 27, 2011

Diamond Cats Sweeping the Competition

RSU Baseball has kept brooms quite handy since the start of the season.

The Hillcats have swept victories away from the last five out of ten opposing teams while setting a new school record of 19 straight wins.

“We have the confidence now that we can play with anybody,” said junior catcher Lance Rymel. “With this strong start it just proves that we’re a really good team and all of our hard work has paid off from the off season.”

The early streak propelled the Cats to a solid third place standing in the Sooner Athletic Conference behind Oklahoma City and Oklahoma Baptist.

For head coach Ron Bradley’s ball club, favorable winning ratios will look to keep the Cats among the top seeds in the conference.

“This conference is so tough that you just feel like if you can win two out of three each weekend then you’re putting yourself in a situation where you’ve got a real good shot to go to the national tournament and that’s our goal,” said Bradley.

Earlier this month, the Diamond Cats traveled down to Texas winning two out of three games against No. 5 nationally ranked opponent Lubbock Christian. Bradley’s ball club repeated the same ratio during spring break claiming two 6-5 victories at home against Wayland Baptist.

RSU’s pitching staff has proven to be a driving force behind the Cats success.

The Cats are second in the conference with an earned run average of 3.45 percent.

Junior Tyler Garner earned SAC Pitcher of the Week for March 7-13 in the wins against LCU. The Poteau, Okla., native held the Chaps to three runs, one earned, on seven hits and two walks, while striking out six hitters. For the season, Garner holds a 4-0 record.

During the same period, Lance Rhymel received SAC player of the week. The Broken Arrow, Okla., native batted .500 for the week with five hits in 10 at bats with a home run, a double, four RBI and one run scored.

Going deeper into conference play the Cats are posing threats for teams in more ways than one.

Besides outstanding pitching, RSU is third in the SAC with a batting average of .340.

The Cats’ high speed offense ranks fifth in the nation in total stolen bases (78). Defensively, RSU is second in the conference allowing only 6.24 hits per game and 3.41 runs per game on average.

RSU baseball will look to keep their winning ratio alive as they square off in a three-game series against University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma beginning Mar. 31.


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