Ladies Adjust Weekend Schedule with Southern Utah
Thursday, April 12, 2007


SHREVEPORT—The Centenary softball team welcomes Southern Utah to Shreveport for a three-game Mid-Continent Conference series this weekend. Originally scheduled for a single game at 6 p.m. on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday, the teams will now play two games on Friday beginning at 3:30 p.m. and the series finale will be a single contest on Saturday at 11 a.m. The changes were made in an effort to get more games in before inclement weather reaches the Ark-La-Tex area Friday evening.


Centenary (18-17, 3-0 Mid-Con) will be playing in only its second Mid-Con series as both of its road trips at Western Illinois and IUPUI were cancelled due to bad weather. The Ladies saw their five-game win streak snapped at the hands of North Louisiana rival Louisiana Tech last week in a 6-4 loss in Ruston before dropping their following contest 8-0 to Texas-Arlington Wednesday night.


The Ladies rank second in the Mid-Con in seven different major offensive categories including hits, runs, RBI, and stolen bases. However, Southern Utah ranks first in the league in all of the same categories except stolen bases.


Centenary’s Emerald Doria is fourth in the conference with a .352 average heading into this week and she also sits among the top five in on base percentage (2nd - .462), runs scored (5th – 21), hits (4th – 31), and walks (2nd – 18). Teammate Micah Rhodes is fifth in the Mid-Con with 20 RBI and Allison Shepperd ranks second in doubles (9) and fifth in total bases (53).


Southern Utah (16-21, 3-3 Mid-Con) brings its high-powered offense, geared for the thin air of Utah, to Centenary clicking on all cylinders. The Thunderbirds have belted a league best 38 homeruns, 23 more than UMKC, who sits second with 15 dingers.


The Thunderbirds are led by the experienced trio of Marci Pratt, Lindi Kennedy, and Erin Niederhauser. Consisting of two seniors (Pratt and Niederhauser) and a junior (Kennedy), the group collectively leads 10 Mid-Con offensive categories. They also combine for 22 of Southern Utah’s 38 homeruns while senior Bobbi Jo Merrill contributes eight more long balls to the count.


The pitching staff match up looks to be almost even as both clubs team ERA hovers around 4.00. Centenary’s freshman rotation of Kelsey Greeson (6-6, 3.86 ERA), Stacy Whitmer (7-6, 4.94 ERA), and Ryan Thacker (5-5, 4.05 ERA) share the load evenly while Southern Utah relies on senior Marissa Gonzalez (8-6, 3.50 ERA) and newcomer Kristina Brooks (6-11, 4.14 ERA).


The major difference between the Ladies and the Thunderbirds can be found in the field. Defensively, Centenary has committed only 31 errors on the season leading to 12 unearned runs while Southern Utah has allowed 43 unearned runs on a whopping 60 errors.  


Southern Utah took two out of three games in a road series at Valparaiso in their last Mid-Con weekend. Prior to that, the Thunderbirds lost two out of three at home to Oakland.


Centenary is undefeated at home in league play after sweeping its three-game set with UMKC two weeks ago.