Monday, February 19, 2018

LeTourneau opens 2018 baseball season on road

By Hayden Henry
Feb. 8, 2018 at 9:21 p.m.

LeTourneau's 2018 baseball season will open today with a three-game weekend series.

Five days later, the YellowJackets return home and, after one more non-conference game, jump right in to American Southwest Conference action.

Beginning today, LeTourneau will begin action at AirHogs Stadium, home of the American Association Texas AirHogs, in Grand Prairie. The 'Jackets open against Willamete University at 6 p.m., followed by a 2:30 p.m. first-pitch against Texas Lutheran on Saturday before closing the weekend against ASC opponent Hardin-Simmons at 1 p.m. on Sunday in a non-conference contest.

LeTourneau, who finished 9-28 a year go, was picked 14th in the ASC Preseason Baseball Poll with a total of 59 points and returns eight starters. Three-time defending ASC champion UT Tyler was picked No. 1 in the preseason poll, earning 21 of 26 first-place votes. UT Dallas was finished second, followed by Concordia.

Senior infielder Gonzalo Sosa and junior pitcher Andrew Harlan were named to the ASC Preseason Players to Watch list for LeTourneau, who opens its home schedule at 6 p.m., Feb. 16 against Centenary College at Conrad-Vernon Field.

Sosa, who picked up ASC honorable mention honors, led LeTourneau in batting average in 2017 with a .311 mark, adding 23 RBIs to his junior season.

Harlan leads what promises to be a deep rotation for the 'Jackets, after finishing with a 4.38 ERA and team highs in starts (12), innings pitched (72.0) and strikeouts (54).

Area player on LeTourneau's 2018 roster include juniors Will Bradshaw (Longview, IF/P) and Travis Melton (Tyler Lee, C). Sophomores include Haden Simmons (Elysian Fields, RHP/INF) and Curt Wells (Linden-Kildare, RHP/INF).

Making their collegiate debuts are freshmen David Herrington (Hallsville, P), Cade Molider (Hallsville, OF), Dustin Longhofer (Sabine, UTL), Kolbey Sharpe (Carthage, INF), Kolton Eberlan (Lufkin, RHP) and Weston McKinley (Lufkin Hudson, INF/OF).

Season highlights include a Feb. 17 contest against ETBU at home before the 'Jackets complete the two-game series on Feb. 19 in Marshall. LeTourneau has a six-game home stand beginning March 27 and closes the regular season at home against UT Tyler with a three-game set beginning on April 27.

(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)



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