Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oliver Earns National Nomination; Wildcats Ready for Regional

On the verge of a record setting season already the ACU baseball team has shown they are not satisfied with another LSC Title. While earning the right to play in this weekend’s South Central Regional in Warrensburg, Missouri is an honor it is still not the goal for these Wildcats.

Just one win shy of their 47th win this season which would tie them for the most in a single season by a Wildcat team is also just another record. A single win or even two wins would be nice, however ACU is looking for not just four more wins which would equal a Regional Championship. Lucky number eight is a more accurate number for the Wildcats which would give them the Regional Title and a National Title.

A return to the College World Series would mark the first trip for ACU since 2003 and only the second in school history. While mentioning earlier pitching and defense being key to post-season victories ACU fares well nationally ranking No. 2 in fielding percentage only second to UC-San Diego. A lethal combination up the middle with Willie Uechi and Chris Hall put the Wildcats in the top 10 in double plays turned. And not giving out free bases has been key where the Wildcats rank No.13 in walks allowed per nine innings.

Considering baseball teams that are strong up the middle the ACU can make a claim to be considered. With Uechi and Hall at second base and shortstop, Aaron Oliver has been arguably better in his perch in centerfield.

Oliver was nominated by Ping! Baseball this week for the Tino Martinez Award. (Given to the top Division II baseball player read more here) While he has kept up with the nation’s offensive leaders: 27th in runs scored, 14th in hits, 27th in doubles, and 17th in total bases, Oliver does more to help spark ACU. His speed in the outfield has helped the corner outfield positions to cover the line more consequently taking away not just more base hits, but extra base hits as well.

Another example of Oliver breaking a game open needs to look no further than last Tuesday in the LSC Championship game with Angelo State. A breaking ball to Cameron Bankston in the seventh inning was blocked almost perfectly by ASU catcher Chris Adamson, with the exception of losing sight of the ball. Without hesitation Oliver broke home and slid in safely under Adamson’s nose breaking a 4-4 tie.

Be sure to follow ACU as they open play Thursday at 12 p.m. against St. Mary’s in the South Central Regional Tournament. All the action can be heard on AM 1280 or follow live stats here

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