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Rams rank nationally with 9-2 record

Clean sweep: Rams 3-0 against Southeastern Oklahoma State

By Stephen Cogan
On February 23, 2012

  • Sophomore pitcher/infielder Jake Feckley hits the balls for a single. Danny Meyer

The Ram baseball team is off to a hot start with a three-game sweep of Southeastern Oklahoma State to make their record 9-2 and earned their first national rank for this year.

The NCAA Division II Baseball Poll ranked ASU No. 24 in the nation, which recognizes them as a contender going forward into 2012.

The Rams' sweep of Southeastern Oklahoma State included scores of 5-0, 4-3, and 8-2.

"We were ready to play from the first pitch on Friday to the last one here today," head coach Kevin Brooks said. "Not very many teams can come into Durant and leave with a sweep. It is a good accomplishment, but we still feel like we have a lot of room for improvement."

Senior shortstop Zach Cohen made his debut this series after missing the first eight games because of a foot injury.

Cohen gained an RBI for each game of the series to give him three on the year with seven defensive assists.

"Just his presence out there on the field makes a huge difference in terms of how our team goes," Brooks said. "He's not at full speed, but he did some good things at the plate and played good defense for us."

The Rams have transformed themselves from being 25-23 last year into contenders in 2012 with 19 new players and dominant performances from their pitching rotation.

Starting pitchers Jake Feckley, Rick Reyna, and James Conlee have season ERAs of 1.98, 2.12, and 2.84 respectively with a combined 5-1 record.

Reyna and Conlee have improved from last year, when they posted ERAs of 6.75 and 4.53 respectively.

Feckley, a sophomore transfer from Texas A&M, pitched a perfect game until junior designated hitter Riley Keith hit a single to break it up.

"I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes in any count and was able to keep them off balance," Feckley said. "Our defense played great throughout the game and backed me up. I was really confident in our defense and really felt relaxed on the mound knowing that they were behind me. I was going out there and not backing down from anyone."

Feckley was named Lone Star Conference's pitcher of the week for his performance.

Over 11 games, the Rams have scored a total of 75 runs, have a team batting average of .311 and a slugging percentage of .417.

Catcher Andrew LaCombe has a batting line of .389/.476/.611.

LaCombe has 14 hits, 11 RBIs, and two home runs over 36 at-bats.

"He does a great job of controlling the game by working with our pitchers and calling a good game," Brooks said. "He's a captain for a reason and he delivered some big hits for us."

Another standout is junior catcher Quaid McKinnon, a transfer from Paradise Valley Community College and leads the Rams in batting average with .390 and has 16 hits with 11 RBIs.

All of this contributes to the best record of any baseball team in ASU history through 11 games.

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