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Rams look to bash losing streak against Southern Arkansas University

Baseball opens at home in upcoming games

Staff Writer

Published: Friday, February 8, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 16:02

RamsBaseball

Photo by Rio Velasquez

Rams baseball is off to a hot start with a 4-0 record after sweeping Oauchita Baptist over the weekend.


The Rams’ best start in program history is 6-0 and in 2012, the Rams tied that record before losing to Southern Arkansas.


The Rams open at home this Friday against Southern Arkansas, but this time, Head Coach Kevin Brooks thinks the Rams might break their 0-4 career record against the Muleriders.

In three of the four games the Rams have faced against the Muleriders, they have faced Doug Shields, a right-handed pitcher who flat-out dominated them including six shutout innings last year.


“That’s the main thing,” Brooks said. “[Shields is] not on the mound which is good.”

The Rams don’t face a Lone Star Conference opponent for another month, so these games are basically tune-up games right?

Wrong!

At least that’s what Coach Brooks thinks.


“These games are way more important,” Brooks said. “Way more important than a Lone Star Conference game; what does winning the conference get you?”


Brooks answered his rhetorical question by saying, “That doesn’t get you to regional’s.”


Brooks, of course, is referring to the regional tournament bracket for the NCAA D-II College World Series.


Brooks said that in order to automatically qualify, you have to win your conference championship to get a berth in the regional’s portion of the tournament.


Brooks said winning the conference (having the best record) just means that your team gets to host the conference tournament; it doesn’t guarantee anything.


Brooks said he learned quickly after the Rams had won the conference no. 1 seed early in his tenure here at ASU and then they lost the conference tournament they hosted.


“I know the common fan does not grasp that, but you have to win the conference tournament to go to regional’s and just because you win all your conference games does not mean you’ll make regional’s” Brooks said.


Brooks has his eyes circled and honed in on winning a College World Series Championship, so the Lone Star Conference is a cupcake compared to the ten-layer chocolate covered ice cream cake that is the World Series.


Since Southern Arkansas is ranked 11th and the Rams are ranked 14th, they are two teams in the Top 25 going at each other’s throats and Brooks wants to win games against nationally ranked opponents that can help his team’s standings down the road.


As for the team, Brooks said he thought they played very well this weekend and had strong pitching that was similar to last year’s strong start.


Brooks’ right hand man and assistant coach John Anderson agreed with Brooks and said that he saw other things that this team has this year that they also had last year.


“Enjoyment of the game and work ethic are the two things outside of physical things that are really consistent with last year,” Anderson said.


Anderson said Southern Arkansas is a quality team that the Rams are going to have to outplay and avoid errors  in order to win a ball game against a team that close or equal in talent level to the Rams.


If senior catcher Andrew LaCombe has anything to do about it, the score won’t be close.


The team captain won Lone Star Conference Hitter of the Week after exploding over the weekend against Ouachita Baptist.


LaCombe tormented opposing pitchers; scorching them for five hits that scored 11 runs including seven in the team’s 16-6 blowout win.


LaCombe tied a team record of seven RBIs in a single game as well.


We’ll see what he and the rest of the Rams will do at home on Friday against Southern Arkansas at Colts Stadium at 3 p.m.

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