The Grand Canyon University baseball team begins its assault on the conference lead tomorrow, trying its best not to look past the next series of games.
With just eight conference games left on the schedule, the Antelopes (18-18, 13-11) are four games out of first place, but are just two games behind the PacWest leader, Dixie State, in the loss column. They’re on a roll, winning 12 of their last 18 games and ready to make the final push.
A critical four-game road series with Dixie State (24-13, 19-9) is coming up on April 21 & 22. But first, the ‘Lopes need to take care of business with Academy of Art in a pair of doubleheaders on the Knights’ home field in Oakland, Calif. The Knights occupy the cellar of the Pacific West Conference with a 4-16 record.
It will be a couple of local high school products that GCU will depend upon to pitch its way past both conference foes.
Cody Repenning is an imposing figure on the mound. The 6’6″ sophomore from Gilbert High School leads the pitching staff with a 3.78 ERA and has three complete games to his credit, the most of any ‘Lopes pitcher this year. And Brady Wager, a sophomore from Globe High School, ranks fourth in the conference with a 3.78 ERA and 4-4 mark in nine starts this season.
But GCU hasn’t gotten this far without some power at the plate. In fact, the ‘Lopes have six hitters ranked among the PacWest’s top 10 batting averages.
Leading the club is another local product, R.J. Etchebarren from Paradise Valley High School. The senior outfielder leads the club with a .385 batting average.
Kalab Evans, a junior catcher from Iowa, is right behind Etchebarren with a .382 average, and senior outfielder, Tyler Bair from Coronado High School in Scottsdale, is on a tear, hitting safely in his last nine games and posting a .338 average.
The ‘Lopes as a team have hit .383 over the last 18 games, winning 13 games with a 10 or more hits. Overall this season, they’re hitting .343, which is seventh-best in Division II.
They’re primed for a run at Dixie State – but can’t get caught looking past this weekend.
(Photo: GCU Athletics/Tim Koors)