JACKSON, Tenn. - 4/14/2010 - The Union (Tenn.) University baseball program jumped from No. 17 to No. 12 in the latest NAIA baseball rankings. Union went 4-1 last week, including a series sweep over conference foe Lyon (Ark.) Union is now 28-9 on the season and 6-3 in the TranSouth. Union is just one game back of NAIA No. 2 Cumberland (Tenn.) in the conference standings.
Union is being led by a host of west Tennessee players. Corey Rudolph (Memphis) is hitting .427 with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 36 RBI. Clint Barnes (Bolivar) is hitting .370 with a team-high 24 stolen bases. Beau Baker (Martin) is hitting .370 with three home runs and a team-high 41 RBI. Danny Grimm (Jackson) is hitting .362 and is second on the team with 47 total hits. Alex Turner (Alabama), with a .375 average, is the only non-west Tennessee player among the top five hitters.
Eight of the nine offensive starters for Union are hitting at least .300, with the Josh Jones (Alabama) just outside at .297. However, Jones leads the team with seven home runs and is second with 36 RBI. Grant Luke (Alabama) at .347, David Maristany (Florida) at .328 and Kevin Kirksey (North Carolina) at .320 round out the offensive starters helping Union to their No. 12 ranking.
On the mound, local talent is standing out as well. Derek Copley (Dyer) has a 6-1 overall record and leads the team with a 3.11 ERA. Jared Davis (Jackson) is 7-0 as a freshman with a 4.04 ERA. Cody Dew (Halls) is 3-1 with most of his work coming in relief. Jeremy Stack (Jackson) is 1-2 as one of the three weekend starters for the Bulldogs, but missed his last start with an injury. Colin Hatch (Huntingdon) is 2-0 in eight appearances, mostly in relief.
Carl Harken (Iowa) is also 6-1 and has been the team’s ace for the past two seasons. Harken is one of only two Union pitchers not from west Tennessee. Kirksey (North Carolina), second on the teams with three saves, is the other. The staff also includes Benjie Fesmire (Jackson), Ross Garrett (Parsons), Brad Davis (Newbern) and Andrew Haley (Memphis) who have combined for three wins, four saves, 43 strikeouts in 29 appearances.
Union has won eight of their last 12 games. The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents 303-181 on the season and are averaging 8.2 runs per game. Union ranks No. 1 in the NAIA with a .978 fielding percentage and is No. 15 in the NAIA with a .350 team batting average.
Union plays at home this weekend versus TranSouth opponent Mid-Continent (Ky.) on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday at noon at Fesmire Field.
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Fax: (731) 661-5182