Southwest Tennessee Community College

May 2, 2006

For More Information, Contact: Keith Gentry (901) 333-4114/ (901) 619-1899 / Kimberly Kreider (901) 333-4023

Release written by Keith Gentry

The fifth-seeded Southwest baseball team will take on fourth-seed Dyersburg State in the opening round of the TJCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tennessee. The winner of the game will play the winner of the Walters State vs. Volunteer State/Jackson State game at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 7 while the losers will play at 1 p.m.

The Saluqis, under the direction of third-year Head Coach Johnny Ray, enter the tournament with a 32-21 overall record including 16-13 in conference play. Southwest is led by sophomore catcher Elvis Sosa, who set a new single season school record with 13 home runs and also leads the team in batting average (.409), runs batted in (48), and slugging average (.780). Sosa, a native of Puerto Rico who transferred to Southwest from Union University, was named TJCCAA Player of the Week twice this season.

Another player who has had an outstanding season is second baseman Preston Burleson, who returned to the team after a red-shirt season in 2005. Burleson is second on the team with a .387 batting average and leads the Saluqis with 43 runs, 67 hits, 20 doubles, a .470 on-base average, and has been hit-by-pitch a school-record 19 times.

Other top hitters for Southwest this season are sophomore centerfielder, Jon Thurston (.354 average, 31 RBI), freshman leftfielder, Corey Rudolph (.336 average, 42 RBI), freshman shortstop, Philip Gibson (.320 average, 28 RBI), and sophomore rightfielder, Brent Moss (.313, 31 RBI). Also starting for the Saluqis are freshman catcher/designated hitter, Josh Maurizi (.287 average, 13 RBI), sophomore first baseman, Matt Akin (.248 average, 24 RBI), and freshman third baseman Brooks Thornton (.214 average, 15 RBI).

Four sophomore pitchers have combined for 21 of the Saluqis’ 32 wins this season. Right-hander, Darren Wills, a recipient of the TJCCAA Pitcher of the Week this season, is 5-5 with a 4.68 earned run average and 60 strikeouts. The two other right-handers who were conference starters this season were Ivan Nails, who leads the staff with a 6-4 record and has struck out 45 batters and Jason Adams, who is 5-3 on the season with a team-leading 76 strikeouts. The fourth sophomore is left-handed spot-starter, Chris Crenshaw, who leads the team with a 2.94 ERA and a 5-0 record. Two other pitchers who have seen significant innings this season are sophomore right-hander Jeffrey Matlock (3-2 record, 5.68 ERA), and freshman right-hander Zac LaBarreare (4-3 record, 4.55 ERA, team-leading four saves).