Freshman fill holes in ‘Pack’s offense

Outfielders step up to lead at bat

Karson+Cullins+warms+up+to+bat+during+a+game+against+Judson+University+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+5+at+Sagnette+Field.+Cullins+has+no+errors+in+the+first+16+games+of+the+season
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Freshman fill holes in ‘Pack’s offense

Karson Cullins warms up to bat during a game against Judson University on Friday, Feb. 5 at Sagnette Field. Cullins has no errors in the first 16 games of the season

Karson Cullins warms up to bat during a game against Judson University on Friday, Feb. 5 at Sagnette Field. Cullins has no errors in the first 16 games of the season

Chika John/Staff Photographer

Karson Cullins warms up to bat during a game against Judson University on Friday, Feb. 5 at Sagnette Field. Cullins has no errors in the first 16 games of the season

Chika John/Staff Photographer

Chika John/Staff Photographer

Karson Cullins warms up to bat during a game against Judson University on Friday, Feb. 5 at Sagnette Field. Cullins has no errors in the first 16 games of the season

HASANI GRAYSON

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Loyola may have angels in the outfield.

As part of the small ball approach that places importance on speed, defense and high batting averages instead of power numbers, Loyola needed to find a solid lead-off man.

During the preseason workouts, Garrett Lacour, management freshman, impressed the coaching staff and has been finding a lot of playing time at the top of the lineup and in center field. “Garrett has played himself into the lineup so far,” said Gerald Cassard, head baseball coach.

One of the things that helped Lacour catch the attention of the coaching staff was his ability to spark the offense by getting on base. “Garrett has done a good job of getting on and setting the table for the middle of our order,” Cassard said. Lacour’s average currently sits at .256.

Lacour’s average experienced a severe drop after getting only one hit in nine official at-bats in the series last weekend against Christian Brothers University. Prior to that series, however, he had a batting average of .366.

Cassard also said that part of what has Lacour hitting at the top of the batting order is his patience at the plate and his speed. “He runs well and does a good job hitting deep in the count,” he said. Lacour has only attempted to steal twice but will likely be running more as the season goes on, according to Cassard.

One of the players that will be looking to drive Lacour in when he gets on base is business freshman Karson Cullins. Cullins, who has been finding most of the playing time in right field, is leading the team in batting averages with an average of .340. “His approach the last few weeks has been really good,” said Cassard. “Karson has great hands, and when he swings at balls in the strike zone, he’s a pretty good hitter.”

Cullins’ swing has also helped him drive in nine runs so far. The 16 hits he has accumulated to this point have him ranked 49th in all of the NAIA. “He has made the most of his opportunities to this point,” said Cassard.

Cullins and Lacour came in looking to make a good first impression on the coaching staff, but one Wolfpack outfielder had been impressing the coaches since last season. Marketing senior and starting left fielder Ryan Scott led the team with 45 RBI’s last year, and will be relied upon to provide some of the power numbers in the batting order. “Ryan has the ability to carry us on his back when he gets hot,” said Cassard. On a team that hit 18 home runs last season, Scott also lead the ‘Pack last season with four.

Cassard said he’s not looking for high home run totals to carry the team, saying, “We will hit for power, but that’s not really our strength. We need to continue hitting line drives and hard ground balls.”

The defense in the outfield, according to Cassard, is a bigger area of concern. “We still have a lot of room for improvement,” he said. “We must improve on our angles and work on our jumps on the baseball. Both are keys to us cutting down on scoring opportunities for our opponents.”

Hasani Grayson can be reached at

[email protected]

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