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UWA baseball gets national ranking

LIVINGSTON — Following a 4-2 start against nationally-ranked competition, the University of West Alabama baseball team has broken into the Collegiate Baseball Magazine Division II Top 25 Poll. The Tigers made a jump from receiving votes the previous week to being ranked 18th in the nation.

UWA opened the season by taking 2-of-3 from Southern Arkansas. The Tigers swept a doubleheader 8-6 and 6-0 before dropping a hard-fought 2-1 decision. West Alabama then welcomed Columbus State to Livingston, and after dropping the opener 13-6, proceeded to take a pair of thrillers 5-4 and 3-2.

“I am very proud of the start we have had, and am pleased that our team has finally received the recognition that they have worked so hard to achieve,” said Head Coach Gary Rundles. “We do realize that it is early in the season, and we must continue to work hard if we want to achieve the goals we have set for 2004.”

A.J. Ray is currently leading the Tiger offense with a .440 batting average and three doubles. Teammate Rafael Farrell is not far behind, hitting .417, while Brandon Boles has a .409 average to go along with four extra-base hits and a team leading nine RBI.

True freshman Ryne Lawson (1-1) is leading a strong West Alabama rotation with a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings of work. Transfer Ryan Taylor has won both of his starts and has a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings of work.

The Tigers continue play on Wednesday when Miles College comes to Livingston for a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader.