March 14, 2011
Complete Release and Updated Statistics
Four Conference USA schools enter this week winning at a .733 clip or better. Included is No. 22 Tulane, whose last four victories have come against nationally-ranked opponents to raise its record to 11-4. UCF leads Conference USA with a 13-3 record, followed by Southern Miss at 11-3 and East Carolina at 11-4, along with Tulane.
HITTER OF THE WEEK
B.A. VOLLMUTH, SOUTHERN MISS
Junior, SS, Biloxi, Miss.
Vollmuth belted three home runs in the Golden Eagles' sweep of Missouri State, including two monstrous shots in the series opener and a three-run blast in Saturday's contest. He now leads the team with five round-trippers for the season. Five of Vollmuth's six hits during the series were for extra bases as his slugging percentage for the week was 1.214. He drove in at least two runs in all three games, finishing the weekend with eight RBI. Vollmuth had multiple hits in each contest, added five runs scored and also walked once.
PITCHERS OF THE WEEK
ARIK SIKULA, MARSHALL
Senior, RHP, South Charleston, W. Va.
Sikula produced two outstanding starts during the week, suffering a tough-luck 1-0 loss at No. 6 Virginia before shutting down the Ohio offense to earn his first win of the season in a complete-game victory. On Tuesday against the sixth-ranked Cavaliers, Sikula allowed one unearned run over six innings, while scattering six hits (all singles) and striking out two. He followed that performance in dominant fashion by recording a career-high 10 strikeouts against Ohio in a seven-inning, two-hit appearance. For the week, Sikula finished with a perfect 0.00 ERA, allowing just one earned run over 13 innings. The senior only gave up eight hits over the two outings, which were all singles, and tallied 12 punchouts to five walks.
CONRAD FLYNN, TULANE
Senior, RHP, Midland, Texas
Flynn picked up his first win since April 2, 2010 on Friday night with a masterful performance against No. 19 Wichita State. The senior didn't walk a batter and faced just four batters over the seven-inning minimum. He allowed just one runner past second base in the contest and retired the side in order in four innings, including the Green Wave's first pick off of a base runner of the year in the fourth. It marks the 14th time in 32 career series-opening starts that Flynn issued no walks in a game.
East Carolina was 4-1 last week, allowing a total of 11 runs in the five outings. On Saturday, the Pirates posted a 5-0 shutout over Rutgers, the team's fourth shutout of the young season. The four blankings are the most since 2006 when ECU threw six shutouts. Junior RHP Mike Wright struck out six without allowing a walk in seven innings for his third win of the year. The Pirates did not allow a walk vs. Rutgers, the second time this season they did not issue a free pass. ECU has walked just 32 batters in 135 innings pitched this year, while posting a league-best 1.87 ERA. Senior RHP Seth Simmons recorded his third save of the season and 23rd of his career against Monmouth after working two-thirds of an inning with a punch out. He picked up his first win of the year and ninth of his career against Campbell (3/8), tossing three innings of scoreless relief allowing one hit, one walk and fanning six. Currently, he boasts a team-best 0.00 ERA surrendering just three hits in nine frames with 14 strikeouts and three walks. Opponents are hitting just .107 against him. Freshman IF Jack Reinheimer had a productive week, driving in a pair of game-winning RBI. His RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against High Point propelled the Pirates, 5-4, while his two-RBI single in the fourth against Rutgers proved to be the game-winner in a 5-0 win.
The Cougars had a tough 1-3 week, with the three defeats at Texas State coming by a total of four runs. Senior OF Caleb Ramsey finished 5-for-5 at the plate in Saturday's 17-15 game to tie a school single-game record for hits. He also scored three runs, had an RBI and a walk. For the week, he batted .391 (9-for-23) with two doubles, six RBI and seven runs scored. Junior DH Matt Creel was 4-for-5 at the plate with two runs and four RBI in that Saturday contest. He led the team with a .500 average (10-for-20) with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI. Junior C John Cannon hit .429 (6-for-14) last week to raise his season batting average to .395, good for fifth place in C-USA. In Friday's hard-luck 2-1 loss, junior RHP Mo Wiley and senior RHP Chase Dempsay combined to allow just two hits to the Bobcats for the first Cougar two-hitter since 2007, when Wes Musick and Bryan Tully combined for the feat against Stanford. Wiley pitched five innings, allowing two runs on one hit with three strikeouts. Dempsay pitched the final three innings with two strikeouts. Texas State scored their only two runs on an inside-the-park home run.
The Thundering Herd dropped 3-of-4 at Ohio this past weekend, falling twice by one run. Sophomore OF Isaac Ballou recorded a career-high eight RBI, including a grand slam, in game one Saturday against Ohio. He finished the series with 10 hits in 18 at bats (.556 average) and saw his season average climb from .184 to .304. Ballou produced a .889 slugging percentage and .667 on-base percentage, while posting eight RBI and 16 total bases for the week. The eight RBI in a game were the most by a Marshall player since Nate Lape recorded seven RBI at Dayton on April 1, 2009. The grand slam was first by a member of the Herd since junior OF Rhett Stafford completed the feat on March 15, 2009 at Youngstown State. The Herd as a team only had one homer entering the weekend, a solo homer by senior IF Kenny Socorro, but launched a two-run homer (senior 1B Victor Gomez), three-run shot (Stafford) and grand slam (Ballou) during the four-game series at Ohio. Victor Gomez has now tied the school's all-time record for hits with 250, originally set by Adam Fredrick (2003-06).
The Tigers swept a three-game series from St. Peter's over the weekend to improve to 9-4 on the season. Saturday's 6-2 victory in game two marked the 1,600th victory in program history. Senior LHP Ryan Holland picked up the win in game one on Saturday, allowing one run on five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in six innings. He has logged a league-high 27.1 innings pitched this season and owns a 3-1 record. Memphis has put its leadoff batter on base 53 percent (58-110) of the time and when the leadoff man reaches base, the Tigers have scored 26 runs. Junior OF Drew Martinez has reached base in 11 of his 21 (.524) plate appearances as a leadoff hitter. Senior OF Robby Graham is a perfect 4-for-4 leading off an inning and junior SS Chad Zurcher sports an 8-for-11 (.727) mark as a lead-off man. Zurcher currently leads C-USA with a .477 batting average and a .589 on-base percentage. Memphis has 13 more hits than it did after 13 games last season and the Tigers are a plus 20 in runs scored with 95 in 13 games. At this point last season, Memphis had plated 75 runs. The Tigers lead C-USA with a .342 team batting average, recording double-digit hits in eight of 13 outings.
The Owls dropped two-of-three one-run ballgames at the AT&T Tournament in San Francisco over the weekend, losing 2-1 to Long Beach State and falling, 6-5 in 15 innings to California in 15 innings, before defeating UC Santa Barbara, 2-1. The Owls played one of the longest games of the college baseball season this year with the 15-inning affair on Saturday against California at AT&T Park, home of the world champion San Francisco Giants. The extra-inning marathon was the Owls' longest game by innings dating back to Wayne Graham's first Rice season in 1992. It was also the program's longest game by time (four hours, 33 minutes) dating back to 1996. The note within the note is that the Owls have also already had the shortest game by time in the Wayne Graham era: a one-hour, 45-minute (1:45) game against Texas A&M on March 5 that beat a 1:49 game in 1997 by four minutes. When the Owls were at AT&T Park over the weekend, sophomore 2B Michael Ratterree hit his third home run of the season to tie for the team lead. Ratterree has already homered in two major league parks this season, including a round-tripper against Kentucky at Minute Maid Park on March 4. Sophomore RHP Chase McDowell had a career-best outing to lead Rice to the win over UC Santa Barbara. He fired a complete game, four-hitter, holding the Gauchos to just one run. He walked only one batter in the game and allowed one hit that went for extra bases. McDowell struck out four to move to 2-1 on the season.
The Golden Eagles swept a three-game series from Missouri State, reaching double digit runs scored in each game and outscoring the Bears, 35-8. Southern Miss belted five home runs in the series as junior SS B.A. Vollmuth tallied three of those. Two of those round-trippers were two-run shots and one was a three-run blast. With the offensive explosion during the weekend, USM saw its team batting average rise to .303. Southern Miss has now improved its home record to 9-1 on the year. Sophomore C Chase Fowler enjoyed a good weekend, going 5-for-8 over the first two games. Senior RHP Todd McInnis won for the third time in four starts on Saturday, as he tallied a season-high eight strikeouts and also went over 300 career punch outs in the game. He now has 303 for his career, which moved him into second place on the school charts, moving him ahead of Damon Pollard (1989-90) who tallied 302 during his two-year Golden Eagle tenure. Sophomore RHP Geoffrey Thomas picked up his third win of the season on Sunday, allowing one run on six hits over six innings, fanning four.
The Green Wave took two-of-three from No. 19 Wichita State over the weekend and their last four victories have come against ranked opponents. All three games were decided by one run and Tulane is now 7-2 in one-run games this season. Sophomore OF Blake Crohan gave the Wave a series victory with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning of Sunday's 3-2 win. Senior RHP Drew Zizinia held Wichita State to just one hit in five innings of work in the start and junior RHP D.J. Ponder picked up his first win on the mound with a scoreless inning of work. Senior RHP Nick Pepitone earned his league-leading seventh save of the season and 24th of his career in Friday's 3-2 win. He and freshman RHP Alex Facundus (4-0, 2.40 ERA) have each appeared in 10 of the Wave's first 154 games. Tulane's pitching staff has a combined 2.33 ERA with 119 strikeouts and 44 walks in 119 innings pitched.
UAB had a tough the weekend at the Caravelle Resort Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., dropping games to Notre Dame, Kent State and No. 24 College of Charleston. The Blazers managed the same number of hits as their opponents (26) in the three games, but couldn't get key hits when they needed them as they were out-scored, 15-4. Sophomore RF Ryan Ussery homered, doubled and drove in two runs in Sunday's loss to Coastal Carolina. UAB has now hit four home runs this season (two by Ussery and two by junior 3B Patrick Palmeiro), while the Blazers' pitching staff has allowed only one. Sixth-round MLB draft pick Ivan De Jesus made his first two career starts over the weekend after missing the early part of the season because of injury. De Jesus, who made two pinch-hit appearances in the previous week, hit .625 (5-for-8) in the Caravelle Resort Classic. Junior CF Jamal Austin continues to lead the UAB regulars with a .439 batting average, 11 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. Palmeiro tops the squad with seven extra-base hits and 14 RBI. UAB had its midweek game last Wednesday with Mississippi State halted by rain with the Blazers leading 4-3 in the sixth inning. The game will be resumed at a date to be determined.
The Knights were 4-1 last week, including an 18-0 win over ACC foe Boston College and a three-game sweep of Wagner this past weekend. The UCF pitching staff has had three-straight games without issuing a walk. It has not given up a free pass in seven games this season. UCF pitchers have issued just 29 walks in 145.0 innings while striking out 152. Freshman RHP Ben Lively became the first freshman at UCF to record a complete game since 2006 when he defeated Wagner 5-1 March 12. It also was the first nine-inning complete game by a Knight overall since 2008. Junior IF Travis Shreve stole six bases in the series with Wagner to improve his total to 15 on the season. He and sophomore OF Ronnie Richardson are tied for the league lead in runs scored with 20. Senior IF Jonathan Griffin had a big week, hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two homers, 10 RBI and five runs scored. UCF currently has a .328 average, a 2.30 ERA, a .982 fielding percentage and 35 stolen bases. With only a combined three runs and six hits between UCF and Wagner March 13, the final game time was only 1:58. The last nine-inning contest for UCF to finish in under two hours was April 16, 2004, when Matt Fox, who currently has a 1.80 ERA in Spring Training for the Boston Red Sox, defeated Belmont, 3-0 on a two-hitter.