Every week, I will be breaking down the top teams and players in college baseball. Here are the top performers for the week of 4/9-4/15
Team of the week: North Carolina Tar Heels 27-9 (12-6 ACC)
After being swept in three games by Miami (FL) two weeks ago, the Tar Heels brought out their own brooms in a three-game sweep over Virginia last week and went 4-0 overall. First baseman Parks Jordan knocked in four runs in the Tar Heels 10-5 win over UNC-Ashville to start the week. Outfielder Cody Stubbs added a solo shot in the win.
In the series opener against Virginia, sophomore Kent Emanuel went eight innings, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out seven in a 2-1 win. R.C. Orlan picked up his sixth win of the season in relief, tossing one shutout inning. Emanuel, a 6’-4” left-hander, out-pitched top pitching prospect, Branden Kline, who went six innings, allowing one run while striking out 10.
Orlan picked up his seventh win of the season in the second game, tossing 2.2 innings in relief as the Tar Hells won 6-2. Center fielder Chaz Frank added two RBI and right fielder Adam Griffin added one.
In the series finale, freshman Benton Moss starred on the mound as the Tar Heels won 5-2. The right-hander went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out nine to one walk. He is now 2-2 on the season, with a 1.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 49 K/15 BB over 39 innings.
Offensive player of the week: Josh Ludy, C, Baylor
Ludy came into the week with one home run over his first 118 at-bats. He then hit five over his 22 at-bats this past week as Baylor won all five games. He went 13-for-22 (.591) with 14 RBI, including going 5-for-6 with three home runs and seven RBI in Baylor’s 12-11 win over Kansas State in 11 innings on Sunday. The senior is now hitting .363 with 10 doubles, six home runs, 45 RBI and a 1.026 OPS over 36 games.
Pitcher of the week: Alex Kuedell, RHP, Oregon
Kuedell continued his dominance of late by throwing a complete game against Stanford, while out-dueling Cardinal ace Mark Appel on April 14. Kuedell allowed one run on five hits and struck out seven to no walks as the Ducks beat the Cardinal 4-2. Over his last four starts, he is 4-0 with a 0.55 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. On the season, he is now 5-3, with a 1.92 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 37 K/11 BB over 65.2 innings.
Freshman of the week: Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
Few players have been more impressive than Conforto over the past few weeks. He went 9-for-20 (.450) with a triple, two home runs and 14 RBI for the Beavers last week, and now has five home runs and 30 RBI over his last 15 games. On the season, he is hitting .336 with seven doubles, eight home runs, 46 RBI and a 1.025 OPS over 31 games. His 1.48 RBI per game leads the nation.
Other top performers
Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
Wacha tossed his second shutout of the season as the Aggies beat Kansas 8-0 on April 13. Over nine innings, he allowed four hits while striking out six to no walks. He is now 5-0 on the season with a 2.42 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 66 K/11 BB over 63.2 innings.
Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State
Rodon continues to put together one of the most impressive freshman seasons ever. He allowed one run over eight innings as the Wolfpack downed Clemson 3-1 on April 14 to pick up his sixth win of the season. He gave up just three hits while striking out eight to four walks. He is now 6-0 on the year, with a 1.38 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 75 K/19 BB over 65.1 innings. He is among the leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts in the nation.
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
Appel showed, once again, why he is considered the top pick in the draft by many. He took a no-decision on April 13 as he went nine innings, allowing an unearned run while scattering ten hits. He struck out 13 while walking two, and showed his ability to pitch deep into games, while also being able to get himself out of jams with his mound presence. He is now 4-1 on the season, with a 2.86 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 68 K/18 BB over 66 innings. His 8.3 innings per start leads the nation.
Jake Reed, RHP, Oregon
The freshman picked up his fourth win of the season, handcuffing Stanford over seven innings on April 14. He shutout the Cardinal for seven innings, allowing just two hits as Oregon won 5-0. On the season, he is 4-2 with a 2.19 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and is holding opponents to a .185 batting average.
Kurt Heyer, RHP, Arizona
Heyer tossed his second straight complete game as he allowed two runs over nine innings in the Wildcats 4-3 win over UCLA on April 13. He allowed eight hits while striking out two in picking up his sixth win of the season. He is 6-1, with a 2.09 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 57 K/10 BB over 69 innings.
Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State
Heaney had another strong outing as he took a no-decision in the Cowboys 3-1 win over Texas in 11 innings on April 13. He went nine innings, allowing one run on eight hits while striking out nine. He is 5-1 on the season, with a 2.14 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 85 K/14 BB over 67.1 innings. His 11.4 K/9 is among the best in the nation.
Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke
Stroman took his second straight no-decision even though he pitched brilliantly again. Over eight innings, he allowed one run on four hits, while striking out eight to one walk in Duke’s 4-2 loss to Maryland on April 13. On the season, he is 3-3, with a 2.05 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 93 K/18 BB over 66 innings. He leads the nation in strikeouts, and his 12.7 K/9 is also first among starters.
Brady Rodgers, RHP, Arizona State
Rodgers is having arguably the best season on the mound by nay pitcher this season. Over eight innings on April 13, he allowed just one run on six hits in the Sun Devils 5-1 win over USC. He struck out seven to no walks as he picked up his sixth win of the season. He is 6-1, with a 1.13 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 55 K/7 BB over 72 innings. His ERA ranks first among starters, and his WHIP and 7.9 K/BB are among the leaders.
Stephen Ewing, RHP, Miami (OH)
Ewing gave up just one hit, a solo home run, over eight innings in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Virginia Tech on April 14. The junior took the no-decision as the Hokies scored two runs in the ninth for the win. He is 4-0 on the season, with a 1.95 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 58 K/22 BB over 60 innings for the Hurricanes.
Matthew Reckling, RHP, Rice
Reckling’s draft status continues to skyrocket as he tossed another gem on April 13, going 6.2 shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out seven in Rice’s 9-0 win over Marshall. He is 6-0 on the season with a 1.66 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 70 K/23 BB over 59.2 innings. He is also holding opponents to a .159 batting average.
Beau Amaral, OF, UCLA
Amaral went 11-for-22 (.500) for the Bruins last week with nine runs scored over five games. He added a double, two triples and six RBI and is hitting .338, with 40 runs and 24 RBI over 31 games.
Barrett Barnes, OF, Texas Tech
The fast-rising outfield prospect went 8-for-20 (.400) over four games last week with a double, triple, nine RBI and three stolen bases. He is now hitting .372 over 36 games with 13 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 37 RBI and a 1.115 OPS. He is also a perfect 17-for-17 in stolen base attempts.
Matt Wessinger, SS, St. Johns
The senior shortstop went 14-for-25 (.560) with 13 runs scored over six games for the Red Storm last week. He added two doubles, a home run, 10 RBI and three stolen bases. He is now hitting .379 with five home runs, 35 RBI and 23 stolen bases over 36 games this season.