CB360 Primetime Performers #10 (April 27)

April 27, 2010
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Texas catcher Rupp, Florida two-way threat Johnson earn top CB360 Primetime honors …

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Texas junior catcher Cameron Rupp (Plano, Texas) and Florida freshman lefthander/DH Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) headline the nation’s players who turned in noteworthy performances during the past week, as the college baseball regular season entered its final month.

Texas junior catcher Cameron Rupp

Rupp has been named the national Primetime Player of the Week and Johnson is the Primetime Pitcher of the Week, while 17 others (listed below, with headshots and info. capsule) join them in comprising the Primetime Performer Weekly Honor Roll, as selected by CollegeBaseball360.com.

CLICK HERE for archive of previous CB360 Primetime award winners (scroll down for earlier weeks).

Florida freshman LHP/DH Brian Johnson

Johnson delivered on the mound and at the plate, logging seven shutout innings and providing the pinch-hit single that sparked a 9th-inning rally to beat Arkansas in the 2-1 series-clinching finale (the only weekend series between top-10 teams in the CB360 Composite National Rankings). Rupp helped vault Texas atop many of the national polls, as the cleanup batter smacked a pair of 1st-inning home runs and nearly did the same in the series finale – leading the way for a Longhorns squad that swept Oklahoma State while extending its win streak to 16 games.

JOHNSON rose to the occasion while facing an Arkansas offense that owned the best conference batting average (.338) in the elite Southeastern Conference. The 6-3, 225-pound lefthander racked up a season-high nine strikeouts and faced only 25 batters in the seven shutout innings, scattering three hits (.130 team batting avg.) and one walk with only three Razorbacks reaching second base (each occupied that position for  only a few moments).

Brian Johnson pitched seven shutout innings and delivered the pinch-hit single that sparked the winning rally, as Florida edged Arkansas by a 2-1 score to win that top-10 showdown series (photo courtesy of Florida).

The impressive outing saw Johnson post four 1-2-3 innings (1st-2nd-4th-7th) and allow multiple baseunners in only the 3rd, when James McCann was hit by a 1-out pitch and Matt Vinson followed with a single into left. Johnson executed the pickoff play to erase McCann and Collin Kuhn’s single put another runner on second, but Johnson forced Bo Bigham into a 4-3 groundout to end the pitcher’s busiest inning.

Andy Wilkins walked to open the 5th, but Johnson quickly record two outs (KS-F8-KS) to maintain the 1-0 thriller. One inning later, Zack Cox sent a 2-out double into the rightfield corner – but Johnson induced cleanup batter Brett Eibner to fly out to center field.

An Arkansas home run tied the game in the 8th and Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan elected to move Johnson into the DH spot in the bottom of the 9th. The rookie responded by working ahead in the count vs. bullpen ace Mike Bolsinger before poking a 2-0 pitch up the middle for a 1-out single. Moments later, Johnson’s pinch-runner Cody Dent came home with the series-winning run – leaving Florida (28-11/12-6) two games behind South Carolina in the race for the SEC title.

Johnson – who located 70 of his 99 pitches for strikes in the pressure-packed outing – now owns a 2.91 season ERA. He was batting 8-for-23 (.348) prior to the single that sparked the game-winning rally.

If setting an early tone is a character trait for “primetime” players, RUPP left no doubt during four games over the past week. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound cleanup hitter had an early-game home run in a midweek win over Texas Arlington before providing plenty of early fireworks in all three games of the Oklahoma State series (14-1/5-0/9-3). Rupp smashed a 3-run blast in the 1st inning of the series opener and then duplicated that feat one day later, as Texas clinched the series with a 19-1 scoring edge over the first two days.

Texas junior Cameron Rupp did his usual stellar job directing the pitching staff during the past week's action – but his early-game power display in multiple games repeatedly set the tone (in a midweek game vs. UT Arlington and sweep of Oklahoma State; photo courtesy of big12sports.com).

Two feet was all that separated Rupp from another 1st-inning home run in the series finale, but he still settled for an RBI double high off the wall. He finished the week with 13 RBI (boosting his team-best total to 40) and a 1.296 slugging pct. (his season totals now include 7 HR and 10 2B).

Rupp alsp continued to manage the impressive Texas pitching staff, calling pitches for a group of hurlers that combined for a 1.25 ERA during the week.

(note: additional action photos for some of the other honorees may be added to this page).

Primetime Performer Award Criteria (not based solely on raw stats, but rather …)
• Must have been playing for or against a CB360 top-50 team (in the Composite National Rankings) or performed a high level in a game that could be key to a team’s conference/NCAA postseason qualification; made significant contribution to team’s postseason positioning (single-game wins, “quality” wins, series wins, road wins, etc.).
• Involved in clutch performances, such as late game-winning hits, noteworthy comebacks, game-changing plays, team leadership, key defensive efforts, etc.
• Performed at a top level against a team rated highly nationally (or within its conference), with bonus consideration given for key performances away from home field and vs. traditional rivals.
• Overcame adversity or extreme circumstances (for the team and/or individual).
• Any accomplishment that is rare, historic, record-setting, etc., on a national level.

The other 17 members of the CB360 Primetime Performer Weekly Honor Roll for April 19-25 include: Boston College sr. CF Robbie Anston (Odessa, Fla.) … Washington State sr. RHP Chad Arnold (Kennewick, Wash.) … UC Irvine sr. RHP Christian Bergman (Altadena, Calif.) … Oklahoma jr. 2B Danny Black (Roseville, Calif.) … Stanford fr. 3B Kenny Diekroeger ( Woodside, Calif.) … Seton Hall 5th-yr. sr. 2B Chris Fontanelli (Toms River, N.J.) … Tennessee jr. catcher Blake Forsythe (Memphis, Tenn.) … North Carolina jr. RHP Matt Harvey (Mystic, Conn.) … Florida fr. LHP/DH Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) … Texas State sr. 1B Kyle Livingstone (Ft. Worth, Texas) … Florida State jr. LF/RHP Mike McGee (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) … Texas Tech fr. 2B Jamodrick McGruder (Mesquite, Texas) … Coastal Carolina so. SS Taylor Motter (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) … Connecticut jr. 3B Mike Olt (Branford, Conn.) … Texas junior catcher Cameron Rupp (Plano, Texas) … Virginia Tech so. 1B Ronnie Shaban ( Moseley, Va.) … Mississippi so. DH Matt Snyder (Centreville, Va.) … Texas A&M-Corpus Christi jr. LF Chris Vergne (San Juan, Puerto Rico) … and Arizona sr. RHP Daniel Workman (Sierra Vista, Ariz.).

The 19 honorees include a pair of two-way talents (LHP/DH and LF/RHP), along with four other righthanded pitchers, three second baseman, two catchers, a pair of first basemen, two third basemen, a shortstop, leftfielder, centerfielder and DH. The selections feature a 5th-year senior, five seniors, seven juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen. The honorees hail from 10 different home states/foreign countries, led by four from Florida and three each from California and Texas, plus two each from Connecticut and Virginia, along with one from Arizona, New Jersey, Puerto Rice, Tennessee and Washington.

PRIMETIME PERFORMERS WEEKLY HONOR ROLL #10 (April 27, 2010)

(presented by CollegeBaseball360.com)

“It’s not so much what you do, as it is when you do it.”

Player (Pos.) … School … Yr. … Hometown … Stats & Notes

ROBBIE ANSTON (CF)
Boston College … Sr.
Odessa, FL

Leadoff hitter who paced sweep at #50 North Carolina State (9-5/10-8/11-10), lifting Eagles to 2nd-place in ACC Atlantic Division … had 3 hits in each game while batting 9-for-17 (.529) with 7 RBI, 8 runs, 19 total bases (2 HR, 3B, 2 2B) and pair of stolen bases … hit 9th-inning, 2-run single for go-ahead runs in game-2 … his leadoff home run tied series finale in the 8th.

CHAD ARNOLD (RHP)
Washington State … Sr./Jr.
Kennewick, WA

Logged complete-game victory to knock off #24 Oregon State in Pacific-10 Conference series opener (5-1), limiting the Beavers to 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 11 (35 batters faced) … rolled up 10 groundout during his 125-pitch outing … dropped his season ERA to 3.03 and now is allowing opposing batters a .227 combined batting average.

CHRISTIAN BERGMAN (RHP)
UC Irvine … Sr.
Altadena, CA

Allowed leadoff single vs. UC Davis (runner was caught stealing) but went on to record 27 straight outs and face the minimum 27 batters, in a 1-hit victory over UC Davis (13-0) to help keep UC Irvine in the Big West Conference title hunt (no conf. tournament) … 19 of his outs came via strikeouts (6) or groundouts (13) … located 71% 0f his pitches for strikes (63 of 89).

DANNY BLACK (2B)
Oklahoma … Jr.
Roseville, CA

Sooners’ 2-hole hitter who racked up 10 RBI in three big wins (8-3 vs. #14 TCU; 6-5 in 13/10-2 at #37 Texas A&M), helping solidify OU’s postseason positioning … his other stats in the three big wins included 2 home runs, 3 runs scored, 2  doubles and a pair of walks.


KENNY DIEKROEGER (3B)
Stanford … Fr.
Woodside, CA

Lower-third hiter (7-hole) who had a pair of game-winning RBI in the Pacific-10 Conference series sweep of Bay-area rival #18 California (3-2/15-12/11-10) …  hit 6-for-12 and factored into 8 runs (5RBI-3R, 2B-BB) during series; executed sac-fly to win pitchers duel in opener … added 3-5/2RBI-2R effort in game-2 before his RBI double capped 3-run rally that won finale – pushing Cardinal (10-5) to within one game of Pac-10 leader Arizona  State.

CHRIS FONTANELLI (2B)
Seton Hall … 5th-Yr.-Sr.
Toms River, NJ

Helped hand #10 Louisville only its third home loss of the 2010 season (8-6; as one if the BIG EAST lower-ranked teams upset a league leader; SHU also suffered narrow losses in the series, 2-4/1-3) … had early 2-out RBI single and 2 runs in win over Cards; scored tying run in 5th inning of opener (2-2); executed 11 fielding chances as part of SHU’s error-free series.

BLAKE FORSYTHE (C)
Tennessee … Jr.
Memphis, TN

Helped post three wins over CB360 top-50 teams (18-8 vs. #46 Western Carolina; doubleheader sweep of #17 Vanderbilt, 4-2 in 11 & 4-3 in 7, to complete that Southeastern Conference series) … hit 5-13 with 6 RBI and pair of home runs in those three big wins (3 runs, double, 2 walks, hit-by-pitch) …  his 2-run blast ended 11-inning game vs. Vandy … a couple hours later, his walk was part of 2-run, game-ending rally that gave Vols the series.

Matt Harvey (RHP)
North Carolina … Jr. … Mystic, CT

Struck out 15 batters (nine “looking) from #19 Clemson, in complete-game win (5-3) as UNC went on to win key road series … held Tigers to 6 hits (.167 batting) and a single walk … posted 6 straight Ks in 6th and 7th innings.

*BRIAN JOHNSON (LHP/DH)
Florida … Fr.
Cocoa Beach, FL

Delivered on the mound and at the plate, as Gators edged #4 Arkansas (2-1) to win that top-10 series matchup between two of top teams in the Southeastern Conference … pitched 7.0 scoreless innings and allowed only 3 hits (.130 tean batting avg.) by SEC’s top offense (the Razorbacks entered the game with a .338 team batting avg. in league play) …  had 9 Ks and only 1 walk …  his 1-out single sparked 9th-inning rally (his pinch-runner scored winning run).

KYLE LIVINGSTONE (1B)
Texas State … Sr.
Ft. Worth, TX

Hit 5-for-11 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored in three big wins for Texas State (9-3 vs. #49 Baylor; 5-3 and 7-3 vs. Southland Conference contender Northwestern (La.) State), as the Bobcats cracked the national rankings for the first time during the 2010 season … serves primarily as team’s 5-hole hitter … played lead role in the win over Baylor (3RBI-2R).

MIKE McGEE (LF/RHP)
Florida State … Jr.
Port St. Lucie, FL

Two-way talent (5-6/8-7/7-6) who helped Florida State edge its  in-state rival and #11 Miami, in hard-fought series with three 1-run games …  hit 5-for-9 in the series with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 5 walks (also 4 runs, 2 doubles and a sac-fly) … his 9th-inning, 2-out, 2-run home run won the series (also was the pitcher of record, with 1.2IP-2K-5BF) … earlier walked and scored in 3-run bottom of 8th, as FSU similarly rallied to win gm-2 (2R in 9th).

JAMODRICK McGRUDER (2B)
Texas Tech … Fr.
Mesquite, TX

Texas Tech leadoff batter who hit 9-for-14 while factoring into 13 runs (7RBI, 6runs, 5 stolen bases, 2 doubles, 3 walks, sacrifice fly), as the Red Raiders won a key Big 12 Conference series at #41 Kansas (2-10/11-8/21-10) … closed the series at Kansas with an impressive all-around game, batting 4-for-5 with  6 RBI, 4 runs scored, a pair of doubles, 2 stolen bases, a walk and a sacrifice fly … did not make an error in the three-game series (12 fielding chances).

TAYLOR MOTTER (SS)
Coastal Carolina … So.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

The Chanticlers’ 9-hole hitter who helped extend team’s win streak to 17 games, with sweep of Big South contender Virginia Military Institute (7-0/3-2/6-2) … hit 5-for-10 with a pair of home runs in the road series (4 RBI, 4 runs, 2 doubles, 2 walks; also made no errors on 13 fielding chances) … launched a key home run in the 3-2 series clincher, with Coastal Carolina going on to sweep the Keydets and gain firm control of the Big South race.

MIKE OLT (3B)
Connecticut
Jr. … Branford, CT

5-hole batter who led sweep of Rutgers in BIG EAST Conference showdown series (7-2/6-3/8-7 in 12) … hit 11-for-14 (.786) with 5 RBI and 2 home runs in the three games (5R-SF) … delivered quanity (5-for-6) and quality (9th-inning, tying HR) during the series finale versus the Scarlet Knights.

*CAMERON RUPP (C)
Texas … Jr.
Plano, TX

Cleanup batter who hit pair of 1st-inning, 3-run home runs and nearly added another 1st-run HR (RBI 2B high off wall) in Big 12 Conference series sweep of Oklahoma State (14-1/5-0/9-3), as Longhorns pushed their win streak to 16 … amassed 11 RBI & 12 total bases (2HR-2 2B; 4R-B) in series, also 2-run HR in midweek win over Arlington … called pitches for a Longhorns staff that posted a 1.25 ERA over the course of the four-game week.

RONNIE SHABAN (1B)
Virginia Tech
So. … Moseley, VA

Supplied several key hits from the 5-hole in Virginia Tech’s Atlantic Coast Conference series win over #5 Georgia Tech (3-1 in 11/10-3/12-14), batting 6-for-12 in the series with 5 RBI and 3 runs score (also had a home run, triple, 2 walks and a stolen base3) …  hit the g0-ahead single in 11th inning of the series opener … his 2-run home run in game-2 helped the Hokies race out to 6-0 lead, en route to the series-clinching win over the highly-ranked Yellowjackets.

MATT SNYDER (DH)
Mississippi … So.
Centreville, VA

Delivered from cleanup spot in Mississippi’s sweep of #7 LSU (11-9/9-8 in 11/7-6), batting at a .500 clip (6-12) with 7 RBI, 3 home runs and 5 runs scored (also reached on a BB & HBP) … delivered in opener vs. ace Anthony Ranaudo, with 1st-inning solo shot and 2-inning grand slam (8-2 lead) … closed series in similar fashion, with tying 2-run home run in the 8th.

CHRIS VERGNE (LF)
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi … Jr.
San Juan, Puerto Rico

2-hole batter who helped Islanders win series from #31 Southeastern Louisiana (the Southland Conference leader) … hit 2-run double for early 4-2 lead in game-2 and added clinching grand slam (10-5 final) … went on to score 3 runs in series finale (11-5).


DANIEL WORKMAN (RHP)
Arizona … Sr./Jr.
Sierra Vista, AZ

Beat in-state rival #1 Arizona State (4-2; 6.1 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 4 strikeouts, 23 batters faced) and closed week with solid short start in team’s 6-4 win over #6 UCLA (3.1IP-R-3H-2BB-5K) … his combined stats in the pair of starts: 9.2 IP, 3R, 8H, 2BB, 9 Ks (.216 opp. batting avg.).


* – Rupp is the CB360 Primetime Player of the Week and Johnson the Primetime Pitcher of the Week … note that rankings above refer to the CB360 top-50 … primary class years are based on academic standing (some players may have an extra year of eligibility).

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