College Baseball 360 Primetime Performers #3

March 6, 2012
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Florida junior catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Lamar junior lefthander Jonathan Dziedzic (Humble, Texas) came to play during the first weekend of March, en route to earning the top honors among the week-3 CB360 Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll, as presented by CollegeBaseball360.com. Zunino and Dziedzic– who are joined by 10 others on the week-3 Primetime Honor Roll – are the lead honorees among this group, as the CB360 Primetime Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week.  front-page photo courtesy of Florida

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CLICK HERE for the week-1 CB360 Primetime Performers (Feb. 17-19)
CLICK HERE for the week-2 CB360 Primetime Performers (Feb. 20-26)

The Primetime Performer awards program – also utilized on affiliate sites CollegeSports360.com, CollegeSoccer360.com and CollegeFencing360.com – seeks to recognize players based on more than simple raw stats, instead taking into account quality of opponent, contribution to team success and various situational factors (such as clutch play, all-around performance, leadership, adversity overcome, etc.).

The 12 week-3 Primetime Performer honorees are listed below – with short bio. capsules, headshots and action photos featured at the bottom of the page.

Mike Zunino (Florida)

ZUNINO continued to be a versatile leader for top-ranked Florida, playing a key role in the showdown series sweep at previously unbeaten and cb360 #10 Miami (7-5, 13-5, 8-5). The junior cleanup batter hit .400 (6-15) in the series, with 12 total bases (HR, 3 2B) while factoring into eight of his team’s  runs (4RBI-5R-HR). The veteran catcher directed a Gators pitching staff that racked up 34 strikeouts (vs. only six walks) in 27 innings, capped by a season-high 14 Ks in the comeback win that swept the series (Florida’s 11th straight win over the Hurricans and the program’s second sweep ever vs. Miami in Coral Gables).

Miami was a couple outs away from avoiding the sweep and ending the losing streak vs. the Gators, but Zunino parked a 1-out, 0-1 pitch into center field for a game-tying, 2-run double vs. closer E.J. Encinosa(5-5; he later came around to score the eventual winning run). Florida also had come from behind a day earlier, with Zunino scoring twice – including a key leadoff single in the 4th (followed by home runs from Brian Johnson and Taylor Gushue, for a 3-3 game).

Zunino had opened the series in impressive fashion, batting 4-for-5 (2RBI-2R) with a pair of doubles and a solo home run, vs. Miami ace Eric Erickson (who entered the series with a 0.00 season ERA). His veteran savvy behind the plate helped reliever Greg Larson set down all 14 batters he faced, en route to the game-2 win (longest outing of the senior’s career).

In addition to owning a team-best .425 season batting average and an equally-impressive 1.264 OPS (on-base pct. plus slugging pct.), Zunino is riding a 14-game hitting streak that stretches back to the 2011 season.

Jonathan Dziedzic (Lamar)

DZIEDZIC went the distance while facing only 33 batters (six over the minimum), leading Lamar to an 8-0 win in tournament action at cb360 #25 Baylor (the Cardinals later beat the Bears again, 8-7, delivering coach Jim Gilligan his 1,200th career victory). Despite facing a dangerous Bears lineup that was playing in front of 3,000-plus partisan fans at Baylor Ballpark, Dziedzic held the home team to three hits over five scoreless innings – allowing his teammates to steadily build their lead.

After scattering six hits and one walk over the full nine innings, Dziedzic had recorded his first career solo shutout. The marathon outing included four strikeouts and 80 of 132 pitchers going for strikes.

The other position players on the week-3 CB360 Primetime Performers Honor Roll include a pair of slick-fielding shortstops who provided key production from the bottom part of the order – Tulane junior Brennan Middleton (Baton Rouge, La.) and Purdue senior David Miller (St. Louis, Mo.) – along with a junior transfer from North Florida, second baseman and 2-hole hitter Joe Wielbruda (Youngstown, Ohio).

The other pitchers honored include South Carolina senior lefthanded ace Michael Roth (Greer, S.C.) and Saint Mary’s righthanded bullpen specialist Patrick Keane (Clayton, Calif.), along with five righthanded starters: Radford junior Eddie Butler (Chesapeake, Va.), Princeton junior Zak Hermans (Coppell, Texas), North Carolina junior Chris Munnelly  (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Texas State senior Mitchell Pitts (Highland Village, Texas) and Houston senior Jared Ray  (Waco, Texas). 

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 games that could be key to a team’s conference/NCAA postseason qualification; made significant contribution to team’s success and potential 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.

CB360 PRIMETIME PERFORMERS WEEKLY HONOR ROLL (2012; #3)
(Feb. 27-March 4, 2012 … presented by CollegeBaseball360.com)
             “It’s not so much what you do, as it is when you do it.”

EDDIE BUTLER  (Radford … RHP … Jr. … Chesapeake, VA … #30)
* JONATHAN DZIEDZIC  (Lamar … LHP … Jr. … Humble, TX … #13)
ZAK HERMANS  (Princeton … RHP … Jr. … Coppell, TX … #12)
PATRICK KEANE  (Saint Mary’s … RHP … Jr. … Clayton, CA … #7)
BRENNAN MIDDLETON  (Tulane … SS … Jr. … Baton Rouge, LA … 9-hole hitter … bats: R … #9)
DAVID MILLER  (Purdue … SS … Sr. … St. Louis, MO … 8-hole hitter … bats: L … #29)
CHRIS MUNNELLY  (North Carolina … RHP … Jr. … Winston-Salem, NC … #37)
MITCHELL PITTS  (Texas State … RHP … Sr. … Highland Village, TX … #17)
JARED RAY  (Houston … RHP … Sr. … Waco, TX … #31)
MICHAEL ROTH  (South Carolina … LHP … Sr. … Greer, SC … #29)
JOE WIELBRUDA  (North Florida … 2B … Jr. … Youngstown, OH … 2-hole hitter … bats: R … #2)
* MIKE ZUNINO  (Florida … C … Jr. … Cape Coral, FL … cleanup hitter … bats: R … #3)

* Zunino is the CB360 Primetime Player of the Week and Dziedzic the Primetime Pitcher of the Week

___________________

EDDIE BUTLER  (Radford … RHP … Jr. … Chesapeake, VA … #30)
… Equaled his career-high with 10 strikeouts en route to game-1 win at previously unbeaten UNC Greensboro, sparking Highlanders to road series win (7-3, 4-7, 7-3) … rose to the occasion in key moments while picking up the series-opening victory (7IP-3R-5H-2BB-105p) … after UNCG had inched ahead 3-2 in the 6th, he returned for a scoreless bottom of the 7th (bases-loaded K), allowing his teammates to rally for the win … had turned in a noteworthy outing the previous week, allowing only one earned run while pitching opposite Georgia Southern ace Chris Beck.

JONATHAN DZIEDZIC  (Lamar … LHP … Jr.
Humble, TX … #13)

… Went the distance while facing only 33 batters (six over min.), leading team to 8-0 win in tournament action at cb360 #25 Baylor (the Cardinals later beat the Bears again, 8-7, delivering coach Jim Gilligan his 1,200th career victory) … despite facing a dangerous Bears lineup that was playing in front of 3,000-plus partisan fans at Baylor Ballpark, held the home team to three hits over five scoreless innings – whil his teammates steadily built on their lead … after scattering six hits and one walk over the fill nine innings, had recorded his first career solo shutout … marathon outing included four strikeouts and 80 of his 132 pitchers going for strikes.

ZAK HERMANS  (Princeton … RHP … Jr. … Coppell, TX … #12)
… His solid start in opener sparked Tigers – playing for the first time all season – to split of 4-game series at Florida Atlantic (cb360 #41) … logged five shutout innings (limited week-1 pitch count) and struck out eight while facing only 18 FAU batters (2H-BB) … Princeton went on win series finale, 8-5, for series split.

PATRICK KEANE  (Saint Mary’s … RHP … Jr.
Clayton, CA … #7)

… Came out of the bullpen to log 7.2 shutout innings while collecting a pair of victories vs. CB360 top-50 teams (at Coca-Cola Classic, in Surprise, Ariz.) – most notably in extended work that won 4-3, 11-inning battle vs. #16 Arizona State (5.2IP-2H-5BB-4K) … three days earlier, picked up another one-run win (5-4 vs. #29 Oregon State), after facing only seven batters spanning the 7th & 8th (2IP-H-3K).

BRENNAN MIDDLETON  (Tulane … SS … Jr.
Baton Rouge, LA…9-hole hitter…bats: R…#9)

… Extended hit hitting streak to nine games, during key week that included 12-1 win over in-state rival Southeastern Louisiana (cs360 #49) and series victory vs. Alabama team that was on fringe of the CB360 top-50 (9-7, 2-6, 7-2) … clutch 9-hole hitter who batted at a .600 clip during the week (9-for-15), with six hits in the Alabama series (2RBI-3R-2 2B) after going 3-for-4 vs. the Lions (RBI-2B) … played error-free all week, in 17 fielding chances … has reached base in all 12 games this season.

DAVID MILLER  (Purdue … SS … Sr.
St. Louis, MO … 8-hole hitter … bats: L … #29)

… Turned in error-free defense while providing key offensive output from the bottom part of the lineup, helping lead Boilers (cb360 #40) to three wins in tournament action at Auburn – yielding an 8-1 record that represents the best start at Purdue since 1959 … had a pair of hits and two late insurance runs that ultimately helped close out 9-8 win over Auburn (also turned in crucial diving catch in the 8th) … came through with 3-for-5 day (RBI) as part of another one-run shootout, as Boilers rallied from 9-3 deficit to win 10-9 vs. Southern Mississippi (csb360 #48) … his single, with no runners aboard, ignited decisive 7-run/2-out rally in the 7th (for 10-9 final margin) … added a walk and run scored in 5-2 win over Charleston Southern to complete the unbeaten road trip.

CHRIS MUNNELLY  (North Carolina … RHP … Jr. … Winston-Salem, NC … #37)
… Came out on the winning side of a rare 1-0 final, as UNC edged USC (cb360 #30) in pressure-packed series clincher (USC came back to win the finale, 5-2) … waged scoreless battle opposite Ben Mount, leaving the 0-0 game after logging seven innings of 1-hit ball (3BB-2K-26BF-103p) … now  riding a 14-inning shutout streak.

MITCHELL PITTS  (Texas State … RHP … Sr.
Highland Village, TX … #17)

… Flashed stellar command in 6-inning outing to win tense 1-0 game at #22 TCU, the key victory in the current 5-game shutout streak by the Texas State pitching staff … that shutout streak – which also includes 14.1 scoreless innings from Travis Ballew, 13 by Kyle Finnegan & 6.2 from Colton Turner (plus 10.1 bullpen IP) – has reached  50.1 innings, nearing the NCAA record (64) set by Arizona State in 1972 (Pitts is due to start vs. Rice on March 6) … allowed a leadoff single at TCU but held the Frogs hitless the rest of the way, with only three total baserunners and eight Ks (1 BB; 72 pitches).

JARED RAY  (Houston … RHP … Sr. … Waco, TX … #31)
… Racked up a career-high 10 strikeouts against surging Tennessee team (cb360 #45), giving Cougars big boost to open play at the Houston College Classic (held at big-league Minute Maid Park; UH went on to upset #7 Arkansas the next day) … opened game in impressive fashion, striking out the first six Vols batters (all swinging) … allowed a single run in that 7-4 victory, with five hits and no walks allowed  (115 pitches) … has compiled 1.42 season ERA, with 20 Ks in 19 IP (.209 opp. batting).

MICHAEL ROTH  (South Carolina … LHP … Sr. … Greer, SC … #29)
… Veteran ace who delivered strong start in neutral-field series opener vs. rival Clemson (cb360 #14) … left 1-1 game in the 8th, after allowing the lone run on four hits (all singles) and a pair of walks (7.1 IP, 7 Ks, 25 BF, 102 pitches) … allowed his offense to stay in game, with #3 Gamecocks ultimatetly winning 3-2 in 11 innings and going on to claim the rivalry series (9-6 at SC; 5-6 at Clemson).

JOE WIELBRUDA  (North Florida … 2B … Jr.
Youngstown, OH…2-hole hitter…bats: R…#2)

… Had multiple hits and scored in each game, as UNF won 4-gm series vs. Georgia Southern (cb360 #46), with first two games at home and gms 3-4 at GS (8-5/7-4/7-5/5-9) … led UNF in game-2 (3-for-4, 2R) while roughing up ace pitcher Chris Beck, projected to be a possible high 1st-round MLB draft pick this year … hit .474 in the series (9-for-19; 6R-3B-2 2B-SB), with no strikeouts in 19 plate appearances (for key production from the 2-hole)  … played error-free on 28 fielding attempts, as central member of UNF defense that turned eight double plays in the series.

MIKE ZUNINO  (Florida … C … Jr. … Cape Coral, FL … cleanup hitter … bats: R … #3)
… Continued to be a versatile leader for top-ranked Florida, playing key role in showdown series sweep at previously unbeaten and cb360 #10 Miami (7-5, 13-5, 8-5) … hit .400 (6-15) in the series, with 12 total bases (HR, 3 2B) while factoring into eight runs (4RBI-5R-HR) … directed staff that racked up 34 Ks (only 6 BB) in 27 IP, capped by season-high 14 Ks in comeback win that swept series (Florida’s 11th straight win over Hurricans and program’s second sweep ever vs. Miami in Coral Gables) … in gm-3, parked 1-out, 0-1 pitch into center field for a game-tying, 2-run double vs. closer E.J. Encinosa (5-5; later came around to score the eventual winning run) … scored twice a day earlier in another comeback, with key leadoff single in 4th (followed by home runs from  Brian Johnson and Taylor Gushue, for a 3-3 game) … opened the series in impressive fashion (4-5; 2RBI-2R-HR-2 2B) vs. Miami ace Eric Erickson (who entered series with 0.00 ERA) …  helped reliever Greg Larson set down all 14 batters he faced, en route to gm-2 win (longest outing of the senior’s career) … owns team-best .425 season batting average and 1.264 OPS (on-base pct. plus slugging) …  riding a 14-game hitting streak that stretches back to the 2011 season.

_____________________________
Action photos of the honorees included below (and at top of page). All photos courtesy of the respective schools and their photography staffs:

Eddie Butler (Radford)

Zak Hermans (Princeton)

Patrick Keane (Saint Mary's)

Brennan Middleton (Tulane)

David Miller (Purdue)

Chris Munnelly (North Carolina)

Mitchell Pitts (Texas State)

Jared Ray (Houston)

Michael Roth (South Carolina)


Joe Wielbruda (North Florida)

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