College Baseball 360 Primetime Performers #5

March 20, 2012
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Kentucky freshman two-way talent Joe Reed (Terre Haute, Ind.) – a lefthanded newcomer who boasts the rare combination of cleanup hitter, midweek starting pitcher on the mound and weekend reliever – has received top honors among the CB360 Primetime Performers for the fifth week of the 2012 college baseball season (March 12-18), as presented by CollegeBaseball360.com. He is joined by 11 others on the week-5 Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll, with Reed the lead honoree as the CB360 Primetime Player of the Week.  front-page photo courtesy of Kentucky

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Previous CB360 Primetime Performers (2012): Week-1 … Week-2 … Week-3 … Week-4

A.J. Reed (Kentucky)

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-5 Primetime Performer honorees are listed below – with short bio. capsules, headshots and action photos included at the bottom of the page.

REED‘s strong all-around week included providing some clutch production from the cleanup spot in his first SEC series, also logging a key relief stint in game-2 – as Wildcats (cb360 #28) swept #3 South Carolina for the first time since 2006 (4-3, 4-3, 6-3). The imposing 6-foot-4, 235-pounder has been a vital member of team that has yet to lose, with the 21-0 start ranking third-best ever by an SEC team (SC was 22-0 in 2000, LSU 23-0 in ’10). Reed hit 5-for-11 in the series with a pair of RBI and a run scored in the tightly-contested weekend (one of his hits was double and he reached a sixth time on a hit-by-pitch). He hit .526 in team’s 5-0 week (10-for-19), with 15 total bases (HR, 2 2B) while factoring into eight of his team’s runs (5RBI, 4R, HR) and reaching base 11 times (HBP). Reed rounded out his busy week by winning his midweek start and picking up relief victory in middle game of SC series, totaling eight strikeouts and only two walks in 8.0 innings (one run allowed, on nine hits).

A.J. Reed (Kentucky)

Several of Reed’s key hits vs. the Gamecocks came on lefty-lefty matchups and on 2-strike pitches (one with 2-outs). He hit 2-for-4 with a late-game RBI in series opener, earlier leading off the bottom of the 4th with a first-pitch single to right, vs. ace lefthander Michael Roth.  He faced another veteran LHP, situational reliever Tyler Webb, with the bases loaded in the 7th and executed a 2-out blooper that cut deficit to 2-0 (on 1-2 pitch).

Reed was Webb’s first batter again in gm-2 and delivered once more, launching an 0-2 pitch into left for an opposite-field RBI double and a 4-3 lead in the 7th (that held up as the final score). He had taken the mound an inning earlier, when his quick delivery helped erase Joey Pancake on a rally-ending, 2-4 caught-stealing. Reed went on to open the 7th with pair of strikeouts en route to picking up win, thanks to his own clutch hit moments later (2IP-2H-BB-2K … as part of bullpen group that had 10.1 shutout innings in the series, w/ 7H-2BB-12K).

In the series finale, Reed helped complete the sweep (2-for-4, R) with a leadoff single in the 6th, sparking a three-run surge that produced the 6-3 final (that hit was yet another vs. a lefty who had just entered the game, junior Nolan Belcher). Reed opened week by becoming first player in the program’s modern era (since ’79) to start on the mound and in the cleanup spot during the same game, batting a season-best 3-for-4 with a home run, double and 3 RBI while logging six strong innings (R-7H-6K) during 9-1 victory over Horizon League favorite Wright State. One day later, he helped avert the upset bid of in-state foe Murray State (which went on to win series at cb360 #39 Southern Miss), as his pair of hits in that game included a 2-out single that preceded Cameron Flynn’s home run to put an end to the scoreless deadlock in the 6th.

Reed is batting .386 for the season (28 RBI, 2 HR, 7 2B) while compiling a 1.83 ERA and 4-0 record, with nearly a strikeout per inning (18 Ks, 19.2 IP).

The week-5 CB360 Primetime Performers include five righthanded pitchers: Texas-Pan American senior long-relief Jonathan Sa (Livermore, Calif.) along with four starters – Oral Roberts sr./jr. Drew Bowen (Tulsa, Okla.) … Maryland senior Brett Harman (Westminster, Md.) … Utah junior Joe Pond (Centerville, Utah) … and Duke junior Marcus Stroman (Medford, N.Y.). Rutgers junior LHP Joe Corsi (Oceanport, N.Y.) – who joined Harman and Pond in pitching during rare 1-0 games – is the seventh pitcher on the week-5 Primetime Performers.

In addition to Reed, other position players among the honorees include three centerfielders – Utah Valley freshman Jordy Hart (Cedar Valley, Utah) … Murray State junior Paul Ritzheimer (Ternton, Ill.) … and Auburn sophomore Ryan Tella (Fremont, Calif.) – along with Oregon State freshman leftfielder Michael Conforto (Woodinville, Wash.) and Texas sophomore rightfielder Mark Payton (Chicago, Ill.).

The 12 Primetime honorees include three seniors, four juniors, a pair of sophomores and three freshmen – with two from California hometowns, two more from Illinois, a couple from Utah and one each from Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Washington.

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; #5)
(March 12-18, 2012 … presented by CollegeBaseball360.com)
             “It’s not so much what you do, as it is when you do it.”

DREW BOWEN
(Oral Roberts … RHP … Sr./Jr. … Tulsa, OK … #33)
… Matched Pierce Johnson’s own complete game (8 inn.) by going the full nine in series opener vs. cb360 #49 Missouri State, winning tense 1-0 game that was scoreless until the 4th (ORU went on to split the 4-game series) … was not threatened until the 9th, with two runners in scoring position, but he induced the game-ending flyout … faced only 34 batters and struck out five, with six hits allowed and only one walk … has compiled a 2.65 ERA and 3-1 record in 34 innings pitched (33H-10BB-23K).

MICHAEL CONFORTO
(Oregon State … LF … Fr. … Woodinville, WA … 3-hole … bats: L … #8)
… Rookie talent who has continued to deliver from the 3-hole, after providing several key hits to lead sweep at cb360 #24 California in Pac-12 series opener (9-2, 4-1, 13-5; for 26-8 scoring edge) … hit 2-for-5 with an RBI and double in series opener … led series-sweeping win with 6-RBI day (3-for-5, 2B) … ranks second on team with .425 season batting average (team-best 26 RBI).

ROB CORSI
(Rutgers … LHP … Jr. … Oceanport, NJ … #12)

… Went the distance to pick up 8-0 win in series finale at cb360 #29 Stetson, which had entered the game 15-3 for the season … 18 of his outs came via strikeouts (4) or ground balls (14, including three double-play balls) … faced only 33 batters in the 105-pitch outing (7H-BB) …  first Rutgers pitcher since 2007 to register a complete game.

BRETT HARMAN
(Maryland … RHP … Sr. … Westminster, MD … #24)

… Picked up win in one of several (usually) rare 1-0 games during the week in cb360 top-50 action, logging 8.0 full innings to best #4 North Carolina in series finale … matched season0high with eight strikeouts while scattering seven hits and a pair of walks in the 117-pitch outing … repeatedly shut down UNC with runners on base, as the Tar Heels hit only 1-for-16 with men aboard … has not allowed an earned run in four of his five starts this season, with his 1.11 season ERA ranking second-best among ACC regulars.

JORDY HART
(Utah Valley … OF … Fr. … Cedar Valley, UT … 9-hole … bats: R … #3)

… Played lead role – from bottom of he lineup – after turning in a statistically-rare feat during 9-6 win at #19 Arizona State … you don’t always see a triple in a college baseball game and it’s obviously even more uncommon to see a player triple twice in the same game – but that’s what he did in the win over ASU, while scoring or driving in all but one of his team’s nine runs (3-for-4, 5RBI-3R), which all came with 2-outs on the board … cleared the bases with 2nd-inning triple vs. the Sun Devils, then plated two more with a 3-bagger in the 6th (he scored on an error during that play) … added yet another triple in split at Saint Mary’s (2-10, 3-0) … hit 6-for-8 during 4-game week and reached base nine times (2BB-HBP) … had a single, walk, hit-by-pitch and run scored in win over the Gaels.

MARK PAYTON
(Texas … RF … So. … Chicago, IL … leadoff/2-hole … bats: L … #2)

… Versatile hitter from top of the order, after batting at an even .500 clip (10-for-20) during huge week that included 6-1 win over cb360 #25 Texas State and sweep of Red River Rivalry, at #18 Oklahoma (7-6 in 12, 9-5, 9-4) … factored into eight of his team’s runs during the week (3RBI-6R-HR) while reaching base 13 times (3 BB), adding a sac. bunt and stolen base to the well-rounded week … had a single, walk, run scored and sac. vs. Texas State before collecting four hits and scoring twice in opener vs. Sooners … his 1-out bunt single set the table for Jonathan’s Walsh’s decisive 2-run single in 12th inning of that game … went on to hit 3-for-5 in second game of series (2R-BB) and homered in series-sweeping win (2-for-5, 3RBI-BB-SB).

JOE POND  
(Utah … RHP … Jr. … Centerville, UT … #12)
… Delivered in clutch 1-0 game, leading Utes to win in their first Pac-12 game and eventual doublheader sweep (at cb360 #32 USC) … faced only 23 batters is six effective innings, with 14 of his outs coming via strikeouts (6) or ground balls (8, with a double play) … allowed only three walks and a pair of walks, while matching wits opposite Adam Triggs (who went the distance, 8H-BB-11K) … faced the added pressure of pitching in  scoreless game throughout his six innings.

A.J. REED
(Kentucky … 1B/LHP … Fr. … Terre Haute, IN … cleanup batter … bats: L … #18)
… Talented two-way newcomer whose strong all-around week included clutch production from cleanup spot in his first SEC series, also logging key relief stint in gm-2 – as Wildcats (cb360 #28) swept #3 South Carolina for first time since ’06 (4-3, 4-3, 6-3) … imposing presence, at 6–4/235 and vital member of team that has yet to lose, with 21-0 start ranking 3rd-best ever by SEC team … hit 5-11 in series with pair of RBI and run scored in tightly-contested weekend (one of his hits was double and he reached sixth time o hit-by-pitch) … hit .526 in 5-0 week (10-19), with 15 total bases (HR, 2 2B) while factoring into eight of team’s runs (5RBI-4R-HR) and reaching base 11 times … rounded out busy week by winning midweek start and picking up relief victory in middle game of SC series, totaling eight Ks and only two walks in 8.0 innings (1R-9H) … several of his key hits vs. Gamecocks came on lefty-lefty matchups and on 2-strike pitches (one with 2-outs) … hit 2-4 with late-game RBI in series opener … led off bottom of 4th in that game with first-pitch single to right, vs. ace lefthander Michael Roth … faced another veteran LHP, situational reliever Tyler Webb, with bases loaded in 7th and executed 2-out blooper that cut deficit to 2-0 (1-2 pitch) … was Webb’s first batter again in gm-2 and delivered once more, launching0-2 pitch into left for an opposite-field RBI double and 4-3 lead in 7th (final score) … had taken the mound inning earlier, when his quick delivery helped erase Joey Pancake on rally-ending, 2-4 caught-stealing … opened 7th with pair of Ks en route to picking up win, thanks to his own clutch hit moments later (2IP-2H-BB-2K) … part of bullpen group that delivered numerous key moments in series – with those relievers combining to log 10.1 shutout innings (7H-2BB-12K) … helped complete sweep (2-for-4, R) with leadoff single in 6th, sparking three-run surge that produced 6-3 final … that hit was yet another vs. a lefty who had just entered (jr. Nolan Belcher) … opened week by becoming first player in the program’s modern era (since ’79) to start on the mound and in cleanup spot during same game, batting season-best 3-for-4 (3RBI-HR-2B) while logging six strong innings (R-7H-6K) during 9-1 victory over Horizon League favorite Wright State … one day later, helped avert upset bid of in-state foe Murray State (which went on to win series at cb360 #39 Southern Miss) … his pair of hits in that game included 2-out single that preceded Cameron Flynn’s home run to end scoreless game in 6th … batting .386 for season w/ 28 RBI, while compiling 1.83 ERA and 4-0 record, with nearly a strikeout per inning (18K/19.2IP).

PAUL RITZHEIMER
(Murray State … OF … Jr. … Trenton, IL … 9/7-hole … bats: R … #6)

… Hit 7-for-12 from bottom of the order, leading team to series win at cb360 #39 Southern Mississippi (11-6, 7-9, 6-4) … factored into nine of this team’s runs during the series (5 RBI, 4 R) while stroking three doubles (reached base an 8th time on a hit-by-pitch) … had strong game in opener (4-for-5, 2RBI-2R-2 2B) and posted another 2RBI-2R effort in series-clinching finale (2-for-4) … delivered 2-out/2-run double and scored during decisive 4-run top of the 7th in game-3 … hit 9-for-16 (.563) overall during the week, which included a 2-for-4 day (2B) as 7-hole hitter in 2-1 loss at unbeaten Kentucky (rest of team was 4-for-30).

JONATHAN SA
(Texas-Pan American … RHP … Sr. .. Livermore, CA … #30)

… Came through in the clutch with 4.1 strong innings at cb360 #8 Texas A&M, picking up long-relief win over the Aggies after allowing only one run on two hits and no walks (16 batters faced, four strikeouts) … combined with starter Colby McCasland (4.2-R-3H-2BB-K) to hand 5-2 upset on the Aggies.

MARCUS STROMAN
(Duke … RHP … Jr. … Medford, NY … #7)

… Won series opener vs. cb360 #11 Miami, racking up 13 strikeouts while outdueling fellow ace Eric Erickson in 5-1 upset … scattered six hits and a pair of walks over the 7-inning outing … had strikeouts in every inning except the first and struck out nine of the final 14 batters he faced … averaging 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings this season (52 Ks, 33.1 IP).

RYAN TELLA
(Auburn … CF … So … Fremont, CA … 3-hole … bats: L … #4)
… Paced Tigers during SEC series win at cb360 #16 Mississippi (1-2, 10-4, 3-2), batting 7-for-12 (.583) with several key hits … went 3-for-3 with a sac-fly, double and stolen base in tight game-1 loss, then added another 3-hit game and scored a run to help square the series … saved his best for last, while facing a 2-out, 2-2 count in the 9th inning of the series finale … kept Tigers alive with opposite-field double down the leftfield line and came  around to score tying run, as Auburn rallied to take the series … currently ranks second in the talent-rich SEC with a .438 season batting avg. (his .552 on-base is tops in the league).

__________________________________________________________________

all photos courtesy of the respective schools (Reed action photos at top of page)

Drew Bowen (Oral Roberts)

Michael Conforto (Oregon State)

Rob Corsi (Rutgers)

 

Brett Harman (Maryland)

 

Jordy Hart (Utah Valley)

Mark Payton (Texas)

 

Joe Pond (Utah)

Paul Ritzheimer (Murray State)

Jonathan Sa (Texas-Pan American)

Marcus Stroman (Duke)

Ryan Tella (Auburn)

 

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