With plenty on the line during the final week of their teams’ regular season, Rice senior centerfielder Michael Fuda (Katy, Texas) and Wake Forest sophomore righthander Jack Fischer (Hinsdale, Ill.) delivered clutch performances to help solidify NCAA tournament positioning. They are joined by 18 others in comprising the week-14 Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll (full list at bottom of page), with Fuda and Fischer the top honorees as the respective CB360 Primetime Player of the Week and Primetime Pitcher of the Week. front-page photo courtesy of Rice
(Headshots, action shots and player info. for all of the week-14 Primetime honorees are included at the bottom of this page.)
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/postseason qualification, and various situational factors (such as clutch play, all-around performance, leadership, adversity overcome, etc.).
FUDA proved his value as a versatile veteran during a pivotal 3-1 week, as the Owls won midweek at cb360 #40 Sam Houston State (5-0) before winning the showdown series at #18 Central Florida (6-8, 9-2, 5-2) to claim the Conference USA regular-season title while boosting Rice’s chances to be an NCAA Regional host team. The senior centerfielder reached base 10 times during the important week (5 hits, 4 walks and a hit-by-pitch) and had a hand in seven of his team’s runs (4RBI-4R-HR) – while batting from three distinct spots in the batting order (5-hole, 7-hole & 2-hole). His all-around contributions during the week also included three stolen bases and a sacrifice bunt.
In the road win over Southland Conference champion Sam Houston, Fuda contributed a single, HBP, sac-bunt and stolen base. He then singled and scored, along with drawing a pair of walks and a stolen base, in the opener at UCF that stretched over two days. Fuda went on to score twice and drove in three to help square the series, with a home run and walk in that game-2 matchup. He closed the series at UCF by batting 2-for-4 with an RBI, run, walk and stolen base in the title-securing win. Fuda is batting .308 for the season, with a team-best 42 RBI, seven home runs and 12 doubles.
FISCHER delivered the game-2 win (2-1) over cb360 #28 Clemson to clinch that series and secure a spot in the ACC Tournament, with Wake Forest going on to post the series sweep over the potent Tigers for a nice boost to its NCAA resume. The sophomore righthander faced only 29 batters in 7.2 shutout innings, scattering four hits and a pair of walks while striking out three. He carries a 2.77 ERA and 4-4 record into the postseason (.234 opp. batting avg., in 55.1 innings), for a Demon Deacons team that closed the regular season riding a 5-1 run (on the heels of a forgettable 7-error loss at Miami).
The week-14 Primetime Performers include six other starting pitchers: TCU freshman LHP Brandon Finnegan (Ft. Worth, Texas) … LSU sophomore RHP Kevin Gausman (Centennial, Colo.) … Prairie View A&M junior RHP Stef Hernandez (Galveston, Texas) … Sacred Heart sophomore LHP Nick Leiningen (Millwood, N.Y.) … Vanderbilt sophomore RHP T.J. Pecoraro (Dix Hills, N.Y.) … and UC Riverside sophomore LHP Dylan Stuart (Riverside, Calif.). Samford two-way player, RHP/DH C.K. Irby (Florence, Ala.), also is among the week-14 honorees.
Other position players among the week-14 Primetime Performers include: three first basemen – Seton Hall senior Michael Betz (Mine-Hill, N.J.), Utah junior Ethan Leiter (Osceola, Ind.) and Jacksonville (Ala.) State senior Ben Waldrip (Medford, Mass.) … a couple of second basemen, in Mercer sophomore DJ Johnson (Adel, Ga.) and Missouri State senior Kevin Medrano (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) … Mississippi State sophomore shortstop Adam Frazier (Bishop, Ga.) … a trio of third basemen – Arkansas State sophomore Claude Johnson (Pine Bluff, Ark.), Oral Roberts freshman Jose Trevino (Corpus Christi, Texas) and Iowa senior Chett Zeise (Green Bay, Wis.) … plus a couple other outfielders, in addition to Fuda: Central Arkansas junior RF/CF Forrestt Allday (Friendswood, Texas) and College of Charleston junior rightfielder Daniel Aldrich (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.).
The 20 honorees include five seniors, four juniors, nine sophomores and pair of freshmen. Five are natvies of Texas hometowns and two are from Georgia, with the others all hailing from different home states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
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 finish and 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.
• Overcame adversity or extreme circumstances (for the team and/or individual).
• Any accomplishment that is rare, historic, record-setting, etc., on a national level.
(May 14-20, 2012 … presented by CollegeBaseball360.com)
Forrestt Allday (Central Arkansas … RF/CF … Jr. … Friendswood, TX … leadoff … bats: L … #9)
Daniel Aldrich (Coll. of Charleston .. RF .. Jr./So. .. Mt. Pleasant, SC .. cleanup .. bats: L .. #32)
Michael Betz (Seton Hall … 1B … Sr. … Mine-Hill, NJ … 9-hole … bats: L … #26)
Brandon Finnegan (TCU … LHP … Fr. … Ft. Worth, TX … #29)
*Jack Fischer (Wake Forest … RHP … So. … Hinsdale, IL … #15)
Adam Frazier (Mississippi State … SS … So. … Bishop, GA … leadoff … bats: L … #12)
*Michael Fuda (Rice … CF … Sr. … Katy, TX … 5/7/2-hole …. bats: R … #15)
Kevin Gausman (LSU … RHP … So. … Centennial, CO … #12)
Stef Hernandez (Prairie View A&M … RHP … Jr. … Galveston, TX … #10)
C.K. Irby (Samford … RHP/DH … So. … Florence, AL … 6-hole … bats: R … #17)
Claude Johnson (Arkansas State … 3B … So. … Pine Bluff, AR … 5-hole … bats: R … #29)
DJ Johnson (Mercer … 2B … So. … Adel, GA … 9-hole … bats: R … #5)
Nick Leiningen (Sacred Heart … LHP … So. … Millwood, NY … #2)
Ethan Leiter (Utah … 1B … Jr. … Osceola, IN … 8/7-hole … bats: R … #5)
Kevin Medrano (Missouri St. … 2B … Sr. … Lee’s Summit, MO … leadoff/2-hole … bats: L … #13)
T.J. Pecoraro (Vanderbilt … RHP … So. … Dix Hills, NY … #40)
Dylan Stuart (UC Riverside … LHP … So. … Riverside, CA … #5)
Jose Trevino (Oral Roberts … 3B/RHP .. Fr. .. Corpus Christi, TX .. cleanup/3-hole .. bats: R … #5)
Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville, AL, State … 1B … Sr. … Medford, MA … cleanup … bats: L … #40)
Chett Zeise (Iowa … 3B … Sr. … Green Bay, WI … 6-hole/cleanup … bats: R … #18)
* Fuda and Fischer and the CB360 Primetime Player and Pitcher of the Week
Played lead role during 3-1 week that included key midweek win over cb360 #32 Coastal Carolina (9-8, in 12) and then series win at UNC Greensboro (11-6, 8-10, 10-4) to earn share of Southern Conference title (first since 2007) … his 12th-inning single scored Marty Gantt for winning run vs. Coastal, capping a big game that saw him bat 4-for-7 with 3 RBI, a home run and a pair of runs scored … reached base five times during the UNCG series (2H-3BB) and factored into seven of his team’s runs (3RBI-5R-HR) during that closing three-game set … batting .287 with 10 home runs (one off the team lead) and team-best 43 RBI.
Helped knock off cb360 #36 Mississippi State in 2-0 midweek game, then contributed to 13-4 gm-2 win over Soutland Conference champ Sam Houston (cb360 #40), landing UCA in SLC Tournament for first time … reached base three times and scored one of the game’s precious two runs in upset of Mississippi State (2B, 2 BB) …registered big game in win over SHSU, batting 2-for-4 with a walk, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored … batting .331 for season (2nd on squad) with team-leading 49 runs scored and near-.500 on-base pct. (.492) that impressively includes 34 more “free passes” (55 BB, 3 HBP) than strikeouts (24).
Provided clutch offense from bottom of batting order, as Pirates won series – and nearly swept – at BIG EAST leader St. John’s (cb360 #46; 4-1, 4-5 in 12, 5-4 in 11) … scored run in opening win and then crossed the plate twice in gm-2 thriller (1B, BB) … walked and scored as part of 3-run top of the 9th, sending that second game on to extra innings … his contributions in series finale (2-for-5, RBI-R) included leadoff double and scoring the eventual winning run, in top of 11th … had scored only 11 runs all season (in 41 games played) before scoring four times in the showdown series at StJ … directed pitching staff that compiled 3.68 series ERA vs. Red Storm offense that was averaging 6.3 runs per game … the pair of wins helped SHU earn the #3 seed (one win shy of sharing regular-season title), in quest to repeat as BIG EAST Tournament champions.
Helped Frogs solidify their status as a probable regional #2 seed in the upcoming NCAAs, after going toe-for-toe opposite Dillon Overton in winning effort vs. fellow NCAA contender Oklahoma (cb360 #38) … faced only 25 batter while logging seven strong innings in that rare 1-0 battle, with seven strikeouts, one hit allowed, no walks and a hit-batter (also worked around two errors) … owns a 2.68 ERA (3-3 record) while splitting time as starter (8 GP) and reliever (11), with 41 Ks, 20 walks and a .228 opp. batting avg. in 47 innings.
Delivered gm-2 win (2-1) over cb360 #28 Clemson to clinch series and secure spot in ACC Tournament, with WFU going on to post series sweep for nice boost to its NCAA resume … faced only 29 batters in 7.2 shutout innings, scattering four hits and a pair of walks (3 Ks) … carries a 2.77 ERA and 4-4 record into the postseason (.234 opp. batting avg., in 55.1 innings).
Continued to provide solid contribution from leadoff spot, setting table during sweep of SEC series vs. cb360 #9 Kentucky (3-1, 4-3, 11-3) … reached base seven times during the pivotal series (5-for-12, 2 BB) … went 2-for-4 with a walk in tight second game, then helped complete sweep by batting 2-for-4 with another walk, a pair or RBI and a run scored in the finale … lone bright spot during midweek upset loss vs. upstart Central Arkansas (2-0), batting 3-for-3 with a walk (rest of team was 5-for-30 with no walks) … played error-free at shortstop throughout the week, in 14 fielding chances … leads team with .360 batting average and lofty .475 on-base pct. that includes more than twice as many “free-passes” (45 BB, 3 HBP) as strikeouts (21), plus team-best 39 runs scored and 14 doubles (one off the team lead).
Valuable and versatile veteran who hit in three different lineup spots (5/7/2) during pivotal 3-1 week, as Owls won at cb360 #40 Sam Houston State midweek (5-0) before winning showdown series at #18 Central Florida (6-8, 9-2, 5-2) to claim Conference USA regular-season title while boosting Rice’s chances to be an NCAA Regional host team … reached base 10 times during the important week (5-14, 4 BB, HBP) while having a hand in seven of his team’s runs (4RBI-4R-HR) … his all-around contributions included three stolen bases and a sacrifice bunt … had a single, HBP, sac and SB in win at Sam Houston … singled and scored, along with pair of walks and stolen base, in opener at UCF that stretched over two days … scored twice and drove in three to help square the series, with a home run and walk … closed 2-for-4 with RBI, run, walk and stolen base in title-securing win … batting .308 with team-best 42 RBI (7 HR, 12 2B).
Elite draft prospect who came through in SEC title-deciding series at South Carolina, outdueling Gamecocks veteran ace Michael Roth en route to complete-game victory (5-2) that sparked Tigers on to winning the key road series (4-5, 3-2 in 10) and ultimately earning top seed in SEC Tournament … faced 35 batters while allowing the pair of runs on five hits, two walks and a hit batter, with six strikeouts (bringing his season K total to 118, in 100.2 innings) … averaging 10.6 Ks per 9 innings, with a 5.1 K-to-walk ratio (23 BB) … owns a 2.86 ERA and 9-1 record, with a .229 opp. batting avg.
Came through in team’s biggest game of the season, going the distance in SWAC winners-bracket game vs. top seed Jackson State (2-0) – sparking Prairie View on to tournament title and NCAA automatic bid (program’s third all-time NCAA trip and first since 2007) … faced 31 batters while allowing only four hits and one walk, with 23 of his outs coming via strikeouts (5), groundballs (17, including a double-play) or pickoffs (1) … also served as DH during SWAC tournament, with a single, RBI and run scored in opening win (14-4 vs. Alabama State) and the same stat line during 8-5 win over Texas Southern while reaching on a hit-by-pitch and executing sac-bunt during 7-4 final vs. Mississippi Valley State … converted infielder who has posted six wins this season, with 45 Ks and a .237 opp. batting avg. in 66 innings … also batting .271 as a part-time positionplayer.
Two-way talent who logged five solid innings (R-H-BB-2K) in 12-7 midweek win over cb360 #3 Florida whole also batting 2-for-5 with three key RBI vs. the Gators – on a bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the 1st … went on to help Bulldogs win series opener at cb360 #38 Oklahoma (4–2), further boosting Samford’s chances at an NCAA at-large bid … reached twice (1B, BB) and scored a valuable run in that tight gm-1 vs. the Sooners … ranks second in team with .332 batting avg., plus 45 RBI and 22 extra-base hits (4 HR, 4 3B, 14 2B) … has compiled 1.78 ERA, nine saves and 4-1 record in 25 appearances (3 starts; 23 Ks and .192 opp. batting in 30.1 innings).
Went 4-for-4 while having a hand in four of hits team’s runs (RBI, 3R, 2B, BB) to lead 10-5 upset of cb360 #26 Mississippi … also helped surging Red Wolves close regular season with sweep at Arkansas-Little Rock (10-5, 8-5, 10-8) to nearly share Sun Belt Conference regular-season title (Arkansas State finished 19-9, but FAU ended up 19-8 after a final-day rainout vs. FIU) … reached base five times during UALR series (with two RBI and pair of runs scored) … played error-free at the hot corner during 4-0 week … closed regular season with team-best .355 batting avg. (23 RBI, 21 runs, 21 walks, 16 doubles).
Turned in impressive week while batting out of the 9-hole, as Bears upset cb360 #33 Georgia Tech (4-3) before sweeping Atlantic-Sun leader South Carolina State (7-6 in 14, 18-7, 5-2) to further jumble race for A-Sun regular-season title (Belmont ended up finishing first, after the other three contenders all lost on final day, with Mercer claiming 4th) … hit at a .706 clip during the week (12-for-17) while having a hand in 11 of his team’s runs (6 RBI, 5 R) … executed three sacrifice bunts during the week, including an 8th-inning suicide squeeze that provided the final 4-3 margin vs. Georgia Tech (also had a single earlier in that game) … earned rare distinction of posting consecutive 5-hit games … opened series vs. Upstate by hitting 5-for-6 (2 RBI, 2 R, sac), capped by game-ending single in the 14th … returned to hit 5-for-5 in gm-2 (3 RBI, 2 R, 2B) and 1-for-3 in finale (run, sac) … played error-free during the week, spanning 20 fielding chances at second base … has boosted his batting avg. over .300 (.303), with 23 RBI and 28 runs scored … key part of Mercer’s 13-1 surge for 37-19 record (most regular-season wins in program history).
Part of an impressive Sacred Heart pitching performance during the Northeast Conference Tournament, turning in his team’s second of three straight complete-game wins as Pioneers won to earn return trip to the NCAAs … won the pivotal winners-bracket game, 6-0 vs. top seed Monmouth, after facing only 31 batters with five hits and one walk allowed (5 Ks) … a year earlier, Sacred Heart won the NEC tournament with three complete games (the final two vs. Monmouth) and that scenario repeated itself this season (at same venue, Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn.) … Troy Scribner opened the 2012 tournament with 3-2 win over #3 seed Central Connecticut (7H-9K) while Kody Kerski delivered the title in final 5-1 win over Monmouth (5H-2BB-3K) … has team-best eight complete games this season (4.12 ERA, 6-5, .254 opp. batting avg.).
Led resurgent offense in Missouri Valley showdown series at cb360 #31 Indiana State, with Bears winning final two games for key boost to their NCAA at-large resume (3-6, 7-5, 5-0) … hit .500 during the week (7-for-14, 3R, BB, 2B) while playing error-free on 15 fielding chances at second base … closed series with consecutive 3-hit games, as part of team’s 28 total hits spanning the final two games … hit 3-for-4 with a walk and run scored in series-tying second game … opened finale 3-for-4 – including his 300th career hit, which sparked 2-run rally in the 7th … stands 16 shy of tying the Missouri State record for career hits … leads team with .332 batting avg. (22 RBI, 33 runs, 11 stolen bases).
His miseason return from Tommy John reconstructive elbow ligament surgery has helped spark Vanderbilt team that became NCAA tournament eligible (by clinching finish above .500), following series sweep of cb360 #26 Mississippi (3-0, 6-2, 6-3) … went the distance (opposite Ole Miss ace Bobby Wahl) to deliver gm-1 win, after facing only 32 batters with five hits and no walks allowed … became first Vanderbilt pitcher since 2010 to register a solo shutout … allowed only three Rebels baserunners into scoring position while throwing first-pitch strikes to 27 batters … had only three strikeouts but retired seven others on 1-pitch outs … closed game strong, facing only 10 batters over final three innings … underwent elbow surgery at end of 2011 season, following impressive freshman season … returned to action on March 24 of this season and has made 10 appearances (six starts) while holding opponents to .238 batting, in 40.1 innings.
Closed series at cb360 #15 Cal State Fullerton by matching Grahamm Wiest with complete-game effort in rare 1-0 battle, emerging on the winning end after fashioning 6-hit shutout to give UCR the series … the two wins by the Highlanders set up a final-week showdown for the Big West title between Fullerton and Long Beach State … faced 33 batters while walking only two, with a pair of strikeouts in the 128-pitch outing … has surrendered only one earned run over his past three starts (24 innings) … owns 3.77 season ERA, with 7-6 record and .268 opp. batting avg.
Homered twice while batting .538 (8-for-15, 5 RBI) and playing error-free at third base (on 17 fielding chances), as preseason favorite ORU took series from contender North Dakota State (5-1, 4-5, 3-2, 10-0) while also holding off Oakland to win Summit League regular-season title … opened series by hitting 4-for-4 (3 RBI, HR) and pitching 1-2-3 frame in the 9th … homered again in gm-2 (2-4, 2RBI), setting the ORU record for HR by a freshman (12) … his 50 RBI are two shy of tying that ORU freshman record … second on team with .321 batting avg. (16 doubles).
Imposing 6-foot-6, 245-pound lefthanded hittter who amassed an eye-popping 2.000 OPS (.667 on-base plus 1.333 slugging) during 3-1week that included 8-7 win at NCAA hopeful Auburn … his career-best week featured 11-for-18 batting, 24 total bases (3 HR, 3B, 2 2B), 14 times on-base (2 BB, HBP) and having a hand in 15 of his team’s runs (8RBI-10R-3HR) … homered as part of his 3-for-5 night (2RBI-3R) in JVSU’s second win this season over Auburn … helped secure team’s 3rd-place Ohio Valley finish with pair of wins over Eastern Illinois (7-2, 15-3) … hit 2-for-4 with two runs scored in each of the first two games of that series … legged out first triple of season in gm-2 win … closed regular season with big effort vs. EIU, batting 4-for-5 with a walk, a pair of home runs (one a grand-slam), 6 RBI and 3 runs scored … batting .333 with team-best 18 home runs and 55 RBI (13 doubles, 20 walks).
Enjoyed solid all-around week, as Hawkeyes posted 5-4 midweek win at Creighton before taking 2-of-3 from Big Ten reglar-season champion and cb360 #10 Purdue (8-11, 6-1, 7-6) … supplied pivotal 3-run HR for eventual winning margin in gm-2 vs. Boilers … closed series by batting 4-for-5 with an RBI and run scored … earlier had tripled and scored in series opener (also reached on a walk in gm-2) … his 2-run double and run scored provided spark for late rally from 4-0 deficit to beat Creighton … played error-free at hot corner during week (10 fielding chances), with several stellar defesnsive plays … the wins over Purdue were Iowa’s first victories over a ranked opponent since 2009 … batting .274 with 25 RBI, 25 runs scored, 4 home runs, 14 doubles and 10 stolen bases.
Action photos below (and above) courtesy of the respective schools.