As the calendar flipped to April and teams ventured into the second half of the 2015 college baseball season, individual contributions to team success took on even greater importance for various NCAA Tournament resumes. The 11 players showcased on this page comprise the CB360 Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll for the eighth week of the 2015 season (March 30–April 5) – headlined by a pair of Illinois products in Missouri freshman righthander Tanner Houck (Collinsville) and Louisville sophomore outfielder Corey Ray (Chicago), the respective CB360 National Primetime Pitcher and Player of the Week.
front-page photo of Corey Ray courtesy of Louisville Athletics
Scroll down for headshots, action photos and player info. on each of the 11 week–8 Primetime Performers, covering games played during the first week of April.
In addition to Houck and Ray, the nine other members of the CB360 week-8 Primetime Performers include: Oklahoma State jr. CF/RHP Corey Hassel (Stillwater, OK) … Michigan State sr. 1B Ryan Krill (Kalamazoo, MI) … Maryland jr. catcher Kevin Martir (Brooklyn, NY) … Washington State sr. LHP Joe Pistorese (Kalipell, MT) … Texas Tech sr. LHP Cameron Smith (Seabrook, TX) … USC sr. LF Bobby Stahel (Needles, CA) … Stetson jr. LF Vance Vizcaino (Raleigh, NC) … Missouri State jr. RHP Bryan Young (Kansas City, MO) … and Cincinnati so. RHP Andrew Zellner (Farmersville, OH).
HOUCK extended his stellar rookie season in a dominating outing against Florida (cb360 #4) that helped tie that series, with the Tigers going on to win the weekend matchup (1–5, 10–1, 5–3) – Mizzou’s first series win over a top-5 opponent since 2008. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound lanky right-hander retired 21 of the first 22 batters he faced and logged seven shutout innings, ultimately allowing a lone run in his 8th and final inning. He faced only 28 batters, with no walks and four hits allowed (three of them singles, one a bunt and another that went through the infield).
In his shutout against the Gators, Houck continued to showcase his tremendous control, locating 73 of 101 pitches for strikes while keeping 21 of his 24 outs in the infield (six strikeouts, 13 groundball outs, a lineout to third and a popup to short). He did not work to any three-ball counts during the entire outing. Houck’s only hit allowed before the 8th came on Richie Martin’s 2-out double to right-center in the 4th (he was stranded at second). He ultimately allowed only three runners into scoring position (one via a passed ball) and two that reached third base.
RAY – who manned both corner outfield spots during the week – turned in impressive three-game span by batting at a .600 clip (9-for-15) with 20 total bases and a 1.333 slugging pct. that included a pair of home runs, a triple and three doubles. The lefthanded-batting 3-hole hitter also factored directly into 13 of Louisville’s runs during the week (9 RBI, 6 runs, 2 HR) while snagging a pair of stolen bases to round out his all-around damage.
In a 16–5 midweek win over Miami (Ohio), Ray delivered all of the extra-base hits (but lacked the single for the cycle), batting 3-for-5 with four RBI while also scoring three times, Then, in the series opener at Virginia (cb360 #19), Ray launched the first grand slam of his career, connecting on a one-out, 1–1 pitch from UVa ace Nathan Kirby and pulling it over the rightfield fence for a 6–1 lead (ending Kirby’s day). The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Ray also singled in that game–1 win, then hit 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles the next day (RBI, 2R, 2 SB) in 11–4 win that clinched the series. Louisville went on to sweep the series with a 4–0 Monday win.
The 11 week–8 Primetime Performer honorees include: six pitchers (two of them LHPs, plus a centerfielder/extra-inning emergency RH reliever), along with one catcher, a first basemen, two leftfielders and another corner outfielder. There are four seniors and four juniors, a pair of sophomores and one freshmen. Two of the week–8 Primetime Performers (Hock and Ray) hail from Illinois hometowns, plus one each from: California, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas
… As a reminder, the CB360 Primetime Performers often are a departure from most conference and national weekly awards – with an emphasis placed on quality of opponent, contribution to team success, significance of results, consistency of play, etc. Position players are evaluated not solely based on batting avg., home runs and RBI, but also for absence of costly negative stats such as strikeouts and errors. For starting pitchers, extenuating circumstances (such as first career start, quality of the opposing starter, etc.) can play a role in selection to the Primetime Performers.
Ideally, the members of the Primetime Performers Honor Roll all have played a role in games that likely will have a significant impact on determining the 2015 NCAA tournament field – i.e key results, for notable teams.
CB360 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 at 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 other extenuating circumstances that make the individual’s accomplishments more noteworthy.
• Any performance that is rare, historic, record-setting, etc., on a national level.
CB360 PRIMETIME PERFORMERS WEEKLY HONOR ROLL #8 (2015)
(for week of March 30–April 5, 2015 … presented by CollegeBaseball360.com)
“It’s not so much what you do, as it is when you do it.”
COREY HASSEL (Oklahoma St .. CF/RHP .. Jr .. Stillwater, OK .. 5–10/175 .. bats: R .. 6-hole .. #28)
*TANNER HOUCK (Missouri … RHP … Fr. … Collinsville, IL … 6–5/200 … #11)
RYAN KRILL (Michigan State … 1B … Sr. … Kalamazoo, MI … 6–4/235 … bats: L … 2-hole … #22)
KEVIN MARTIR (Maryland … C … Jr. … Brooklyn, NY … 5–11/215 … bats: R … 3-hole … #32)
JOE PISTORESE (Washington State … LHP … Sr. … Kalipell, MT … 6–2/175 … #31)
*COREY RAY (Louisville … RF/LF … So. … Chicago, IL … 5–11/185 … bats: L … 3-hole … #2)
CAMERON SMITH (Texas Tech … LHP … Sr. … Seabrook, TX … 6–0/155 … #20)
BOBBY STAHEL (USC … LF … Sr./Jr. … Needles, CA … 5–10/190 … bats: R … leadoff … #4)
VANCE VIZCAINO (Stetson … LF … Jr./So. … Raleigh, NC … 6–3/210 … bats: L … 2-hole … #29)
BRYAN YOUNG (Missouri State … RHP … Jr./So. … Kansas City, MO … 6–1/215 … #13)
ANDREW ZELLNER (Cincinnati … RHP … So. … Farmersville, OH … 6–3/180 … #11)
* Houck is the CB360 National Primetime Pitcher of the Week and Ray the Primetime Player of the Week.
All photos are courtesy of the respective schools.
Extra-innings hero – first on the mound, and then at the plate – in epic, 18-inning series opener vs. Texas (cb360 #20), logging three shutout innings before ending game (6–3) with a 2-out, 3-run home run (sparking Cowboys on to huge series sweep) … Stillwater hometown hero who had been used mostly as a lategame defensive replacement and pinch-runner during the 2013 and ’14 seasons … prior to the clutch outing vs. the Longhorns, he had logged only two pitching appearances (both 1.0 inning, in ’14 and ’15) during his college career … centerfielder and 6-hole hitter who had three productive plate appearances in the marathon game that spanned nearly seven hours (6:51), scoring twice after a pair of hits while also executing a sacrifice bunt … led off 2nd inning in series opener with single through right side and scored on Kevin Bradley’s home run for early 2–0 lead … later executed sacrifice bunt, but that runner Dustin Williams ultimately was thrown out at the plate … called on as Cowboys ninth pitcher of the game and proceeded to face only 10 batters spanning the 16th–18th innings, with three strikeouts and one hit allowed … retired the first five batters he faced (three straight via Ks) before a Brooks Marlow 2-out single up the middle in the 17th (stranded at second) … located 26 of his 41 pitches for strikes … bottom of the 18th included Gage Green’s 1-out/full-count walk, a two-out stolen base and Hunter Hagler being hit by a 3–0 pitch … fell behind in the count against Andy McQuire (who had entered before the HBP) before pulling 1–2 pitch over leftfield fence for dramatic end to the draining game (it was only his second home run of the season/in his college career) … in gm–2, delivered sac. bunt as pinch hitter in 8th inning but Cowboys were unable to add insurance run, stranding a pair in eventual 3–1 win … closed series with a pair of hits and squeeze bunt during 8–3 sweeping victory … that squeeze bunt capped 3-run bottom of the 3rd, for 4–2 lead and eventual decisive margin in 8–3 finale … also singled during midweek game vs. in-state rival and Summit League favorite Oral Roberts (ORU won 4–2) … has made the most of his first season as a starter, ranking second on team with .326 batting avg. (16 RBI, 2 HR, 7 sac. bunts, 5 stolen bases) … was a standout baseball and football player (wide receiver/safety) at Stillwater High School.
Lanky righthander who extended his stellar rookie season with dominating outing against Florida (cb360 #4) that helped tie series, with Tigers going on to win the weekend matchup (1–5, 10–1, 5–3) – Mizzou’s first series win over a top-5 opponent since 2008 … retired 21 of the first 22 he faced and logged seven shutout innings, ultimately allowing a lone run in his 8th and final inning … faced only 28 batters, with no walks and four hits allowed (three of them singles, one a bunt and another that went through the infield) … continued to showcase his tremendous control, locating 73 of 101 pitches for strikes while keeping 21 of his 24 outs in the infield (six strikeouts, 13 groundball outs, a lineout to third and a popup to short) and not working to any three-ball counts during the entire outing … his only hit allowed before the 8th came on Richie Martin’s 2-out double to right-center in the 4th (stranded at second) … Florida’s three hits in the 8th included Buddy Reed’s leadoff bunt and a later single through the infield … ultimately allowed only three runners into scoring position (one via a passed ball) and two that reached third base … joined junior college newcomer Reggie McClain (three-time SEC pitcher of the week) as Missouri pitchers who already have big-game efforts already this season … his 2.70 overall ERA ranks 14th among SEC pitchers while his 46 Ks are 11th … leads staff in wins (5–1, spanning eight starts) while amassing nearly a 10-to-1 K-to-walk radio (46/5), with nine more innings pitched than hits allowed (56.2, 48 H and .231 opp. batting avg.) … has posted multiple walks in only one of his eight starts … Midwest product from Collinsville (Ill.) High School.
Veteran big bopper who homered thee times during five-game week, as Spartans closed key Big Ten series vs. Illinois (cb360 #18) and later registered impressive sweep at  Oregon (2–1, 9–4, 7–4) … reached base 14 times during the week while batting .429 (9-for-21, plus five free passes) and factoring directly into 14 of the MSU runs (9 RBI, 8 runs, 3 HR) … racked up a 1.465 OPS for the week (.560 on-base plus .905 slugging pct.), with his 19 total bases also including a double while his times on base featured four walks and one hit-by-pitch … in rare Monday series finale vs. the Illini, he homered, doubled and singled while driving in or scoring six of the nine Spartans runs (5 RBI, 2 R; MSU lost, 6–9) … his four multiple-hit games during the week (he had 3 BB in the game without multi hits) included going 2-for-4 midweek in 10–5 loss at Eastern Michigan (2 runs, BB) … in series opener at Oregon, walked three times and scored crucial tying run in the 8th (drew leadoff walk and scored on Blaise Salter single) – with Spartans winning 2–1, in 11 … the next day, delivered with two outs in top of the 3rd, pulling 3–1 pitch over rightfield wall for 2–2 deadlock (he later reached on a single and HBP, with MSU winning 9–4) … in series finale, singled and scored on Salter’s three-run blast as part of 4-run top of the 1st … later added another 2-run shot, to right-center in the 4th, for 7–3 lead in eventual 9–4 series sweeper … batting .261 for the season (16 RBI, 4 HR) with a +5 plate-discipline ratio (17 BB+2 HBP-14 Ks) … fourth-year starter who was key member of MSU’s 2012 NCAA Tournament team (.293, 28 RBI, 3 HR) … one of top-ranked prep players in the state of Michigan, while starring in three sports (also as football tight end and in basketball) at Portage High School … lower-round 2011 MLB Draft selection (by in-state team Detroit Tigers) … father Joseph Krill played Division I football at Western Michigan University.
Reached base nine times (with 13 total bases, plus a pair of walks) during 4–0 week for the Terps, highlighted by multiple hits in each game of Big Ten showdown series sweep against Nebraska team (cb360 #23) that was coming off its own noteworthy series sweep (vs. Texas) … doubled and also reached via a walk during 3–0 midweek win over James Madison … doubled twice more, with an RBI and run scored, in 8–3 series opener versus the Huskers … followed with another 2-hit game (plus two runs scored) from his key 3-hole spot in the lineup, as Terps clinched series with 8–3 victory … in series finale, his solo home run in bottom of 4th sparked comeback from 5–0 deficit en route to 6–5 win … also drew walk in the 7th, moments after his teammates had tied game–3, and then delivered 1-out single to left field – as part of the decisive rally (his hit advanced Kevin Smith to second, with Smith going on to score the gamewinner) … ranks second on 2015 team with .376 batting avg. (5 HR, 25 RBI, 10 doubles) … also has compiled an impressive +10 plate-discipline ratio (17 BB + 6 HBP – 13 Ks) … third-year starter whose 2014 season (.269, 26 RBI, 4 HR) included earning spot on ACC All-Tournament Team (.462, 4 RBI, 2 HR) before helping Terps win Regional at South Carolina and ending season in Super Regional at Virginia, the eventual CWS runner-up … hit .279 as a freshman (30 RBI) … New York City product who initially played at Xaverian High School before transfer to Grand Street Campus.
Veteran lefthander who went the distance in 4–0 second game at California (cb360 #21), clinching the series for WSU … faced only 32 batters and could have been fewer, as two runners reached on infield errors (plus 4 hits, 1 walk) … located 72% of his pitches for strikes (95 of 132) in the long outing, with his 27 outs including six strikouts, 11 groundball outs, six outfield flyouts and three infield popups/lineouts (plus one thrown own trying to stretch a base) … did not yield an extra-base hit and allowed only two runners past second base (one initially had reached on an error) en route to his third complete game of the season … has compiled a 2.68 ERA and 4–3 record in eight 2015 starts (32 Ks, 9 BB in 39.2 innings, with 43 H/.247 opp. avg.) … fourth-year starter who logged 98 innings as a junior (3.31; 4–3), after going 100.1 in 2013 (2.78; 5–5, 61 Ks) … his freshman season included a 2.44 ERA and 4–3 record (66.1 IP) … lower-round MLB Draft selection in 2011 (White Sox) … lettered in baseball and basketball at Flathead High School in Montana.
Turned in impressive three-game span by batting at a .600 clip (9-for-15) with 20 total bases and a 1.333 slugging pct. that included a pair of home runs, a triple and three doubles … also factored directly into 13 of Louisville’s runs during the week (9 RBI, 6 runs, 2 HR) while snagging a pair of stolen bases to round out his all-around damage … delivered all of the extra-base hits (but lacked the single for the cycle) in 16–5 midweek win over Miami (Ohio), batting 3-for-5 with 4 RBI while also scoring three times … in series opener at Virginia (cb360 #19), launched first grand slam of his career, connecting on a one-out, 1–1 pitch from UVa ace Nathan Kirby and pulling it over the rightfield fence for 6–1 lead (ending Kirby’s day) … also singled in that game–1 win, then hit 4-for-5 the next day (RBI, 2R, 2 2B, 2 SB) in 11–4 win that clinched the series … Louisville went on to sweep the series with a 4–0 Monday win … ranks second in 2015 team with .326 batting avg. while owning team best totals in home runs (5), RBI (32), slugging (.541) and stolen bases (15) … his 16 extra-base hits also include eight doubles and three triples … hit .325 as a freshman in 2014 (17 RBI, HR), emerging as a lateseason starter … was a later-round 2013 MLB Draft selection, by the Seattle Mariners … Chicago-area product who starred at Simeon Career Academy and played in the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field.
Went the distance to tie series versus fellow 2014 CWS program TCU (cb360 #2), working around five hits, a pair of walks and two runners that reached via errors en route to huge 5–1 win for Red Raiders team that has produced uneven results in recent weeks … retired the side three times in the 134-pitch outing (88 strikes) … his 27 outs included six strikeouts, 12 groundball outs, three infield popups and six flyouts … has compiled a 2.74 ERA, 4–2 record and one save in his eight 2015 appearances (seven starts), with 42 Ks, 14 walks and 46 hits allowed in 49.1 innings (.245 opp. batting avg.) … earned 2014 honorable mention All-Big 12 recognition (2.79, 8–3, 44 Ks in 67.2) – highlighted by his shutout win against host Miami to win that NCAA Regional (the Red Raiders ultimately went on to reach the College World Series) … product of New Mexico Junior College and Clear Lake High School.
Led the way in Trojans series sweep at Arizona (cb360 #25), batting at a .643 clip (9-for-14) with five RBI and six runs scored as USC won 4–1, 13–6 and 10–9 … opened series with single and run scored, adding another single in that gm–1 victory … followed up with big game–2, batting 4-for-5 (2 RBI) and scoring three times in that decisive series clincher … closed series with a couple key RBI, also scoring twice, while batting 3-for-5 with a double in that tight series finale … kept pace with the nation’s top hitters, ranking fourth in Division I with a .438 season batting avg. (plus 21 RBI, 12 extra-base hits, a .578 slugging pct. and six stolen bases) … hit .235 in limited duty during 2014 season, after making 30 starts in 2013 (.273), one year after utilizing redshirt season in 2012 … three-year prep All-American while starring at Palos Verdes High School, where he led the nation in stolen bases as a sophomore (88) and as a junior (93).
First-year transfer who has made a big impact for the Hatters in 2015, most recently by batting .600 (9-for-15) in 4–0 week while extending his hitting streak to 10 games (with multiple hits in eight straight) … hit 2-for-4 in 6–3 midweek win over South Florida (cb360 #45) … tied a school record with five stolen bases in 6–1 series-opening win over Kennesaw State team that was picked to win the Atlantic Sun Conference and is coming off an historic 2014 season … first Stetson player since 1980 with five stolen bases in a game (first A-Sun player since ’08 with 5-plus SBs in a game) … reached base five times (3-for-3, BB, HBP) and scored three times in that game–1 win vs. Kennesaw … followed with a 2-for-4 effort (RBI, double, sac. bunt) in gm–2, as Hatters won 6–2 to clinch series … also hit 2-for-4 and scored in series-sweep 8–5 finale … batting .500 (19-for-38) in his active 10-game hitting streak and has been held hitless only four times in 2015 … leads team with .351 batting avg. (27 RBI, 10 2B, 3 3B, 8 SB) … played in 27 games (.213, 10 RBI) as a freshman at the University of Tennessee in 2013, before taking a year off from college baseball … was a later-round 2014 MLB Draft pick (by the K.C. Royals; also was drafted by the N.Y. Mets in 2012) … North Carolina product, from Wakefield High School … his father Reyes Vizcaino – currently the National Scouting Supervisor for the Kansas City Royals – played college baseball at Indian River JC and Valdosta State, followed by a pro career in the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates systems … Vance’s mother Debra Holmes played volleyball at Wake Forest (her father Greg Holmes had played played football, basketball and baseball at Rutgers).
Entered three high-pressure games and closed the deal each time, picking up a pair of saves and the win in a 10-inning game – with his totals for the week including 4.1 no-hit/no-walk shutout innings, with six strikeouts and only 14 total batters faced (one over the minimum) … kept the ball in the infield for all but two of his batters faced – with the six Ks plus four groundball outs, a popup and the lone baserunner reaching on an E5 (throwing), along with a pair of flyouts … helped the Bears escape trouble for 2–0 midweek win at Arkansas, closing the deal on Missouri State’s first win over the Razorbacks in nine years (and first shutout vs. Arkansas since 1969) … entered that game with runners on second and third in the 8th, blowing a 1–2 pitch by Rick Nomura to end the threat – follow by a 1–2–3 bottom of the 9th (with two more Ks and a groundout) … saved 5–4 series opener in Missouri Valley Conference showdown versus Dallas Baptist (cb360 #15) … entered in the 8th with DBU runners on the corners and rolled up the rally-ending 5–3 groundout, then closed it out with another 1–2–3 effort in the 9th (F7–KS–3U) … pitcher of record in second game vs. the Patriots (4–3, in 10), with his 1.2 innings including two more Ks and a pair of groundouts … has recoded five saves while winning all three of his decisions so far in 2015, with a 2.12 ERA spanning 17.0 innings (17 Ks, 4 BB, 17 H/.250 opp. avg.) … saw his 2014 season cut short by mid-season injury (3.63, 2–2 in 9 GP) … utilized redshirt season in 2013 … Kansas City product from Staley High School.
Usual starting pitcher who converted to closer role for series vs. UCF (cb360 #8) and delivered saves in first two games (4–1, 5–3), logging 5.0 shutout innings in the process with five strikeouts, no walks and four hits allowed (all singles, one that stayed in the infield and two others that were slapped through the infield) … part of Bearcats picking staff that allowed only six runs in the series, against UCF squad that ranked among the top–5 nationally in several key offensive stats … closed series opener with 3.0 shutout innings, working around a pair of singles through the infield thanks to five strikeouts (plus a double-play groundball, a popup to shortstop and a flyout) … his 2.0 shutout frames to close game–2 featured three groundball outs and a lineout snared by the shortstop (one of the two singles went to third base) … his 2015 season totals include a 1.17 ERA and 2–0 record in 10 appearances (7 starts), with 27 Ks, 17 walks and 32 hits allowed (.227 opp. avg.) in 38.1 innings … made 10 starts and three relief appearances as a freshman in 2014 (4–4, 21 Ks in 50.1) … in-state product from Valley View High School, where he also lettered multiple years in football and basketball.