Rice Rookie Pitcher Kubitza, Utah First Baseman Cron Lead Week-3 CB360 Primetime Performers

March 8, 2011

Rice freshman righthander Austin Kubitza (Colleyville, Texas) and Utah junior first baseman  C.J. Cron (Phoenix, Ariz.) headline the week-3 CB360 Primetime Performers for Division I baseball, with Cron the Ptimetime Player of the Week and Kubitza the Primetime Pitcher for the week of Feb. 28-March 6, as selected by CollegeBaseball360.com.  front-page photo courtesy of Rice

Utah's C.J. Cron

Rice's Austin Kubitza

Eight other players from around the nation  round out the week-3 Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll (see below).

Kubitza rose to the challenge against an historical rival while pitching on the big stage of Minute Maid Park (home of the Houston Astros). The 6-5, 200-pound righthander went the distance in a tense 1-0 battle with Texas A&M (cb360 #15), outdueling A&M’s Michael Wacha (who went 7.0 innings, 1R-5H-BB-7K). Kubitza faced only 31 batters – four over the minimum – while scattering six hits and allowing no bases-on-balls.

Over the course of the solo shutout, Kubitza erased two baserunners (on a caught-stealing and double-play), with 19 of his other 24 outs coming via groundouts (12) or strikeouts (7). The Heritage High School product never reached a 2-0 count, working quickly for a final pitch-count of 88 (66 for strikes, or 75%). Only three Aggies batters reached base over the final six innings, as Kubitza went on to earn MVP honors among the elite collection of teams at the Houston College Classic.

Rice's Austin Kubitza had plenty to cheer about while going the distance in a thrilling 1-0 win over #15 Texas A&M (6H, 7K, 31 BF, 88 pitches).

Kubitza had men on the corners in 2nd inning but rolled up a groundout to escape the threat. One inning later, A&M’s Krey Bratsen singled and stole second – but Kubitza served up a groundball back to the mound for the final out. The Owls then threw out an attempted base-stealer in the 4th (2-4) and Kubitza rolled up a 4-6-3 double play to erase Bratesen in the 8th.

Cron led the way for an upstart Utah squad that upset two CB360 top-50 teams and nearly went undefeated, during other action at the Houston Challenge Classic. The Utes opened the tournament by edging #15 Texas A&M (2-1), followed by another one-run win (4-3 vs. #31 Baylor) before losing a 2-1 game to Kentucky. Over the course of those three pressure-packed games, the 6-4/230-pound, righthanded-hitting Cron hit 5-for-9 while driving in four of his team’s seven runs. The 3-hole batter reached base eight times in the three games (also two walks and a hit-by-pitch), adding a sacrifice fly to his productive weekend.

C.J. Cron led Utah to narrow wins over #15 Texas A&M (2-1) and #31 Baylor (4-3), batting 5-for-9 (4RBI, 2BB, HBP, SF) at the Houston Challenge for a Utes (1-2 vs. Kentucky) that nearly went unbeaten.

Cron reached base four times in the opening win over A&M, batting 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and a key RBI in that one-run win. The Aggies opted to pitch around him in the 7th, with Cron’s intentional walk preceding the go-ahead hit that yielded the final 2-1 margin. His pair of RBI the next day against Baylor (2-for-5) including the game-tying hit in the 5th, with the Utes adding another run for the game’s final run in that 4-3 battle.

In the tough loss against Kentucky, Cron played Utah’s only run with a linedrive down the left-field line that ended up being a sacrifice fly (1-for-2, HBP). The Mountain Pointe High School product is batting a team-best .444, with 9 RBI, 3 runs scored, 3 home runs, 3 walks, 3 HBP and a stolen base comprising his strong all-around start to the 2011 season.

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 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 eight members of the week-3 CB360 Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll include: St. Mary’s jr. RHP Mark Anderson (Tempe, AZ) … UConn jr. RHP Matt Barnes (Bethel, CT) … Florida State so. 1B Jayce Boyd (Contonment, FL) … Cal State Bakersfield jr. RHP Tommy Hoenshell (Orange County, CA) …  Nebraska so. 2B Bryan Peters (Ft. Collins, CO) … Florida so. RHP Hudson Randall (Atlanta, GA) … Long Beach State jr. RHP Shawn Stuart (Turlock, CA) … and Texas Arlington fr. LF/3B/2B Ryan Walker (Arlington, TX).

The 10 honorees include six pitchers (all RHPs), plus a pair of first basemen, a second baseman and an outfielder/infielder utility player. The group features five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen – with the 10 hailing from seven different home states: two each from Arizona, California and Texas, plus one each from Colorado, Connecticut, Florida and Georgia.

(week of Feb. 28-March 6, 2011 … 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
Mark Anderson (St. Mary’s … RHP … Jr. … Tempe, AZ … 6-3/195 … #24)
Matt Barnes (Connecticut … RHP … Jr. … Bethel, CT … 6-4/205 … #26)
Jayce Boyd (Florida St…1B… So…Contonment, FL…6-3/185…Bats: R…5-hole…#16
*C.J. Cron (Utah … 1B … Jr. … Phoenix, AZ … 6-4/230 … 3-hole … #24)
Tommy Hoenshell (CS Bakersfield…RHP…Jr…Orange County, CA…6-6/220 …#55)
*Austin Kubitza (Rice … RHP … Fr. … Colleyville, TX … 6-5/200 … #21)
Bryan Peters (Nebraska…2B…So…Ft. Collins, CO…6-2/185…Bats: R…2-hole…#7)
Hudson Randall (Florida … RHP … So. … Atlanta, GA … 6-3/185 … #11)
Shawn Stuart (Long Beach State … RHP … Jr. … Turlock, CA … #36)
Ryan Walker (UT Arlington…LF/3B/2B…Fr…Arlington, TX…6-0/155…B: R…leadoff…#11)
* Cron is the CB360 Primetime Player of the Week and Kubitza the Primetime Pitcher of the Week.

Capsules of the other eight honorees (Cohn and Kubitza above) follow below, with headshots and action shots included (as available; larger headshots added if provided by the schools).

St. Mary’s

Tempe, AZ … 6-3/195

Won 1-0 series opener vs. #22 UC Irvine … went the distance in that nailbiter vs. the Anteasters, facing only 31 batters (4 over the minimum) while allowing only 4 hits and a single walk … 19 of his outs came via strikeouts (6) or groundouts (13) …  had a similarly-strong outing a week earlier, in 3-2 win over current #16 Oregon (7 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 3 BB, 2 HB, 2 K, 8 GO).

Bethel, CT

Delivered a much-needed win for #28 UConn against a quality opponent, pitching Huskies to 3-1 win over #20 California (at USD) … allowed only an unearned run in 7.1 innings of work while striking out six Cal batters  … allowed four Cal hits, with three walks and a couple hit batters … is season stats included a 2.21 ERA and 26 strikeouts in three starts.

Florida State's Jayce Boyd

Florida State
1B … So.
Contonment, FL … 6-3/185
Bats: Right … 5-hole hitter

Played key role in FSU handing #1 Florida its first loss of the season (5.3, in Florida) – stroking 2-run triple and coming home to score another run as Seminoles did all their scoring in top of the 3rd (also drew a walk later in the game) … played lead role in next game, launching 2-out, 2-run home run as part of team’s 4-run 5th in 6-5 opener at Georgia … reached base four times (1-for-2, 3 BB) in 7-5 series finale against the Bulldogs.

Cal State Bakersfield
RHP … Jr.
Orange County, CA (Cypress JC) … 6-6/220

Led Roadrunners to a 2-1, 10-inning win over #7 Arizona State, during tournament action in Surrise, Ariz. … logged a full 9.0 innings while allowing the lone run on nine hits, with three strikeouts in the 116-pitch outing (vs. an ASU offense that currently sports a .344 team batting avg. and is scoring 7 runs per gm) … sparked team to a 6-0 week and national ranking (Bakersfield now is 11-2) …  carries a 2.42 season ERA, with 18 strikeouts in 26 innings.

Nebraska … 2B … So. … Ft. Collins, CO
6-2/185 … Bats: Right … 2-hole batter

Delivered pair of game-winning, extra-inning hits – as the Cornhuskers took a thrilling series from #4 UCLA (0-1 in 11; 2-1 in 12; 5-4 in 11)  … sent a 1-out, 1-1 pitch from Vander Tuig into left field, driving home pinr-runner Tanner Kreitemeier for the dramatic game-2 win (despite a 17-strikeout outing from UCLA’s Trevor Bauer) … took the drama to another level the next day at Hawks Field, turning on the first pitch from Mitchel Beacom in the 12th and depositing the ball onto the leftfield berm for a game-ending home run (marking the first time since 2003 that Nebraska has won back-to-back games on game-ending hits) … had a sacrifice bunt in the 1-0 series-opening loss … reached base twice in game-2 (walk, hit-by-hit) before his game-ending hit … had his best all-around game in the series finale, batting 2-for-5 with a walk and run scored before the clutch home run.

Florida … So. … Atlanta, GA … 6-3/185

Combined with junior reliever Anthony DeSclafani for rare 1-hitter in 1-0, game-2 win over #24 Miami, with the Gators going on to sweep the rivalry series … led the way for Florida’s first shutout  of Miami since 2004 (also UF’ first shutout of Miami in Gainesville for the first time since 1995 and only Florida’s 7th shutout in the 226-game history of the series) … allowed only two baserunners (hit & hit-batter) in his 7.0 innings, surviving pitchers duel with E.J. Encinosa while facing onto 23 batters (2 above minimum) … 15 of his 21 outs came via strikeouts (5) and groundouts (10), in the 86-pitch outing … set own the first batters he faced before plunking Dale Carey, who stole second before Randall induced a flyout from Zeke DeVoss … retired next eight batters before Carey’s leadoff single in the 6th (the runner advanced on a sac-bunt and groundout, but Shane Rowland’s tapper back to the mound preserved the shutout) … has compiled a 1.00 ERA with 15 walks in three starts this season (18.0 innings).

Long Beach State … RHP … Jr. … Turlock, CA (Merced JC)

Versatile pitcher who opened with with relief win over USC (5-4) and closed the week as game-3 starter/winner in series-clinching game vs. #16 Oregon (4-1) … allowed only one run in 9.1 innings spanning the two outings (0.98 ERA), striking out six batters with four hits allowed, five walks and a hit batter … entered the USC game with two runners on in the 7th, working out of that inherited jam and logging 2.1 innings of 1-hit relief as the 49ers rallied to take the win in the bottom of the 9th … returned to the mound five days later and posted clutch win over the Ducks … allowed an opening double and run scored but yielded only two hits the rest of the way (6 Ks, 4BB, HB) … has fashioned a 1.35 ERA in five appearances this season.

Texas Arlington
LF/3B/2B … Fr. … Arlington, TX … 6-0/155 … leadoff batter

Hit 5-for-8 in pair of wins over #29 Wichita State that bookended a 4-0 stretch for UTA (following a near-upset of Oklahoma, 3-4) … hit .429 during the five-game week (9-for-21), with nine runs scored, a pair of RBI, three doubles, two walks, a stolen base and sacrifice bunt … key component from his leadoff spot, in UTA’s offensive resurgence during the past week (he had hits and runs scored in all five games) … helped stake Mavericks to 3-2 lead thru six innings of home game vs. OU, ultimately reaching base three times and scoring once  in that big game (1-for-3, 2 BB) …  doubled to open the tournament action at Dallas Baptist, adding a walk and run scored in first win over Wichita State (6-3) … contributed numerous ways (1-for-4, 2R, BB, 2B, SB, sac-bunt) the next day in 13-2 win over the host Patriots, followed by 2-for-6 game in 14-0 victory over New Orleans (RBI, 2R, 2B) … saved his best for the final game of the week, back home at UTA, batting 4-for-5 and factoring into four of his team’s runs (RBI, 3R) as Mavericks shocked the Shockers again, 9-3.

Action photos follow below (some above; photo of Hoenshell currently not availble).

St. Mary's ace Mark Anderson

UConn's Matt Barnes


Florida State's Jayce Boyd

Nebraska's Bryan Peters

Florida's Hudson Randall

Long Beach State's Shawn Stuart

Texas Arlington's Ryan Walker

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