College Baseball 360 Primetime Performers #4

March 13, 2012

UCLA’s Jeff Gelalich and Texas State’s Mitchell Pitts continued their stellar seasons during the week first full week of March (5th-11th), earning them top honors on the week-4 CB360 Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll, as presented by Gelalich and Pitts – who are joined by 13 others on the week-4 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 UCLA 

CLICK HERE  for the week-1 CB360 Primetime Performers (Feb. 17-19)
CLICK HERE  for the week-2 CB360 Primetime Performers (Feb. 20-26)
CLICK HERE  for the week-3 CB360 Primetime Performers (Feb. 27-March 4)

The Primetime Performer awards program – also utilized on affiliate sites, and – 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 15 week-4 Primetime Performer honorees are listed below – with short bio. capsules (headshots and action photos of all 15 honorees will be added to this page later, time permitting).

Jeff Gelalich (UCLA)

GELALICH (La Verne, Calif.) – now batting nearly .500 for the season (.491) – is a repeat honoree on the CB360 Primetime Performers, following an impressive series that led the surging  Bruins to a sweep at cb360 #11 Georgia (2-0, 7-6, 7-3). The junior rightfielder hit .563 (9-for-16; 3R-2B) during the week, which also included a 4-0 win over UC Riverside.

As part of a UCLA team that entered the season searching for an offensive leader – while also having to replace elite pitchers Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole – Gelalich has delivered throughout the first month of the season. The lefthanded-hitting cleanup batter joined his teammates in heading cross-county to face a UGa team that was riding an 11-2 start to its season. He ended up hitting 9-for-13 in the tightly-contested series, sparked by 4-for-4 in the series opener. Gelalich kept rolling in the game-2 win (3-for-4) and then closed 2-for-5, leaving his season batting average nine points shy of .500.

Mitchell Pitts (Texas State)

PITTS (Highland Valley, Texas) also is a back-to-back Primetime Performer honoree, thanks to a pair of midweek starts that were part of the Texas State pitching staff’s 57.2-inning streak (which ended a few innings shy of the NCAA record, 62, set by Arizona State during the 1972 season, which fell near the end of the wood-bat era in college baseball). The senior righthander turned in 7.0 shutout innings during a midweek game vs. #4 Rice, at one point retiring nine straight and ultimately facing only 24 batters (3H, BB, 3 Ks). He watched from the bench as the Owls took a 2-1 lead, only to see his teammates rally for the 3-2 win.

One week earlier, Pitts played a huge role in sparking the shutout streak by logging six scoreless innings (H, BB, 8Ks, 20 BF) during a tense 1-0 win vs. TCU (then cb360 #22).

The week-4 CB360 Primetime Performers are dominated by pitchers (10), including six other righthanded starters (in addition to Pitts): Mercer sophomore Brandon Barker (Woodstock, Ga.) … SIU-Edwarsville sophomore Travis Felax (Troy, Ill.) … Notre Dame sophomore Sean Fitzgerald (McLean, Va.) … Illinois junior Kevin Johnson (Midlothian, Ill.) … and a pair of freshmen – Rice’s Jordan Stephens (Alvin, Texas) along with LMU’s Colin Welmon (Tustin, Calif.). Other pitchers on the week-4 Primetime Performers include NC State freshman lefthander Carlos Rodon (Holly Springs, N.C)., plus two closers: Wake Forest senior Michael Dimock (Greensboro,  N.C.) and North Carolina junior Michael Morin (Leawood, Kan.).

The other position players among the Primetime Performers include: San Diego junior catcher Dillon Haupt (San Diego, Calif.) … UConn junior second baseban LJ Mazzili (Greenwich, Conn.) … Missouri junior corner outfielder Dane Opel (Edwardsville, Ill.) … and New Mexico sophomore first baseman D.J. Peterson (Gilbert, Ariz.).

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.

(March 5-11, 2012 … presented by
             “It’s not so much what you do, as it is when you do it.”

BRANDON BARKER  (Mercer … RHP … So. … Woodstock, GA … #22)
… Logged 8.0 strong innings while leading Bears to 6-1 win at #26 Mississippi State … faced only 29 batters en route to limiting Bulldogs to the lone run, on six hits, a walk and two hit batters … rolled up three double plays in efficient 93-pitch outing … beat Mississippi State team that currently is 14-3, with a .299 team batting avg. (held them to .040 batting and only its second 1-run game of the season) … his strong start to the season includes a 2.39 ERA and 2-0 record in 26.1 innings (16 K, 4 BB, 22 H/.224).

MICHAEL DIMOCK  (Wake Forest … RHP … Sr. … Greensboro, NC … #23)
… Valuable closer who made four appearances during the week and posted three saves, helping WFU extend its winning streak to 13 games … allowed a lone run during that stretch while racking up 11 strikeouts, with only two hits allowed in 5.2 innings … wrapped up each game in sweep of cb360 #23 Maryland (10-5, 9-6, 4-3) … the Terps were hoping to rally in the 9th inning of the opener, with two men on, but he took the mound and struck out the next two batters, securing the win … entered game-2 in the 8th with narrow 8-6 lead, proceeding to strike out four in the 6-out save (BB-7BF) … closed the weekend after inheriting two runners aboard in the 8th and a full-count already on the board for Tomo Delp … induced a foul ball from Delp and then got him swinging for rally-killing strikeout (completed save in 9th; 1.1-R-H-2K)   … also saved midweek 3-0 game vs. Valparaiso (1.2-3K).

TRAVIS FELAX  (Southern Illinois-Edwardsville … RHP … So. … Troy, IL … #37)
… Totaled 10.1 shutout innings during the week, highlighted by 7-1 scoreless frames to pick up 3-1 win at surging Missouri State (cb360 #46) … faced 27 Bears batters in 100-pitch outing while striking out six, with three hits allowed and a pair of walks … Missouri State entered that game 11-3 and riding a six-game winning streak … also had 3.0 shutout innings as starter in planned rotation during midweek 5-2 win vs. Arkansas State (3BB-3K).

SEAN FITZGERALD  (Notre Dame … RHP … So. … McLean, VA … #18)
… Held homestanding LSU (cb360 #15) to a single run over 8.0 innings, leading Irish to 7-1 win in challenging atmosphere at Alex Box Stadium (in front of 10,000-plus fans ) … showed excellent control throughout, allowing only a pair of singles (in the 1st and 3rd) spanning the first five innings and taking a shutout into the 8th … faced only 16 batters (one over the minimum) through 5.0, with streaks of seven straight batters retired and 13-of-14 (before leadoff single in the 6th, followed by three straight outs) … his only walk of the day was a meaningless free pass in the 7th … held back a Tigers offense that was hitting at a .321 clip and scoring nearly nine runs per game … responded to LSU’s lone run by closing 8th with a pair of strikeouts – one of his four Ks in career-long outing that included throwing 70 of 100 pitches for strikes (six hits allowed).

* JEFF GELALICH  (UCLA … RF … Jr. … La Verne, CA … cleanup … bat: L … #20)
… Landed on the Primetime Performers for the second time this season, following impressive series that led surging Bruins to a sweep at cb360 #11 Georgia (2-0, 7-6, 7-3) … hit .563 for the week (9-for-16; 3R-2B), including 4-0 win over UC Riverside … came to play in cross-country series against UGa team that was riding 11-2 start to its season … hit 9-for-13 (.692) vs. the Bulldogs, sparked by 4-for-4 showing from the cleanup hitter in series opener … kept rolling in game-2 win (3-for-4) and then closed 2-for-5 – leaving his season batting average at nearly .500 (.491).

DILLON HAUPT  (San Diego … C … Jr. … San Diego, CA … #5/6/8-hole … bats: R … #20)
… Played key role for USD team looking to move up the national rankings, following 4-1 win that included series win at cb360 #48 Vanderbilt (0-7, 2-1, 9-7) … hit 7-for-19 (.379) during the week, with 5 total bases (2HR-2 2B) and a team-leading 10 RBI … went 3-for-7 with eight total bases and five RBI in pair of wins over Commodores, including big effort in series-clincher (HR-2B-3RBI-BB) … earlier helped Toreros sweep pair of games at Lipscomb (13-9; 3-2).

KEVIN JOHNSON  (Illinois … RHP … Jr. … Midlothian, IL … #22)
…. Rose to the occasion during tournament action in the Pacific Northwest, going the distance in 4-hit, 2-1 win at co-host Oregon (cb360 #12) … Ducks entered that game riding a 10-game winning streak, after losing their season opener … faced only 32 batters and limited Oregon offense to one runner that advanced past second base … issued a lone walk, did not hit a batter and allowed only one hit after the third inning (4H total) … his 109-pitch outing including five strikeouts and 20 first-pitch strikes … did not allow a hit with 2-outs.

LJ MAZZILLI  (Connecticut … 2B … Jr. … Greenwich, CT … 3-hole … bats: R … #24)
… Helped deliver pair of noteworthy wins during tournament action in the Pacific Northwest, as Huskies posted 8-7 win over #20 Oklahoma (at Oregon) and later won 6-3 at #29 Oregon State … hit 6-for-13 during the week (which included losses to #12 Oregon and Illinois), with a 1.457 OPS (on-base plus slugging) that included a home run, two RBI doubles and 11 times on-base (4BB-HBP) … did not make an error all week … had similar stat lines (2-for-4, 2RBI-R-BB) in the wins over Oklahoma and Oregon State … rapped pair of doubles vs. Sooners and launched 2-run home run that broke 3-3 tie in 7th inning vs. Beavers … has collected hits in 13 of 14 games this season (including all four during the past week).

MICHAEL MORIN  (North Carolina … RHP … Jr. … Leawood, KS … #28)
… Iron-man closer who appeared in all five of UNC’s wins during the week, including key ACC-opening sweep at cb360 #14 Clemson (4-3, 6-3, 6-5/11) … his stats for the week included four saves, an extra-innings win and no runs allowed in 6.1 innings (3H-2BB-7K) … entered opener at Clemson in 8th with tying run on 2nd, responding with a strikeout and then a scoreless 9th to wrap up the game-1 win (H-BB-2K) … watched as his team rallied in game-2 and came on to close out the win in the 9th (H-K) … UNC rallied again in the series finale and this time he became the eventual winner (2.1IP-H-BB-3K), highlighted by strikeout of Thomas Brittle with winning run on third in the 9th (added a clutch double-play ball in the 10th, then a 1-2-3 inning in the 11th) … has yet to allow a run this season in 10 appearances and 12.1 innings, with 13 Ks, only a pair of walks and a lowly .209 opp. batting avg. … earlier posted midweek saves vs. Davidson (5-4; IP-K) and Elon (3-0; 0.2 IP).

DANE OPEL  (Missouri … LF/RF … Jr. … Edwardsville, IL … cleanup … bats: L … #47)
… Corner outfielder who batted at a .462 clip during 4-win week that included series sweep of cb360 #41 Charlotte (10-4, 5-3, 3-2) … his week featured five RBI, six runs scored and 15 total bases (1.154 slugging; 2HR-3B-2B) … scored three times in opener vs. Charlotte (2B), then went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run in game-2 … closed series by hitting his second opposite-field home run of the week (to left).

D.J. PETERSON  (New Mexico … 1B … So. … 3-hole … bats: R … Gilbert, AZ … #33)
… Hit safely in all four games during the week, highlighted by sweep of cb360 #28 and previously unbeaten Gonzaga (11-6, 2-1/10, 4-1) … batted .562 during the week (9-for-16), which included 16-12 loss to rival New Mexico State … helped hand Gonzaga its first loss, after batting 3-for-5 with pair of RBI … played key role in low-scoring series finale (2-for-3, RBI-R) … struck out only once all week, in 19 plate appearances … coming off strong rookie season that included 32 doubles (NCAA freshman record) … batting .400 this season, with team-best 14 RBI.

* MITCHELL PITTS  (Texas State … RHP … Sr. … Highland Valley, TX … #17)
… Repeat honoree on Primetime Performers, after once again playing impressive role in Bobcats pitching staff’s shutout streak that reached 57.2 innings … turned in 7.0 shutout innings vs. #4 Rice (3H-BB-3K-24BF-80 pitches), at one point retiring nine straight … watched from the bench as Owls took 2-1 lead, only to see his teammates rally for 3-2 win … helped put Texas State staff within reach of NCAA record for consecutive shutout innings (64, by Arizona State way back in 1972, towards the end of the wood-bat era in college baseball) … a week earlier, played huge role in sparking the shutout streak by logging six scoreless innings (H-BB-8K-20 BF) during tense 1-0 win vs. TCU (then cb360 #22).

CARLOS RODON  (North Carolina State … LHP … Fr. … Holly Springs, NC … #16)
… Turned around the series at Georgia Tech (cb360 #8) by opening game-2 with six shutout innings, at one point retiring 11 straight en route to picking up key 8-5 win (Wolf Pack later claimed the series with 8-3 victory in the finale) … allowed only one earned run in seven full innings … flashed quality fastball with good location on the outside corners, totaling six strikeouts in 119-pitch outings (4H-2BB-HB).

JORDAN STEPHENS  (Rice … RHP … Fr. … Alvin, TX … #27)
… Won pitchers duel opposite John Hochstatter in rare 1-0 game – as #4 Owls won series finale at #2 Stanford … logged 6.2 shutout innings with little margin for error (Owls scored lone run in 3rd) while facing  potentially explosive Cardinal offense that had been averaging 14 runs per game on Sundays (series finales) and boasted a .322 team batting avg. … held Stanford to .163 hitting on three singes, along with three walks and a hit batter while striking out two … now riding a 13.2-inning shutout streak.

COLIN WELMON  (Loyola Marymount … RHP … Fr. … Tustin, CA … #12)
… Performed like a veteran by fashioning 7.0 shutout innings in the latest of rare 1-0 games this season involving CB360 top-50 teams, as LMU notched upset victory at #34 Texas … did not factor into the decision (run came in the 9th) while facing only 24 batters, with three hits allowed (all singles) and no walks … delivered 70% of his pitches for strikes (60 of 86), with a pair of Ks … ended his outing with four straight 1-2-3 innings.

* – Gelalich is the CB360 Primetime Player of the Week and Pitts the Primetime Pitcher of the Week

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