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College Round Up: April 10

By:Chris Rogers

We’re more than halfway through the college baseball regular season, and Big Train alumni are putting together strong campaigns all across the country.

This week, we’ll start in the SEC, where Luke Heyer (BT 2017) continues to rake for the Kentucky Wildcats. The senior third baseman had a seven-game hit streak snapped Saturday, but rebounded Sunday with a 2-for-4 performance, knocking his team-best 13th homer of the year. He leads Kentucky in average (.365), homers, RBIs (40), slugging (.791) and runs scored (33). Right-hander Austin Keen (BT 2017) appeared in one game this season, but ultimately chose to retire last month.

At Mississippi State, Blake Smith (BT 2015) has not allowed a run in 15 innings this season, and opponents are hitting .122 off him. Likewise, JP France (BT 2014) has been one of the team’s go-to relievers, pitching to a 2.49 ERA in 10 appearances. Jacob Billingsley (BT 2014) leads Bulldog pitchers with nine starts, and has a 3.96 ERA. At the plate, Tanner Allen (BT 2017) has cooled off after his hot start, but still owns a .278/.366/.389 slash line while starting all 33 games as a freshman. He turned in a 3-for-4, four RBI performance Saturday against Ole Miss.

After a slow start to the season, Clayton Daniel (BT 2016) is red hot, collecting hits in 16 of his last 17 games. The Jacksonville State infielder is hitting .299 on the year, and leads the team with 10 doubles.

Elsewhere in the Ohio Valley Conference, Garrett Kueber (BT 2016-17) leads the Austin Peay Governors with .373 average, 29 RBIs and a .493 on-base percentage.

East Carolina’s Tyler Smith (BT 2017) continues to impress, turning in another strong seven-inning outing over the weekend against Washington. His 1.11 ERA ranks seventh in the country, and he owns a 0.93 WHIP and .211 opponents’ average to boot.

Locally, Fox Semones (BT 2016-18) leads James Madison in RBIs (22) and slugging (.456), while contributing four homers and a .291 average. He’s hit safely in eight of his past ten contests, including all three games over the weekend. Matt Marsili (BT 2016) has made eight appearances for the Dukes, with a 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings.

Logan Driscoll (BT 2017) continues to light it up at George Mason, leading the team with a .393/.444/.547 slash line, nine doubles, three homers and 29 RBIs while starting all 30 games.

In nearby College Park, John Murphy (BT 2016-17) leads Maryland relievers with 17.1 innings pitched and 28 strikeouts while posting a 2.60 ERA. He tossed 2.2 scoreless innings Friday night to close out a Terps’ win. After a slow start to the season, catcher Justin Morris (BT 2014-17) heated up over the weekend, collecting four extra-base hits, including a 3-for-3 performance Friday highlighted by a three-run homer. Zach Jancarski (BT 2017) leads the Terps with eight stolen bases and ranks second in doubles (8) while hitting .250.

Right-hander Stephen Schoch (BT 2016-17) leads UMBC with a 1.82 ERA, six saves and 44 strikeouts, and ranks second in innings (29.1) despite only appearing out of the bullpen.

After spending the first part of his college career at San Francisco, Mack Meyer (BT 2016) transferred to Virginia, where he is blossoming with the Cavaliers. The right-hander leads the team with 15 appearances, while pitching to a 2.81 ERA in 16 innings of work.

Out west, St. Mary’s left-hander Ken Waldichuk (BT 2017) ranks third in the country with a 0.96 ERA, and fourth with 77 strikeouts in 56 innings after a dominant seven-inning, two-run, 14 strikeout performance Sunday. The sophomore has been nearly unhittable this season, with a 0.80 WHIP and .167 opponents’ average. Kevin Milam (BT 2017) ranks second among Gaels starters with a 2.23 ERA and .224 opponents’ average. No slouch at the plate either, Milam is hitting .259 with five doubles, 13 RBIs and a team-best .400 on-base percentage in 30 games. Out of the bullpen, Ty Madrigal (BT 2017) has pitched to a 0.78 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 23 innings.

After a slow start to the spring, Sacramento State first baseman Vinny Esposito (BT 2016-17) is riding an eight-game hitting streak, during which he’s batting .333 with four doubles, two homers and eight RBIs. He leads the Hornets with nine doubles, while his .382 on-base clip ranks second. James Outman (BT 2017) has bounced back after a slight midseason slump, collecting hits in five of his last six games. He paces the team in homers (6), walks (20), on-base percentage (.384), slugging (.522) and stolen bases (12).

Cal State Northridge’s Albee Weiss (BT 2014) is tied with the aforementioned Luke Heyer for third in the country with 13 home runs this season. The catcher/designated hitter has also driven in 40, and sports a .294 batting average and .659 slugging mark.

Matt Pulos (BT 2017-18) has a 3.97 ERA across eight appearances (seven starts) for Cal State Stanislaus. He has struck out 34 hitters in 31.2 innings this season.

Creighton catcher Michael Emodi (BT 2017) is turning in a strong spring season, hitting .311 with a team-best .621 slugging percentage, seven homers and 31 RBIs.

In the Sunshine State, Stetson right-hander Logan Gilbert (BT 2016) continues to prove why he was a projected first-round pick entering the spring. Through eight starts, he has a 2.98 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 54.1 innings, and opponents are hitting just .192 against him. His teammate, Jacob Koos (BT 2017) ranks second on the Hatters with a .306 average, and is 10 of 15 on the basepaths. Behind the plate, Austin Hale (BT 2016) has provided solid defense and is heating up with the bat, as he recorded back-to-back multi-hit games over the weekend.

Kyle Marman (BT 2016) has made five starts for Florida Atlantic, with a sparkling 1.45 ERA in 31 innings of work. Fellow right-hander Blake Sanderson (BT 2017) has not fared as well, posting a 5.93 ERA, but he has struck out 15 hitters in 13.2 innings of work. Gunnar Lambert (BT 2016) is hitting .173 with three homers on the year.

In the community college ranks, Joe Nahas (BT 2017) has struck out an astounding 82 hitters in 40 innings with a 3.15 ERA for Chesapeake College. Zach Guth (BT 2017) has won all seven of his starts for Harford Community College, striking out 39 batters while posting a 2.27 ERA. AJ Jones (BT 2017) is 5-0 in nine appearances (eight starts) with a 2.29 ERA.

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