Top Performers: Week 1
DBU freshman matches record; Cal Poly's Imhof tosses gem
Jo-El Bennett took full advantage of his only start opening weekend by blasting three home runs as Troy took the final game of its four-game series from Northern Kentucky on Sunday. Bennett hit a solo home run in the second inning, a two-run shot in the fourth and a three-run blast in the eighth to lead the Trojans. Bennett also sent a deep fly ball to the center field warning track in another at-bat but it was tracked down for an out. Bennett became the first Trojan to hit three home runs in a game since Adam Bryant did it on April 8, 2009 against Samford.
"It feels great to come out here and have fun with the guys," Bennett said. "I'm just trying to stay relaxed and hit the ball hard."
Dallas Baptist Camden Duzenack opened his career in a Patriot uniform in dramatic fashion, going 4-for-5 with three RBI on Opening Day. The following day, Duzenack tied a school record with a nine RBI performance. The most recent nine RBI game in DBU history came from fellow teammate, KJ Alexander, when he accomplished the feat on March 3, 2011. Duzenack continued his dominance at the plate in the series finale on Sunday, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run batted in.
For the weekend, the DBU freshman hit an astounding .786 (11-for-14), collected 13 RBI, and delivered seven doubles. Over the course of three games, Duzenack went 7-for-10 with runners in scoring position, including a perfect 3-for-3 with the bases loaded. He also compiled an .824 on base percentage and racked up 18 total bases.
Cal Poly starting pitcher Matt Imhof established a new career high with 14 strikeouts Friday night. The 14 punchouts eclipsed his previous best of 12 against Cal State Northridge a year ago and Imhof also struck out 11 twice in 2013.
The junior southpaw allowed just two singles and three walks in seven innings against the Wildcats, an NCAA Super Regional team in 2013. Imhof retired the side in order twice, struck out the side twice and recorded two strikeouts in three other innings. He allowed two runners to reach second base.
Chase Mallard had a career-night as UAB defeated Tennessee-Martin 5-0 in its season-opener. In the squad's first game at Regions Field, Mallard did not yield a hit, struck out 13, and walked one in seven innings of work.
He combined with freshman lefty Thomas Lowery for a one-hitter on Friday night. Mallard set a career-high with 13 strikeouts, which all were swinging. He was two shy of the UAB program record, as well. In addition, Mallard became the first Blazer to record at least 10 strikeouts in a game since Alex Luna fanned 10 against Alabama State on April 24, 2013.
Jeremy Null lived up to his billing as the SoCon's Preseason Pitcher of the Year, opening the Catamounts' season by dominating Mississippi State on the road at Dudy Noble Field. Null struck out 12 Bulldog hitters in WCU's 3-2 win, allowing just three hits and one walk - and no runs - in eight innings of work.
Null, who improved to 14-6 on the mound for the Purple & Gold, struck out seven of the first 13 batters he faced in the game with half of his 12 K's looking.
This marks the second-consecutive year that Null has recorded double-digit strikeouts in a season opener. Last spring, he tallied 13 punch outs against Washington State en route to garnering the first of two national player honors.