Top Performers: Week 9
UMES' Bull records 10 hits in a row; Saint Joes' Carter ties mark
UMES' Stephen Bull went 15-for-22 across a five-game span. Bull helped lead the Hawks to their first three-game win streak since 2012. He fell just four hits shy of the Division I record for most consecutive hits after he was 10-for-10 between four games. He is currently riding a 19-game hit streak that dates back until March 2nd and has at least three hits in five of the past nine games. Courtesy of his phenomenal week, Bull saw his batting average rise 78 points from .258 to .336. He was also a force in centerfield with several big catches in the gaps. He posted 19 putouts altogether, including a season-high eight on Wednesday in the Hawks’ 8-7 win vs. Navy.
Saint Joseph's Jordan Carter took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and tied a school record with 15 strikeouts in a 17-1 win at Fordham on Saturday afternoon. He allowed just one run on three hits and did not walk a batter in eight innings. Carter fanned the first four batters of the game and six of the first seven he faced. In the course of the first seven innings, only eight Fordham hitters managed to put the ball in play; Carter retired them all via ground ball outs.
Valparaiso's Mark Johnson batted .643 (9-of-14) at the plate for Valpo last week. He started the week with a 2-for-2 afternoon, driving in a run and scoring one in Valpo’s Tuesday tilt at Northwestern. Johnson stayed hot in the weekend series versus Youngstown State as five of his seven hits in the series went for extra bases. In the first game of Saturday’s twinbill against YSU, Johnson hit his first career home run and followed it up with another in the second game as the junior went 6-of-8 with two home runs, one triple, one double and four RBI in the Saturday doubleheader. Johnson racked up a 2.000 OPS during the week. The outfielder entered play on Tuesday hitless on the season, but boosted his batting average to .265 by the end of the weekend.
Duke's Drew Van Orden shut out NC State for eight innings and struck out 11 to key the Blue Devils to a 2-0 victory in the series opener on Friday. He surrendered just three hits with one walk and did not face more than four batters in any inning. Van Orden struck out at least one Wolfpack hitter in each of this eight innings and fanned two in the first, second and fourth frames. After the Blue Devils grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, Van Orden retired 15 of the next 17 batters he faced to maintain the advantage heading into the ninth. Van Orden yielded just one hit in his final five innings and did not permit a baserunner after the fifth.
LIU-Brooklyn's John Ziznewski retained the NEC Player of the Week award after reaching double digits in hits and RBI for the second week in a row. LIU-Brooklyn's starting shortstop batted .500 (11-for-22) with 11 runs and 10 RBI over a five-game span that saw the Blackbirds pick up four victories. Ziznewski smashed three doubles and a pair of home runs on the way to a .909 slugging percentage for the week. He drew one base on balls and three HBP. The senior infielder scored two runs and had an RBI double in a mid-week win over MAAC member Iona before erupting at Mount St. Mary's. Ziznewski, who reached base at least twice in each of the four games at the Mount, was a key run-producer during both the series opener and finale. Ziznewski logged hits in each of the first three innings of Game 1 at the Mount. Helping the Blackbirds fly to a 16-9 win, he singled in the first, smacked a bases-clearing two-bagger in the second, and belted a solo home run in the third. He finished the game 3-for-4 with four runs, four RBI, one walk and one HBP. He recorded four hits and drove in five runs in the series finale, a 23-11 triumph for LIU. His two-run bomb capped LIU's five-run fourth inning and his bases-clearing double scored three more runs one inning later.