Feb. 25, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

HITTING AWAY:  Sophomore third baseman Caleb Shofner has been practically unstoppable in top-ranked Texas A&M’s first five games as he has reached base safely in 17 of 18 plate appearances so far this season.

The native of Hewitt, Texas, batted .900 with a triple, home run, five RBI and 11 runs scored as he started his first collegiate games in a series sweep of Wright State.  Shofner also walked twice and was hit by a pitch four times as he reached base 15 times on the weekend and earned Big 12 Player of the Week for his stellar play.

Shofner then continued his super start with a 2-for-2 outing along with two runs score and an RBI as the Aggies downed Centenary College on Feb. 24.  He improved his batting average to .917.

Texas A&M, the preseason No. 1 team in the Baseball America Top 25, kept its spot in the first poll of season this week.
HALL HOLDS THEM HITLESS:  Kansas junior left-hander Shaeffer Hall became the first Jayhawk pitcher since 1980 to throw a no-hitter as he posted a 5-0 defeat of Air Force on Feb. 20 to open the 2009 season.

The native of Lee’s Summit, Mo., recorded seven strikeouts and allowed just three base runners in nine innings as he registered the fifth complete game no-hitter in KU history. 

The weekly awards have poured in for Hall as he was named Big 12 and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Pitcher of the Week, and garnered Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors.

STARTING STRONG:  Arizona State began the season on an offensive high, outscoring Wisconsin-Milwaukee 53-9 as the Sun Devils swept the four-game series last weekend.

Outfielder Jason Kipnis, who returned to ASU after being selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft by San Diego last year, opened the season on a tear, batting .706 with a 1.588 slugging percentage.  The native of Northbrook, Ill., reached base safely on his first 10 plate appearances, and contributed three home runs, four doubles, a triple and eight RBI on the weekend.  Kipnis was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Player of the Week for his offensive production in the first four games.

ASU head coach Pat Murphy also reached the 900th Division I victory of his career with the sweep of UWM.

NOTABLE:  Kent State capped off an outstanding opening weekend sweep at UNC Greensboro with a career-high five hits, seven RBI and four runs scored as he belted two home runs in the game on Feb. 22.  The senior from North Lima, Ohio, batted .588 with nine RBI and six runs scored to earn Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week honors …Oregon fielded a baseball team for the first time in 28 years as the Ducks returned to the diamond with a 5-3 victory over Saint Mary’s on Feb. 20.  Freshman left-hander struck out five batters in 5.2 innings pitched for his first collegiate victory.  The Ducks completed the series against the Gaels with a doubleheader loss the next day … Georgia Tech’s Deck McGuire fanned 13 batters in a 9-0 win over Lipscomb in his first weekend start of his career. McGuire was named Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week for his efforts.