March 31, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

Georgia rolled to its second straight Southeastern Conference series win with a sweep of Tennessee last week behind the hot hitting of junior first baseman Rich Poythress.

The native of Grovetown, Ga., batted .615 with five homers and 12 RBI on the week as the Bulldogs for their first series victory at Tennessee since 2001.   Against the Vols, Poythress went 6-for-6 with four homers, two doubles and three walks in his first nine plate appearances, carrying a 14-game hitting streak into an 0-for-3 outing March 29.

Poythress was named SEC Player of the Week and Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week for his contributions.  The Bulldogs are batting .329 with 47 home runs on the year, fueled by Poythress’ .447 average and 13 round-trippers.

ISLAND TIME: Despite dropping out of the national rankings with a 1-3 record last week, Coastal Carolina’s Cody Wheeler provided a highlight during the Chanticleers’ road trip to Hawaii by tossing the first no-hitter on the islands since 1982.

The sophomore from Spotsylvania, Va., threw Coastal Carolina’s first nine-inning no-hitter since head coach Gary Gilmore took over 14 years ago, and posted the first no-hitter versus a Hawaii squad since 1998.  Wheeler struck out 10 batters, and walked just three in the complete-game effort.

Wheeler was named Big South Pitcher of the Week and Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week for his achievement.

TWO AND TWO:  Sophomore right-hander Nick Fleece played a crucial role in Texas A&M’s perfect 4-0 week, earning two wins and two saves to pick up Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Week honors.

The native of Fort Worth, Texas, notched wins over UT-Arlington March 24 and Kansas March 28, and saves against the Jayhawks in the two other games of the league series.  Fleece allowed just one hit for the week – an infield single against UTA – compiling an opponent batting average of .053.  He has registered a win or a save in five consecutive games.

The Aggies are riding a five-game winning streak after losing their previous five contests.

NOTABLE:  Fresno State third baseman Tom Mendonca turned in a very productive week as the Bulldogs took three of four from Lipscomb.  The junior third baseman from Turlock, Calif., batted .533 with six runs scored, eight RBI, two doubles and three homers, including a game-tying three-run shot that sparked the Bulldogs to a 7-6 comeback March 29.  Mendonca also climbed the school’s all-time home run list to second with 40, and needs just four more to eclipse the program record.  He was named Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week for his performance … UC Irvine started Big West Conference play with a bang as the Anteaters notched a series sweep of then-No. 19 Cal Poly behind the sizzling bat of senior outfielder Eric Deragisch last week.  The native of Granite Bay, Calif., batted .455 during the 4-1 stretch, along with seven runs scored and six RBI to earn his first league Player of the Week award.  His 4-for-4 outing against Cal Poly March 29 included the eventual game-winning two-run homer.  Deragisch paces the No. 8 Anteaters with a .386 batting average … Playing at Citi Field last weekend -- the new home of the New York Mets – Georgetown’s senior leftfielder Sean Baumann batted .636 with two home runs as the Hoyas took two victories from St. John’s in a league series last weekend.  Baumann compiled a .579 average during the 3-2 week for the Hoyas, including a stretch in which he reached base safely in eight straight plate appearances.  He was tabbed Big East Player of the Week for his efforts.