College baseball honors: Ferraioli's no-no, North Carolina's historic sweep earn weekly awards
It’s apparently the “Year of the Pitcher” with a single-season record of 22 no-hitters so far in 2018. The trend continued last week with Iona.
Meanwhile, down in Raleigh, North Carolina, UNC made history with a thrilling series sweep over its in-state rival.
Let’s take a closer look at this week’s honors:
Team of the Week
It was not an easy road at the start of the season for North Carolina (31-13, 18-6 ACC), but with the momentum of an ongoing seven-game win streak behind them, the Tar Heels swept in-state rival No. 3 NC State over the weekend. It marks the first time in program history the Tar Heels have swept the Wolfpack on the road in Raleigh.
FINAL!! HEELS SWEEP NC STATE! For the first time in program history the Tar Heels sweep the Wolfpack in Raleigh. Whew, that was a nail biter at the end, but the Heels hold on. pic.twitter.com/fiDAp07I6M— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) April 29, 2018
A fierce and competitive series, with even the dugouts clearing at one point after a plate collision, two of the three game series were decided by just one run. The perfect 4-0 record on the week boosts UNC to the top spot in the ACC, one game ahead of Clemson, and up to the No. 6 spot in the national polls.
Quick North Carolina facts:
- The first game played between the schools came in 1895, but was the first series in Raleigh since 2007
- North Carolina hadn’t swept NC State since 2006
- UNC has won its last eight ACC games
Clemson rose to second in the ACC standings with a perfect 5-0 week after sweeping Virginia, winning all three games by one run.
Oklahoma State finished 4-0, including a sweep of rival Oklahoma in the Bedlam series. The Cowboys extended their Big 12 lead to three games over Texas, and also were the biggest movers in the Top 25 poll this week, launching up to No. 17 from No. 23.
Spoilers this week went to Southeast Missouri who broke Tennessee Tech’s 28-game win streak, and Iowa who snapped Michigan’s 20-game streak. A red-hot Baylor squad now holds the nation’s longest active win streak at 10.
Player of the Week
In a season chock-full of no-hitters, Iona’s Mario Ferraioli notched the 22nd occurrence in 2018, extending the NCAA overall single-season record (previously 19 set back in 1973).
In the second game of Saturday’s double-header with Quinnipiac, Ferraioli tossed seven no-hit innings while working 10 strikeouts.
Even though the left-hander surrendered a walk in four of the first five innings, he closed the door in the final two frames to secure the no-hit bid.
Quick Ferraioli and Iona facts:
- His outing is the third no-hitter on record at Iona, and first since Mike Bertotti
- The competition level was high, as Quinnipiac leads the MAAC
- Ferraioli improved to 3-0 record with a 0.85 ERA this season in 13 appearances
Georgia Tech’s pitching staff was lights out against Wake Forest over the weekend — Xzavion Curry tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout on Friday night, matching a career-high 12 strikeouts and not allowing a base runner after the second inning. On Saturday night, Connor Thomas struck out a career-high 17 en route to a complete game, 5-1 victory.
Eastern Kentucky’s Alex Holderbach had a monster week, blasting six home runs (four in ONE GAME to set a new program record) while driving home 12 runs to finish with a .471 average on the week.
Memphis’ Jonathan Bowlan was in command against USF, notching a program-record 18 strikeouts in his first career complete game. The 18 K’s (all swinging to add) are the most tossed in NCAA DI this season.