Taylor Clarke sets CofC strikeout mark to lead week's top performers
Each week, NCAA.com will select three top performers from the 302 Division I college baseball teams whose performances stood out among the rest.
Brian Celsi had a phenomenal weekend against Chicago State, going 8-for-11 (.727) with a double, two home runs and nine RBI. Celsi had a huge game Friday night in the 21-3 win against the Cougars, hitting a grand slam, a three-run home and had another RBI to tie a school record with eight RBI in a single game. On Saturday, Celsi was 3-for-3 with a double in the third inning and then knocked in Max Dutto with the game-winning hit in the eighth inning. Sunday saw the junior finish with two more hits as Cal improved to 12-3 and has now won 11 of its past 12 games.
Junior Taylor Clarke struck out 18 hitters in the first of two games against Radford, breaking a 20-year-old single-game College of Charleston record and propelling the Cougars to a doubleheader sweep at Patriots Point on Saturday afternoon. Clarke offered one of the finest outings in CofC history. In addition to fanning 18 (snapping the previous CofC record of 15 set by Brian Groves on two occasions in the 1995 season), he tossed his first career nine-inning complete game, limiting the Highlanders to one run on five hits without issuing a walk. He threw 115 pitches, 85 of which were strikes and retired 12 consecutive hitters from the fourth to the eighth innings. Clarke struck out at least two batters in all but two innings and struck out the side on three occasions.
Dallas Baptist junior Trooper Reynolds hit .409 for the week (9-for-22) and tied a school record with a nine RBI performance on March 6 at Oral Roberts. In the win against the Golden Eagles, Reynolds hit a grand slam and a three-run home run in the same inning. In Sunday’s series finale, the DBU designated hitter delivered the eventual game-winning run with a double in the eighth inning that broke up a 2-2 tie. For the week, Reynolds hit safely in all five games, collected 11 RBI, posted a .team-best .773 slugging percentage, totaled 17 bases and compiled a .440 on-base percentage.