Home Run Heroes, Strikeout Sensation Earn Baseball Weekly Honors
Home run heroics and a career-high strikeout effort highlighted the performances by the Big West Baseball Co-Field Players of the Week and Pitcher of the Week.
Stewart, Lopez Share Player of the Week Honors
Cal Poly senior Elliot Stewart (San Jose, Calif./West Valley College) and Cal State Fullerton senior Carlos Lopez (Northridge, Calif./Crespi HS) blasted two game-winning home runs apiece while helping their clubs to series sweeps, and earned Big West Baseball Co-Player of the Week honors in the process.
Stewart hit three home runs during a 4-0 week for the Mustangs. He unloaded a two-run shot in the fourth inning against Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday that snapped a 3-3 tie and led to an eventual 10-4 victory.
His two homers and eight RBI helped Cal Poly sweep Cal State Northridge and create a two-way tie with the Matadors for second place in the Big West. Stewart notched a game-winning solo blast to lead off the fifth inning Sunday, snapping a 1-1 tie in a 7-2 win. Stewart enjoyed a 2-for-3 day at the plate and added a walk, a stolen base and three RBI, including a two-run single that broke the game open.
Stewart also clubbed a two-run home run in Saturday's 6-2 triumph against the Matadors and finished that contest with three RBI.
For the week, the catcher hit .333 (5-for-15) with a 1.000 slugging percentage and spun together four consecutive multi-RBI games. He extended his hitting streak to six straight and increased his home total for the season to eight.
Lopez sent the Titans to their fourth straight Big West title with dramatic back-to-back walk-off home runs against rival UC Irvine.
With Saturday's game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Lopez came to the plate with two outs and the bases empty. He hammered a 1-1 offering over the right field wall for a series-clinching 3-2 victory.
The first baseman capitalized again on Sunday as this time Cal State Fullerton trailed 5-4 in the ninth. With one out, two runners on base and a 1-1 count, Lopez hit a three-run jack to right field to deliver a 7-5 comeback win and solidify the series sweep over the Anteaters.
The win secured the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for CSF and clinched the program's 27th conference championship.
Lopez began the series with the first of three straight game-winning RBIs that rivaled the impressiveness of the two walk-off homers he belted. UCI reliever Mitch Merten entered in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game with runners at the corners and Lopez at the plate. The two engaged in a 14-pitch battle that ended with Lopez singling into right field to give the Titans a 3-2 advantage. The hit occurred after Lopez had fouled off nine straight pitches.
Others nominated: Zack Rivera (Long Beach State); Tyler Kuresa (UC Santa Barbara); Austin Wobrock (Hawai'i)
Carle Fans Career-High 13 in Complete Game Shutout
Long Beach State junior Shane Carle (Santa Cruz, Calif./Cabrillo CC) struck out a career-high 13 in a complete game shutout of UC Riverside to garner Big West Baseball Pitcher of the Week accolades.
Carle threw 119 pitches in the 5-0 victory to help the Dirtbags complete a 4-0 week. The 13 strikeouts represented the most by a LBSU pitcher since Jared Hughes had that total in 2006.
It was the first complete game shutout of the year for the Dirtbags, and the second straight complete game for the right-hander, who scattered six hits and walked two while lowering his ERA to 2.91 on the year.
Others nominated: Casey Bloomquist (Cal Poly); Thomas Eshelman (Cal State Fullerton); Andrew Vasquez (UC Santa Barbara); Matt Cooper (Hawaii)