The Pittsburg State Gorillas are currently in the upper echelon of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
A five-game winning streak — sweeps of Central Oklahoma (two games) and Truman State (three) — bumped Pitt State five spots from ninth to fourth. The Gorillas had lost four of five before their rise from the phoenix.
Pitt State hosts Northeastern State 2 p.m. today for a doubleheader originally scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Anticipated rain (what’s new?) moved the twinbill back a day.
The Gorillas (17-10, 14-9 MIAA) and the RiverHawks (15-13, 15-13) feature players who earned MIAA Player of the Week honors on Tuesday.
Pitt State junior left fielder Tory Stoffregen earned Hitter of the Week.
Stoffregen raised his batting average 47 points from .359 to .406, due to hitting 11-for-18 (.611) with two home runs and 13 RBI.
No. 1, a junior college transfer from Johnson County, leads Pitt State in batting average, doubles (12), triples (2), total bases (64), slugging percentage (.667) and stolen bases (12). He shares the team lead in RBI (31) with Evan Thomas and ranks second in runs scored (31) behind center fielder Ryan Ventura (32).
The National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association named Stoffregen its Central Region Hitter of the Week on Wednesday.
Northeastern State reliever Trevor Walch earned Pitcher of the Week.
Walch pitched in four games last week, surrendering no earned runs in 12.0 innings, striking out 17 and allowing only four singles and two walks. Walch picked up two saves and a win in a three-game weekend sweep of Washburn.
Walch decreased his ERA from 8.01 to 6.08.
This was the performance better than Pitt State senior Matt Stalcup last Tuesday against Central Oklahoma.
Stalcup fanned the first nine Central Oklahoma batters he faced and finished his seven-inning complete game with a PSU single-game record 15 strikeouts.
No. 9 leads the nation with 15.03 strikeouts per nine innings (54 in 32 innings) and second-best Junior Mendez of Southern New Hampshire averages 13.66. Mendez leads the nation with 84 strikeouts.
The NCBWA named Walch its Central Region Pitcher of the Week on Wednesday, an award taking in candidates from the MIAA, the Northern Sun and the Great American conferences.
Pitt State first-year head coach Matt Murray, a Claremore, Okla., native, graduated from Northeastern State and played for the 1996 conference title winning team (Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference).
The current RiverHawks are led offensively by Kegan Knight (.365 average, four home runs, 26 RBI), Trent Wilkins (.346, two, 25), Cody Robinson (.313, 11, 32) and Kyle Singleton (.284, five, 24).
Robinson sits in a three-way tie for leading home run hitter in the MIAA with Brian Wuest of Nebraska-Kearney and Grant Fink of Missouri Western.
The Sugar Land, Texas, native transferred to Tahlequah from Tulane (Division I), where he played parts of three seasons. Robinson started five of the nine games he played in as a true freshman but missed the final 32 games and received a medical redshirt for his injury.
Page 2 of 2 - Robinson made a combined 11 starts over his redshirt freshman and sophomore years — playing in only 14 of a possible 58 games last season, Robinson sputtered to a .167 batting average and one RBI for a Green Wave team which finished 38-20. The outfielder managed a .250 average with two homers and four RBI in 2011.
His power numbers have been hit-or-miss this season: Robinson totaled seven of his 11 homers in three games — three against Truman State and back-to-back two home run games against Central Missouri.
Reflective of a 15-13 record, Northeastern State outscored its first 28 opponents 193-187 and possess a .308 team batting average (288-934).
The Riverhawks’ pitching staff owns a collective 6.27 ERA with none of their three primary inning devourers less than 5.70. Northeastern State ranks 10th in the MIAA in team ERA while the Gorillas rank fourth at 4.76. The Gorillas also rank fourth in team batting average at .329 (278-846).
Pitt State and Northeastern State split their previous doubleheader — the Gorillas won the first game 2-1 and lost the second 11-10.