HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The No. 1 West Florida baseball team (35-4, 10-1 GSC) has nine games left on the regular season schedule, as the Argonauts travel north to face Alabama-Huntsville on the road this weekend. The three-game series starts with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 16 at noon and concludes with a single game on Sunday, April 17 at 1 p.m.
2011 UWF Baseball Game Notes:
- 4/16 @ Alabama-Huntsville
- 4/9 vs. West Alabama
- 4/2 vs. Lambuth
- 3/26 @ North Alabama
- 3/19 vs. West Georgia
- 3/12 vs. Arkansas Tech
- 3/5 @ Valdosta State
- 2/26 vs. Florida Southern
- 2/19 vs. Delta State
- 2/12 vs. Flagler
- 2/1 vs. Montevallo, @ Rollins
By the Numbers
11 ... Greg Pron’s current hitting streak, three games shy of his career best
41 ... days since UWF’s last loss
205 ... career hits for Brandon Brewer, now fifth in UWF history
591 ... career assists for Brandon Brewer, a new school record
Hawkins Makes History
Junior Ben Hawkins hurled a seven-inning no-hitter in UWF’s 2-0 win over West Alabama on Saturday, marking the second no-hitter in UWF’s 17-year history as a Division II school. The left-hander struck out 12 batters and allowed four base runners, two by walk and two by hit-by-pitch. For his efforts, Hawkins was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, NCBWA Division II National Pitcher of the Week, and Gulf South Conference Pitcher of the Week.
UWF handled the pressure well as the nation’s No. 1 team last weekend, sweeping a three-game series at home against West Alabama. The Argonauts will bring a school record 21-game winning streak into this weekend. The conference record for consecutive wins is 28, set by former GSC member Jacksonville State in 1979. Southern Arkansas posted a 24-game streak last year, matching the second best mark in league history.
Three weeks remain on the GSC schedule this year, and UWF is in the driver’s seat in the East Division with a 10-1 record. North Alabama is second in the division at 9-4, followed by the Argonauts’ opponent this weekend, Alabama-Huntsville at 6-5. UWF is looking to repeat as GSC East regular season champs, as the Argonauts went 11-3 in conference play last year for the third divisional title in program history and the first under head coach Mike Jeffcoat.
Not only is shortstop Brandon Brewer second on the team with a .415 batting average, but he has led a stellar defensive effort by the entire team. Brewer, a South Region gold glove winner in 2009, made three diving stops alone in Ben Hawkins’ no-hitter on Saturday. The senior has started all but one game at shortstop in his four years at UWF, and he broke the school’s career assists record over the weekend and now stands at 591 in his career.
New Bats, Same Power
The new bats in NCAA college baseball have made plenty of headlines this year, as offensive numbers trend downward, but UWF is having one of its best offensive seasons. The team enters this weekend with a .349 team batting average, which ranks first in the GSC and sixth in Division II, and the Argos are averaging over eight runs per game. Last season was one of the team’s top offensive years in school history, as the Argos finished the year with a .315 average and seven runs per game.
Coaching Milestones for Jeffcoat
Head coach Mike Jeffcoat has surpassed two different coaching milestones this year, picking up career win number 300 and win number 200 while at UWF. The sixth year head coach is now 201-123 at West Florida, and he is 308-261 in 11 seasons including five at Alabama Southern Community College.
Scouting the Chargers
UAH (24-14, 6-5 GSC) has seen a fair amount of success in 2011, as the Chargers are above .500 in conference play and currently sit in third place in the East. Grant DeBruin (.408 AVG, 4 HR, 40 RBIs) is the team’s top overall hitter, while Eric Deese (.371 AVG, 7 HR, 35 RBIs) has shown the most power. Ryan Griffin is the ace of the pitching staff, posting a 4-1 record with a team-best 3.74 ERA. Griffin has also tallied 46 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched.
NCAA D-II Statistics Rankings
Batting Average ... 6th
Runs ... 13th
Hits ... 12th
Doubles ... 17th
Slugging Percentage ... 15th
Stolen Bases ... 14th
Earned Run Average ... 9th
Runs Batted In ... Dustin Lawley (23rd)
Earned Run Average ... Ben Hawkins (5th)
... Kevin Peters (12th)
Wins ... Jason Postill (2nd)
... Ben Hawkins (2nd)
... Daniel Vargas-Vila (5th)
Saves ... Shane Waller (15th)
Strikeouts ... Jason Postill (8th)
... Ben Hawkins (19th)
Senior Greg Pron broke the school record for career RBIs this season, and he did it with style with a solo home run, his first of two in a doubleheader at Valdosta State. Pron now is the school’s all-time leader in RBIs (156), strikeouts (122) and hit-by-pitches (32). The right fielder holds a career batting average of .352 and is hitting .422 this season. He also moved into second place in school history with 255 career hits.
Argonauts in the Minors
Former Argonaut pitchers John Church and Kevin Johnson are currently in Single A baseball to start to 2011 minor league season. Church is on the opening day roster for the St. Lucie Mets (New York Mets Advanced A affiliate, Florida State League), while Johnson will start the year with the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels Single A affiliate, Midwest League). Church pitched at UWF in 2009, while Johnson pitched for the Argos in 2009 and 2010.
Tino Martinez Watch List
Seniors Dustin Lawley and Jason Postill were two of 91 student-athletes to be named to the preseason watch list for the Tino Martinez Award, an award honoring the top overall player in Division II baseball. College Baseball Lineup recently updated the watch list with several additions from teams across the country, including Ben Hawkins, Greg Pron and Daniel Vargas-Vila from UWF. Erskine College slugger Bryan Fogle was the first Tino Martinez Award winner in 2010.
GSC Players of the Week
UWF has claimed five GSC pitcher of the week honors and two player of the week awards so far this year. The Argos had four straight pitcher of the week winners from 2/22 through 3/15, a first in conference history.
Players of the Week
3/8 - Greg Pron
3/22 - Dustin Lawley
Pitchers of the Week
2/22 - Daniel Vargas-Vila
3/1 - Ben Hawkins
3/8 - Jason Postill
3/15 - Daniel Vargas-Vila
4/12 - Ben Hawkins
After this weekend’s series at Alabama-Huntsville, the Argonauts will return home for the final time during the regular season to face Valdosta State. The series will open with a doubleheader on Friday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m. and finish with the series finale on Saturday, April 23 at 1 p.m. The Saturday game will act as Senior Day, as all 12 seniors will be honored before the first pitch.