Citadel duo takes Southern Conference awards
CHARLESTON, S.C. (CIT) - The performance of Austin Pritcher and Johnathan Stokes last week has earned the Bulldog duo recognition as the Southern Conference Pitcher and Player of the Week, respectively.
This is the first time a Citadel pitcher has received the weekly SoCon award although Pritcher was the pitcher of the month for February. Stokes is the third Bulldog to win player of the week honors, joining Drew DeKerlegand (March 4) and Bo Thompson (March 18).
Pritcher turned in the top outing for a Citadel pitcher this season, tossing a complete game five-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over Furman in the series opener on Friday. The senior right hander did not issue a walk and struck out six in the first complete game by a Bulldog in 2013. His previous career shutout came in a 3-0 victory over UNC Greensboro last year.
Pritcher, a graduate of James Island High School, retired the first 11 Furman batters, set down the side in order five times and allowed multiple base runners in only two innings to earn his fifth win of the season against two defeats. He lowered his ERA to 2.40 and opponent batting average to .227 and leads the SoCon in both categories.
The outing continued a run of outstanding work on the mound for Pritcher. Over his last four starts he has allowed only 20 hits and four runs covering 29 2/3 innings, and he has quality starts (at least six innings and three or fewer runs) in eight of his 11 appearances on the year. The victory over the Paladins was the 19th of his career, the most by any active SoCon pitcher.
Stokes went 9-for-15 with two doubles, a home run, four runs scored and nine RBI during a 3-1 week for The Citadel. He had a pair of three-hit games in a series win over Furman and had two games with three RBI during the week.
The sophomore shortstop from Cheraw, S.C., opened the week with two hits and a pair of sacrifice flies and drove in three runs in an 8-5 win over Charleston Southern last Wednesday. In the opening game of the series against the Paladins, Stokes had three hits and knocked in three more runs including a two-run homer in the seventh that extended The Citadel's lead to 4-0.
He followed that up with three hits in the opening game of Saturday's doubleheader and had a two-run double as part of a four-run seventh inning that turned a 5-4 lead into a five-run cushion in an eventual 13-7 victory. Stokes had an RBI double in a six-run first inning in the nightcap before Furman rallied for a 14-10 win that snapped The Citadel's 10-game winning streak.
Over the four-game stretch last week, Stokes raised his batting average from .273 to .301. He has driven in runs in five straight games and 13 of the past 16 with a total of 23 over that span and has 40 RBI on the year while starting all 45 games.
The Bulldogs are 27-18 on the season and second in the SoCon with a 14-7 league record. They head to Chapel Hill, N.C., on Wednesday for a game against the top-ranked Tar Heels and return home for a SoCon series against Davidson at Riley Park beginning Friday at 6 p.m.