Niner Nuggets: Week 2

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The Niners stayed hot by sweeping the William & Mary Tribe over the weekend by a combined score of 31-5. No need to adjust your computer monitors, folks. This is not a post about the 1998 team, this is 2021. The schedule gets incrementally tougher over the next few weeks, but so far it’s hard to critique anything about the start to the season. Things are clicking in all phases of the game right now.

Hot Start

The last 49er team to start a season 6-0 was the 2011 team. That team won the A-10 title and went on to play in a Regional in Tempe, Arizona. Before that, the Niners started the 2000 season by winning 11 games, & won 6 games to start the 1995 season.

Top Performers

  • RHP Matt Brooks (1-0, 1.29 ERA) made his first start since 2019 on Sunday after coming back from a shoulder injury. He looked better than ever, tossing 5 innings of 1-hit, 1-run ball to earn the W while striking out 5. Video of Matt recording a K: https://youtu.be/ywc-TuyWcW4
  • SS Jack Dragum went 4 for 12 on the weekend with 2 RBI via 2 solo HRs. He’s also making tough plays at SS look routine. He’s now slashing .250/.240/.500 with 4 RBI and 2 HRs on the season.
  • RHP Sam Grace (0.00 ERA, 1 SV) pitched 2 no-hit innings in relief during game 1 on Saturday while striking out 3. Video of the final out: https://youtu.be/l7Z6D-jtick
  • RF Craig Keuchel and his yellow work gloves are still getting the job done. Craig was 4 for 11 on the week with 2 runs scored, 5 RBI and a HR. On the greyhound season he’s slashing .478/.480/1.043 with 4 HR and 10 RBI. Craig’s HR: https://youtu.be/cdO1GJhEj64
  • 3B Austin Knight picked up where he left off last weekend. He was 4 for 10 with 3 runs, 6 RBI, 2 HRs, a double, and 2 SBs. Overall Knight is now slashing a ridiculous .478/.538/1.174 with 4 doubles, 4 HR, and 14 RBI. Austin’s first HR: https://youtu.be/xNV7gwWmhW4
  • RHP Andrew Lindsey (2-0, 0.69 ERA) got the start in game 1 on Saturday and went 7 strong innings. He allowed 2 hits and 1 run while striking out 7.
  • LHP Christian Lothes (1-0, 1 SV 2.25 ERA) came out of the pen for a 3-inning save during game 2 on Saturday. He surrendered just 2 hits, gave up no runs, and stuck out 6. Lothes picking up the save: https://youtu.be/lu-e_D-oyxI
  •  Newly minted C-USA Hitter of the Week, 1B David McCabe had a nice weekend. I mean, if you consider 7 for 13 with 6 RBI, 3 HRs, and a double nice. Big Maple even stole a base. On the season he’s now slashing .346/.414/.545 with 4 HRs and 10 RBI. Video of one of his HRs: https://youtu.be/QPIoU-LvSTU
  • RHP Bryce McGowan (2-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched 7 scoreless innings in game 2 on Saturday allowing only 1 hit and striking out 8.
  • The Niner bullpen pitched 9 innings this weekend, giving up 5 hits and surrendering 3 ER while striking out 14. 

Super Subs

With Sunday’s game out of hand (20-4) plenty of guys got a chance to get in the game. Several made the most of the opportunity.

Recognition/Awards

  • David McCabe named C-USA Hitter of the Week.
  • David McCabe, Bryce McGowan, & Andrew Lindsey listed among Saturday’s top performers by D1 Baseball.
  • Will Butcher & Matt Brooks listed among Sunday’s top performers by D1 Baseball.
  • Niners are once again Receiving votes in the NCBWA D1 Poll.
  • Ranked in 11.7 College Baseball Podcasts Mid-Major Top 25.

Conference USA Watch (As of 2/28)

  • WKU (3-4) – Won series vs Cincinnati 2-1
  • FAU (6-1) – Swept Seton Hall
  • FIU (4-3) – Split a 4 game series with Miami (OH)
  • UTSA (2-1) – Won series vs Sam Houston 2-1
  • ODU (5-2) – Lost series to Rhode Island 2-1
  • Rice (2-4) – Swept by Louisiana
  • MTSU (5-2) – Sweeps Bowling Green
  • USM (4-3) – Wins series vs UCONN 2-1
  • UAB (5-2) – Sweeps Alabama A&M
  • Louisiana Tech (4-2) – Sweeps Southern

Tracking the Enemy – Non-conference opponents (As of 2/28)

  • Morehead State (1-4) – Split 2 games with Ohio.
  • William & Mary (0-3) – Swept by CHARLOTTE
  • UNCG (5-2) – Wins series vs HPU 2-1
  • UNCW (5-1) – wins series vs WCU (5-3) 2-1
  • Tennessee (7-2) – Splits 4 game series with Indiana St
  • ECU (6-1) – Wins series vs Georgia Southern 2-1
  • Wake Forest (3-4) – Loses series to Notre Dame 2-1
  • College of Charleston (2-5) – Swept by USC Upstate
  • App St (5-2) – Leads series vs NC A&T 2-1 (Game 4 on Tuesday)
  • UNC-CH (6-1) – Wins series vs Virginia 2-1

RPI Watch: Charlotte 41, C-USA 16 – It’s still too early to pay too much attention to this. It’s probably not worth getting too invested until conference play begins. While the Niners are 6-0 in OOC play, C-USA is 46-24.

Up next: This week has a very SoCon feel to it. First, the Niners travel to UNCG (5-2) on Tuesday afternoon at 4 PM for the first road game of the season. The boys will be looking to avenge last year’s defeat at the hands of the Spartans. Next weekend the Western Carolina (5-3) Catamounts will come to The Hayes for a 3 game set (Friday @ 3 PM, Saturday @ 3 PM, Sunday @ 1 PM). 

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