IWU photo By Destiny Colon, dmc photography
Spalding athletics photo
Methodist athletics photo
As the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division III Player of the Week process unveils a new era that features a Rookie honoree, the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference earned two of the three awards on 2018’s first ballot.
HITTER OF WEEK
Iowa Wesleyan University’s Joesph Belarde, a senior outfielder from Fountain, Colo., helped the Tigers offense plate 40 runs over three games on the weekend including a 26-run explosion in a win over Lawrence. In the game Belarde hit for the cycle, going 6-of-7 at the plate with two home runs and eight runs batted in. In addition to hitting for the cycle, one of his home runs was a grand slam that gave the Tigers the lead. For the week, Belarde hit .538 with two long balls while driving in nine and scoring eight runs. He finished with a .625 on-base percentage and a 1.308 slugging percentage.
PITCHER OF WEEK
The nation’s strikeout leader a year ago, Spalding University’s Jimi Keating, a senior from Bardstown, Ky., picked up where he left off to open the campaign. Against Aurora University of Illinois, he tallied an 18-strikeout game over the weekend. Keating worked 8 1/3 innings, allowing just two hits while walking none. The 18 strikeouts are a school record while Spalding pitchers totaled 22 strikeouts in the game, the third most in NCAA Division III history.
ROOKIE OF WEEK
Methodist University pitcher Tristen Luck received the inaugural NCBWA Division III newcomer award. The Fayetteville, N.C. native picked up two wins in two starts for the Monarchs. In ten innings pitched, he allowed one run (0.90 ERA) on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Luck collected the wins over Washington & Lee and USA South foe William Peace.
Honorable Mention Hitter: Andrew Mink, so., 1B, Oglethorpe - Had an outstanding week for the Stormy Petrels, leading his team to a non-conference victory over Piedmont and a series win over Berry. Overall, he went 11-for-18 over the four games with a home run, three doubles, a walk, eight RBI, and six runs scored. In the Petrels' SAA opening series against Berry, Mink went 9-for-13 with a home run, two doubles, seven RBI, and four runs scored. That included a 2-for-3, three-RBI performance in Saturday's 8-1 win, which clinched the series for the Petrels.
Honorable Mention Pitcher: Greg Schneider, sr., Frostburg St. - Posted a 2-0 record with an incredible 30 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched. Schneider opened the year with 15 strikeouts in just 6.0 innings of work in a 6-1 win over Penn State Abington. At one point, he fanned ten straight batters from the first through fifth innings. This past Saturday, Schneider fanned another 15 batters in a 13-0 shutout of Rutgers-Newark. In the win over the Scarlet Raiders, Schneider surrendered just two hits and struck out at least two batters in all seven innings, including three in the sixth. He has allowed only one earned run for an ERA of 0.69 and four hits through his 13.0 innings pitched.
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters, and publicists of the sport. Members receive a membership card, directory, newsletter updates and official votes in the Dick Howser Player of the Year Award, Regional Player of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting.