Courtesy: SUU Media Relations
SOUTHERN UTAH PREPARES FOR FINAL APPEARANCE AT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
Southern Utah will return to the Summit League Tournament for the first time since 2009 this week, competing for its first conference title in its final season as a program. The Thunderbirds hold the fourth seed with a record of 12-11 and will take on top-seeded Oral Roberts this Thursday at 6 p.m. (MT) The outcome of that contest will determine the following matchup as the winners and losers will take on their counterparts from the opening game which will pit second-seeded Oakland against North Dakota State. Complete tournament details can be found at thesummitleague.org.
FOLLOW THE THUNDERBIRDS
Southern Utah baseball fans can follow the games via LiveStats at www.SUUTBIRDS.com. Summit League Tournament games will be webstreamed through www.orugoldeneagles.com. A one-day pass will be available for $7.95 with a full tournament pass for $9.95.
Oral Roberts wrapped up its 14th consecutive regular season title with a 17-6 Summit League record after winning 13 of its last 16 games in conference play. The ORU pitching staff features three of the top four pitchers in the league as well as the best ERA with a mark of 2.65. The Golden Eagles also rank second with a .309 team batting average and first with 147 RBI.
The Thunderbirds went 1-2 against ORU in a weather shortened series played in Cedar City during the regular season. The Golden Eagles came out on top of the first two contests by scores of 6-0 and 8-4 before SUU captured the final game by a count of 6-0. Junior starter Justin Neubauer had a terrific outing on the mound for the T-Birds, allowing just one hit in seven innings to record a complete game shutout.
Oakland took three-of-four from Southern Utah in its final series of the season to secure the second spot in the Summit League Tournament. The Thunderbirds took the opening game by a 10-8 score then dropped the final three with two of those losses coming off of walk-off hits. The Golden Grizzlies recorded a conference best .321 team batting average and their ace Jeff Gorecki ranked first among all pitchers with a 1.21 ERA. Senior outfielder Tim Ryan led the league with 24 runs scored while posting a top five batting average of .368.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE
After dropping 2-0 and 4-2 decisions in their first two meetings with North Dakota State, the Thunderbirds bounced back with a pair of wins by final scores of 4-2 and 4-1 to split their four-game series with the Bison. Justin Neubauer and Joe Karlik both went the distance on the mound in the victories while Brad Royer and Bo Cuthbertson each recorded a homerun in the series. NDSU finished second in the Summit League with a team ERA of 3.43, but was near the bottom of the pack with a .260 batting average. Tim Colwell ranked among the league’s top hitters with a .363 mark.
SUU ranked third in the Summit League with a team batting average of .280 and second in runs scored with 143. The Thunderbirds also had the second best slugging percentage (.404) after leading the league with 17 homeruns. Outfielder David Headley scored a league-high 24 runs and was fifth in total bases with 42. Headley, Bo Cuthbertson and Kevin Kline were also among the conference leaders with three homeruns apiece.
COMPLETE GAME SHUTOUT EARNS SUU PITCHER CONFERENCE HONORS
Southern Utah starting pitcher Chase Rezac earned his first career Pitcher of the Week award today after tossing a complete game shutout to help the Thunderbirds take a 14-0 victory over South Dakota State last Thursday. The junior has led the Southern Utah rotation throughout the season striking out 38 batters in 65.1 innings while compiling a 3-7 record. Rezac also filled the designated hitter spot in the lineup, where he collected his fifth homerun of the season and drove in three runs.
CHASE REZAC BECOMES THIRD SUU SLUGGER TO BE NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Southern Utah DH Chase Rezac received the Player of the Week award after hitting .545 with six RBI and five runs scored in three wins against IPFW. In the first game of the April 20 doubleheader, Rezac went 4-for-5 with five RBI and three runs scored while belting a home run and adding a stolen base. In the nitecap, he was 1-for-2 with a RBI triple and scored twice. He reached base twice in the series finale. For the week, Rezac slugged 1.000 and recorded a .643 on-base percentage to go along with his six hits, including a triple and home run, and two stolen bases.
JUSTIN NEUBAUER TABBED AS SUMMIT LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Southern Utah starting pitcher Justin Neubauer earned his second career Pitcher of the Week award Monday after tossing a complete game shutout to help the Thunderbirds take a 6-0 victory over Oral Roberts last Friday. The junior southpaw took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the contest until surrendering a single for the only ORU hit. He also gave up just two walks and struck out two over seven innings. Neubauer leads SUU pitching staff with four wins in eight starts on the year. He has struck out 24 batters over 48 innings for a two-to-one strikeout to walks ratio.
DAVID HEADLEY NAMED SUMMIT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Southern Utah Outfielder David Headley captured his first career Player of the Week honor after helping Southern Utah to a league series road win at Western Illinois. The junior went 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored in game three’s victory. He also added a double and home run in the game and went 2-for-2 in the series opener with a home run and three RBI. In five games last week, Headley batted .438 (7-for-16) with seven RBI, six runs scored, two homers, a double and a triple. He added one walk and had a slugging percentage of 1.000 and on-base percentage of .471. For the season Headley holds a .532 slugging percentage and ranks third on the team with 12 RBI.
SUU SHORTSTOP EARNS RECOGNITION FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT WEEK
Southern Utah shortstop Bo Cuthbertson earned his second consecutive Summit League Player of the Week award Monday after posting impressive numbers to help the Thunderbirds to a 3-1 record last week. The reigning Summit League Player of the Year went 4-for-4 with two home runs and a double for five RBI and three runs scored as SUU was narrowly edged at Kansas. The T-Birds then recorded a three-game sweep of Chicago State as Cuthbertson drove in three more runs and went on to post a .600 (9-for-15) batting average for the week and collect another double on his way to a 1.133 slugging percentage.
SUU SHORTSTOP GARNERS NATIONAL ATTENTION HEADING INTO HIS SENIOR SEASON
Senior shortstop Bo Cuthbertson has picked up two more coveted distinctions, being named to the Louisville Slugger and College Sports Madness 2012 Preseason All-American Teams. These awards come in addition to the Southern Utah slugger’s selection to the NCBWA Preseason All-American First-Team last month. Last season the Thunderbird infielder inserted himself into the SUU record books after posting the third highest single season batting average (.432), the third most hits (83), as well as the second highest total in doubles (20) and triples (7) in school history. His batting average was also the fifth best mark in the nation and he was also among the nation’s leaders in triples, slugging percentage (.688) and on base percentage (.496). Cuthbertson also recorded 51 runs, 47 RBI, 27 walks, 15 stolen bases, five homeruns and four sacrifice flies on the year. Cuthbertson’s outstanding performance in his junior season helped him earn recognition as the Summit League Player of the Year as well as a spot on the Louisville Slugger All-America Baseball Team, the College Baseball Lineup 2011 D1 All-Star Team and the American Baseball Coaches Association Midwest All-Region Second Team.
CUTHBERTSON, KAUWELOA EARN ALL-SUMMIT LEAGUE FIRST TEAM HONORS
Southern Utah had three first-team and two second-team all-Summit League selections last season. Bo Cuthbertson earned first-team honors at shortstop and was named the Summit League Player of the Year after batting .432 and driving in 47 runs. The junior shortstop did the most damage during conference play with team-bests of 28 runs, 46 hits, 12 doubles and 65 total bases. Senior James Crockett Mitchell Kauweloa and were honored at pitcher and utility with first-team accolades. Taylor Shaw and Tyson Weber were also recognized by the conference as they each earned a spot on the second team. Shaw recorded a .338 average with 35 RBI as a DH while Weber collected 13 doubles to go with a .333 average in his freshman campaign.
SUU TO DISCONTINUE BASEBALL FOLLOWING 2012 SEASON
Southern Utah University has announced that its intercollegiate baseball program will be discontinued following the 2012 season. The University’s Board of Trustees approved the action in its regular meeting following a recommendation by its athletic sub-committee. The University’s pending move to the Big Sky Conference, which doesn not sponsor baseball, coupled with the need to redirect resources to add men’s tennis, precipitated the decision to eliminate baseball, SUU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ken Beazer said. The committee further recommended the athletics department continue in the future to channel its resources into sports with strong conference affiliations in order to put its best foot forward. “This is one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make in my time at Southern Utah University,” Beazer said. “There were many factors and options considered; yet, we believe today’s decision puts the University in a better position to advance its intercollegiate athletics programs.” Beazer indicated that existing athletic scholarships will be honored for players with remaining eligibility for one year following the 2012 season.