University of Jamestown's Dru Fitz has again tossed his hat into the ring for Great Plains Athletic Conference pitcher of the week.
The senior right-hander from Gresham, Oregon, twirled a one-hit, complete-game shutout over Midland University on Friday afternoon in Fremont, Nebraska. Fitz struck out nine and issued a pair of walks over seven innings as the Jimmies cruised 6-0.
Fitz was named the conference's pitcher of the week in Week 2 following a three-hit, 4-0 blanking at Northwestern (Iowa) on March 12.
"Dru has had three really good years for us, but he's at a very high level on the mound right now," said UJ baseball coach Tom Hager. "When he's on the mound, we know that he's going to attack the zone and that's fun when you're playing behind a guy like that."
The Jimmies would sweep the Warriors, picking up a 5-2 victory in the nine-inning nightcap.
Fitz (4-0) turned in his fourth career complete game and third shutout in 21 starts for the Jimmies. His nine strikeouts brought his three-year total to 123 and counting.
Fitz allowed a lead-off single to Midland's Peyton Garbers in the second inning but was unhittable thereafter, throwing 98 total pitches. Jamestown's ace (12-2 career record) logged 90 pitches and 11 strikeouts in his shutout over the Red Raiders earlier this month.
"Certainly, we're keeping track of pitches and keeping the big picture in mind because we have games coming up again next week," Hager said. "But he was cruising. He had great stuff today and he was able to eat up an entire game, and that allowed us to have a bullpen in game 2."
Jamestown's offense backed up Fitz with three runs in both the sixth and seventh frames, and both innings started with a Grant Okawa lead-off walk. UJ left fielder Matt Meraz belted an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth, while right fielder Brain Rice and second baseman Brice Foster would produce run-scoring hits in the seventh.
"Grant is a guy that's had a lot of quality at-bats for us and that was just a perfect example of setting the table," Hager said of his senior shortstop. "When you can get a guy at the top of the order to set the table for the rest of the guys, that's really, really important."
Foster turned in a solid two games Friday, clubbing three doubles (5-for-8) with an RBI and three runs scored. The senior transfer from Menlo College, California, is batting .367 with nine RBIs in 18 games.
"Brice has been a great addition to our team," Hager said. "He's a guy that really picks it at second base, has came up big for us offensively, and today was a perfect example of that."
UJ senior starter Kensaku Akiya (2-2) allowed just a single run through five innings and 64 pitches to earn the victory in game 2. Relievers Andy Reed, Austin Pesicka and Aaron Pugh buttoned up the sweep.
Foster clubbed a one-out double in the fourth and later scored from third on an error before the Jimmies broke the game open with a three-run sixth, highlighted by a Tanner Shepard pinch-hit RBI double off Midland reliever Zachary Vincent.
"(Shepard) fought in that at-bat and was able to get a pitch up and hit it off the left-field fence," Hager said. "Really happy for him. He works his butt off every day."
The Jimmies also plated runs on a bases-loaded balk charged to Matt Abdelnour and a Dylan Dudley sacrifice fly. UJ catcher Dirk Eymundson drove in Foster with an RBI single in the seventh.
"We got a ton of contributions from a ton of different guys," Hager said. "In both games, we used most of our bench and that's team baseball. When you can bring guys off the bench to run or pinch-hit, it just shows the quality of your depth and that's something that we really used today."
The Jimmies improved to 16-10 overall and 3-3 in the GPAC. UJ heads to Orange City, Iowa, tomorrow (March 27) to play two games against Northwestern College (8-14, 1-5 GPAC) beginning at 1 p.m.
Hager said: "We had a chance to come up with some big wins today and now we gotta have that carry over to tomorrow."
University of Jamestown 6, Midland University 0
UJ 000 003 3 -- 6 7 0
MU 000 000 0 -- 0 1 1
Dru Fitz and Dirk Eymundson. Tyler Seebaum, James Scurto (6) and Matt Abdelnour. W-Fitz. L.-Seebaum.
Highlights: UJ, Fitz 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 SO, 98 NP; Matt Meraz 2-3, 2B, RBI, R; Brian Rice 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R; Brice Foster 2-3, 2B, RBI. MU, Seebaum 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO; Scurto 1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO; Peyton Garbers 1-3.
Records: Jamestown 15-10, 2-3 GPAC. Midland 11-13, 1-4.
University of Jamestown 5, Midland University 2
UJ 000 103 100 -- 5 9 1
MU 000 001 001 -- 2 3 1
Kensaku Akiya, Andy Reed (6), Austin Pesicka (8), Aaron Pugh (9) and Dirk Eymundson. Steven Boyd, Zachary Vincent (6), Matt Abdelnour (6) and Jack Barrios. W-Knesaku. L-Boyd.
Highlights: UJ, Akiya 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, 64 NP; Reed 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Pesicka 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO; Pugh 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO; Brice Foster 3-5, 2 2B, 3 R; Eymundson 1-2, BB, RBI; Tanner Shpeard 1-1, 2B, RBI; Tayler Cullen 1-2, 2B, R, BB. MU, Boyd 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 12 SO; Abdelnour 3 2/3 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 SO; Kyle Weber 1-4, RBI; Jack Barrios 2-4.
Records: Jamestown 16-10, 3-3 GPAC. Midland 11-14, 1-5.