For the second time this season and fourth time of his career, junior left-handed pitcher JP Sears has been selected the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week, it was announced Monday by the conference office.
Sears had his most dominant start of his Bulldog career on Friday in a 3-0 shutout of rival VMI. The southpaw struck out a career-high 20 batters, tying the program record in a two-hit complete game shutout, the first of his career.
The brilliant performance came 364 days after Sears struck out 19 batters at VMI last season. Combined with Friday’s 20 strikeout game, Sears owns two of the top-six strikeout totals in Southern Conference history. In its history, The Citadel has four of the SoCon’s top-six single-game strikeout totals.
Sears struck out two batters in eight of nine innings on Friday and struck out the side in the second, sixth and eighth innings. He pitched seven innings for the fifth straight start and has won four straight decisions.
The Sumter, South Carolina, native enters the week leading NCAA Division I in total strikeouts with 63. The 20 strikeouts are the most in a single-game by one pitcher in Division I in 2017. Sears also ranks ninth in Division I in strikeouts per nine innings (13.39) and is tied for 20th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.00). He leads the SoCon in total strikeouts, ERA (1.70) and batters struck out looking (25).
Friday’s start has also earned Sears recognition as one of Collegiate Baseball’s National Players of the Week. He was selected as Friday’s Pitcher of the Week by D1Baseball.com and will be featured in USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Gold Standard Performance of the Week poll.
Fans can vote for Sears’ as the top performance here: https://twitter.com/USAGoldenSpikes/status/846403851523641347
The Citadel hosts South Carolina on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Joe Riley Park. The Bulldogs continue SoCon action beginning Friday at Western Carolina.