May 19, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina junior right-hander Jeremy Null was today named the Southern Conference's Pitcher of the Week for all games played May 12-17. Selections are made by the league office from nominations submitted by the media relations office of each school.
The weekly honor for Null is his third this season, the most by any one pitcher in the SoCon. He was also recognized back on February 17 after his performance on Opening Day against the second-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs, striking out a season-high 12 in eight innings. Null was again honored for the final week of March after striking out eight in seven innings against Wofford.
Combined, it is the sixth weekly honor shared by four different Catamounts this spring. Null additionally earned one of two monthly awards by the Catamount pitching staff this season, garnering Pitcher of the Month plaudits back in February while senior Jordan Smith was honored in April.
With the regular season title hanging in the balance, Null threw his first career complete game in game one of Friday's doubleheader to clinch the program's 13th regular season championship. The Claremont, N.C., product struck out nine Davidson hitters in the career-long nine innings of the decisive outing, recording two strikeouts looking in the ninth inning alone.
Null opened the game with five innings of scoreless baseball including retiring seven-consecutive batters at one point prior to a brief rain shower that delayed the game for just over 30 minutes.
All told, Null limited one of the top offensive teams in the SoCon to just two runs on seven hits - only two for extra bases - with a walk which came to the first batter in the final frame. He limited Davidson to a .212 batting average against. Null pitched out of the toughest spot he faced all afternoon as the Wildcats put two runners aboard in the seventh inning, but managed to strand both by inducing an inning-ending ground ball.
Null moved into sixth place in WCU's career record book with his 260th career strikeout. His 3.17 career strikeout-to-walk ratio (260-82) ranks him fourth all-time in school history. His 42 career starts rank him eighth on the school's ledger while his 249.2 career innings rank him 16th overall.
Null headlined a strong pitching week by the Catamount staff. In addition to Null's win, freshman B.J. Nobles scored his first career win as WCU snapped what had been the nation's longest winning streak at 16 by rallying past Kennesaw State last Tuesday, 8-6. Senior T.J. Fussell (6-2) and sophomore Colton Davis (4-2) bookended victories around Null's championship-clinching win. Junior Tyler Powell had an equally as impressive week, tallying decisions in all three appearances with a trio of saves to give him 13 on the season - third in the single-season record books - and put him tied for seventh on the career ledger with 15.
Seeded first in this week's Southern Conference Baseball Championship, Western Carolina (37-16, 20-7 SoCon) awaits its first round opponent which will be determined in Tuesday's tournament-opening game between the eighth-seed Furman Paladins and ninth-seeded UNCG Spartans. WCU and the winner of that first game will play at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, May 21 at Joseph P. Riley Park in Charleston, S.C.
Tickets to the 2014 Southern Conference Baseball Championship are $30 for a tournament booklet or $10 for single-day tickets. Contact The Citadel ticket office at (843) 953-3647 or go to the box office at Riley Park to purchase.
Western Carolina's Alumni Affairs will hold a special pre-tournament social event in Charleston on Tuesday, May 20 at the Marina Variety Store Restaurant (17 Lockwood Drive). The event is from 6:00 - 8:00 pm, and all food is Dutch treat. RSVP by contacting Beau Busby, Assistant Director in Alumni Affairs at (877) 440-9990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, prior to first pitch of WCU's games in Charleston, the Catamount Club will hold a special tailgate in the parking lots at Riley Park. Just look for the Catamount tents and Purple Zone signage for the WCU tailgate.