There was an excellent article in the Nanaimo Daily News on Russell earlier this week describing how he has changed his mechanics since the end of last season in an attempt to increase his velocity. His goal is to not just dominate in the Canadian College Baseball Conference, but to play college baseball in the U.S. and hopefully play professional baseball someday. After smashing school records last season, Russell’s numbers have taken a small step backwards this spring. They are still very good though -- in his seven starts, he has a 3.75 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. The most important thing is that he is still controlling the strike zone – he has notched 9.5 strikeouts and walked 3.6 batters per nine innings this year, so look for that ERA to continue to come down as the season progresses.
Unfortunately, the news on Austin Russell is not quite so rosy. In the last 16 games played by the Southern Polytechnic Hornets, Russell has two singles and a walk in only nine at-bats. He’s hitting .310 in his 58 at-bats this year, but playing time has been hard to come by on a team bursting with offensive talent. The Hornets have a 29-16 record on the season, thanks largely to a .312 team batting average.
- Single game tickets go on sale to the public on Monday April 15th, so be sure to reserve your seats for the opening series against the Kelowna Falcons (June 5-7). Tickets can be purchased online at TicketReturn.com. Fans who purchase tickets online will receive a 5% discount on walk-up prices. For more info on single game tickets, go to the official HarbourCats site.
- Alex Real is having a breakout season for the University of New Mexico Lobos. The sophomore had an 11-game hitting streak snapped last week, but he has been able to raise his batting average to .341 and his on-base percentage to .436. Real now has 5 homers and 20 RBI in a total of 138 at-bats this season. Although he struggled in the field in the early going, Real has now gone 24 consecutive games without committing an error.
- Anthony Hermelyn continues to improve in his freshman season with the Oklahoma Sooners. Hermelyn has been the Sooners’ regular starting catcher and a solid last few weeks at the plate has raised his average to .286. He now sports an impressive .384 on-base percentage and he has knocked in 13 runs in his 84 at-bats on the year.
- Matt Cooper of the University of Hawaii has settled nicely into the starting rotation after beginning the season in the Rainbows’ bullpen. Although he limited Cal Poly to only four hits and a walk in eight innings pitched on Saturday, he still took the loss and his record now sits at 2-4 on the season. In spite of a losing record, Cooper has only walked 10 batters in his 53 1/3 innings pitched and he leads the team with a 2.53 ERA.
- Since getting lit up on March 7th, Andrew Nelson of Cuesta College has strung together seven consecutive solid appearances. On Saturday, Nelson pitched a three-hit, complete-game shutout against LA Pierce to lower his ERA to a team-leading 2.60.
- Brett Urabe of the UCLA Bruins registered the first hit of his college career on April 7th – a home run in a 5-2 loss to Oregon State. You can view Urabe’s blast below: