DALLAS (NCBWA) – Student-athletes from institutions in the USA South Athletic Conference, the Atlantic East Conference, the American Southwest Conference, and the North Coast Athletic Conference are off to hot starts in 2023 and took home the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Div. III Awards for the month of February. The February honors cover all games played February 1-26. The Div. III committee will resume the traditional weekly selections and weekly submission criteria next week with the uptick in teams beginning action this week.
HITTER OF MONTH
North Carolina Wesleyan University junior first baseman Jackson Hobbs hit .586 (17-for-29) over an eight-game stretch for the Battling Bishops. Through February 26, the 6-1 Battling Bishops saw Hobbs drive in 20 runs, score 12 times, draw six walks, and club four home runs. This week’s USA South Athletic Conference Player of the Week had five multi-hit games in February, hit safely in every contest, and had four games with at least three RBI. Hobbs erupted for a three-homer, eight-RBI game in a season-opening 18-10 win over Bridgewater College (Virginia) on February 10.
Honorable Mention Hitter: Jack Thomson, Sr., INF, Lewis & Clark College (Oregon) – Hit .432 (16-for-37) with a NCAA Div. III-leading seven home runs over a 12-game slate in February. Thomson, last year’s NCBWA Div. III Hitter of the Month for February, has helped his team to a 10-2 start. He has scored 26 times, driven in 13, and has 17 walks, with seven being intentional free passes. Thomson has a trio of three-hit games on the year.
PITCHER OF MONTH
Marymount University (Virginia) sophomore right-hander David Muirhead is off to a 2-0 start for the Saints. Muirhead, who has collected two D3baseball.com Team of the Week and one Atlantic East Conference Pitcher of the Week awards this season, has fired 14 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just two hits. Muirhead struck out four during 6 2/3 shutout innings against Stevenson University (Maryland) on February 18, a game in which he carried a perfect game into the sixth inning. Muirhead followed that up with 7 2/3 innings of one-hit shutout baseball against DeSales University (Pennsylvania) on February 24.
Honorable Mention Pitcher: Nick Kosmetatos, Sr., Benedictine University (Illinois) – Fired seven innings of two-hit shutout baseball in his collegiate pitching debut against Knox College (Illinois). The Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Pitcher of the Week struck out 11 Prairie Fire batters in his lone outing of the month.
CO-ROOKIE OF MONTH
The University of the Ozarks (Arkansas) Jake Estrada went 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA over 20 2/3 innings in February. The freshman right-hander started three games, allowed eight runs (six earned) on 18 hits, and struck out 20. Estrada is coming off eight innings of shutout baseball in a 16-0 win over LeTourneau University (Texas). Estrada struck out nine in that game en route to earning American Southwest Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.
The College of Wooster’s (Ohio) Ryan Kramer debuted at third base and hit cleanup for the Fighting Scots in their first two games of the year. Kramer did not disappoint, going 6-for-10 for three RBI, three runs scored, and two doubles in Saturday’s (February 25) doubleheader with Grove City College (Pennsylvania). Kramer broke out for five hits in a 19-7 game-two win. His doubles, runs scored, and RBI all came in that game. He had a single in his first collegiate start.
The co-Rookie of the Month designation is due to a voting tie between Estrada and Kramer, with both players receiving identical numbers of first-, second-, and third-place votes.
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