Howard's impressive back-to-back starts highlight this week's baseball 'Athletes Beyond


Cartersville native, Sam Howard, continues to surge up the Colorado Rockies' prospects list with a pair of back-to-back, impressive outings on May 28 and June 5 in the California League. Meanwhile, the collegiate season has come to a close for all the local 'Athletes Beyond Bartow'.


Connor Justus and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets reached an NCAA Regional championship matchup, but fell to the Florida Gators in Gainesville.


Week ending June 5:



CONNOR JUSTUS


The 2016 season came to a close Sunday for Connor Justus and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the NCAA Tournament Gainesville, FL Regional.


Justus was 1-for-5 with a sixth inning double in the 10-1 loss the regional champion and host, Florida. In the regional, Justus was 0-for-4 and scored a run during a 7-5 win over Connecticut that put the Jackets in the championship round. He was 2-for-4 with a walk and scored two runs in a 12-3 elimination game victory over Bethune-Cookman June 4, and he was 1-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored in Tech’s opening round 7-6 loss to UConn on June 3.


Justus, a former standout at Cartersville High School, finished the season with a .324 batting average and started all 63 games at shortstop. He hit six homers and had 25 extra base hits, driving home 37 runs and he scored 62.


Defensively, Justus was one of the top middle infielders in the nation with a .954 fielding percentage in 302 defensive chances. He was also part of a defense that led the NCAA in double plays turned.


Georgia Tech finished the season with a 38-25 mark.




SAM HOWARD


Howard has gone eight innings in each of his last two starts picking up a pair of pitching victories for his Modesto Nuts team, the Colorado Rockies’ Advanced Class A affiliate of the California League. Howard, who pitched at Cartersville High School and Georgia Southern University, picked up the first of those wins May 28 at home in an 8-0 shutout of San Jose. Howard struck out 10 in eight innings, scattering a pair of hits and three walks. He backed up that performance on the road June 3 by limiting the High Desert Mavericks to only one run over eight innings. The California League, South Division leaders managed only four hits as the Nuts won 2-1. Howard struck out seven and did not issue a base on balls.


For the season, Howard now has a 4-3 record in 11 starts for Modesto. He has thrown 65 and 2/3 innings. He has 73 strikeouts and has only walked 24. Opponents are also only hitting .184 against him.


Modesto is 21-35 and 14 games back of the North Division leading Visalia Rawhide.



Other professional notes:

GRANT DeBRUIN — Potomac Nationals (Adairsville HS) . . . is 4-for-16 for a .250 batting average, but has not been in the Potomac lineup since starting five games between May 20-26. DONAVAN TATE — Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Cartersville HS) . . .remains on the disabled list for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ affiliate.

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