Athletes Beyond Bartow: Pro and college baseball weekly update
Former Cartersville Hurricanes Connor Justus and Sam Howard had productive weeks with their respective minor league clubs.
Justus, a Double-A prospect in the Los Angeles Angels' organization is currently riding a five-game hitting streak with the Mobile BayBears of the Southern League. Howard, a southpaw with the Colorado Rockies' Triple-A team in Albuquerque, picked up his second win of the season and had another shutout performance in a no-decision outing.
On the collegiate level, NCAA Division I teams are entering their final week of the regular season and teams at other levels have already begun post-season play.
SAM HOWARD — Albuquerque Isotopes (5th-year pro; LHP; Colorado Rockies organization; Pacific Coast League; Georgia Southern; Cartersville HS)... picked up his second win of the 2018 season last Monday (May 7) as the Isotopes knocked off visiting El Paso 11-7. Howard went five innings and allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks. He fanned four of the 21 batters he faced. Saturday night, Howard tossed 4.1 innings of shutout baseball in a non-decision. He allowed only two hits and three walks while striking out two in an eventual 6-3 win for Albuquerque. The southpaw is now 2-3 for the season in seven starts. He has a 5.01 ERA in just over 32 innings with 30 strikeouts. Albuquerque (19-18) is in second place in the PCL Pacific Southern Division. The ‘Topes continue a four game series at Las Vegas through Tuesday night and return home Thursday for an eight-day homestand against Reno and Salt Lake that runs May 17-24.
CONNOR JUSTUS — Mobile BayBears (3rd-year pro; MIF; Los Angeles Angels organization; Southern League; Georgia Tech; Cartersville HS)… had one of his best weeks of the season at the plate as he continued a five-game hitting streak. In Sunday’s home game against Birmingham, Justus went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, and scored a run in a 3-2 win. For the week, he was 7-for-19 (.368) with five walks and four runs scored. He has hit .242 over the last 10 games and has raised his season average to .206. With 23 starts at shortstop and eight at second base, the defensive standout has a .926 fielding percentage in 135 total defensive chances. Mobile (17-19) is in second place in the Southern League’s South Division, 6.5 games behind first place Biloxi. The BayBears open a three game home series with Birmingham Monday night and then travel to Jacksonville for a six-game series that begins Thursday through Monday, May 21 and includes a makeup game from an earlier rainout.
ELLIOTT ANDERSON — Auburn University (Soph., LHP, Cartersville HS)…worked in the sixth inning of two of the Tigers’ three games this past weekend at 5th-ranked Ole Miss. The southpaw entered with a man on first and no outs in the sixth inning Thursday night and got a pair of groundouts sandwiched around an RBI single before being lifted with two outs in the inning and a runner at third. The Rebels went on the defeat 16th-ranked Auburn 5-4. Friday, Anderson allowed one earned in completing the sixth inning. He hit a batter and yielded an RBI double in an eventual 8-3 Auburn loss. Ole Miss completed the sweep Saturday by topping Auburn, 10-3, making the Tigers 1-3 for the week. In 21 appearances this season, Anderson is 5-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 28 innings pitched. Auburn (35-17, 13-14 SEC) plays at Troy Tuesday before hosting LSU Thursday through Saturday to close out the regular season. The SEC Tournament begins May 22 in Hoover, AL.
MASON ROBINSON — Louisiana Tech (R-Jr., OF, Woodland HS)… went 4-for-16 including a walk, three runs scored, and four RBI in four games this week. The
Bulldogs had a 12-1 win a Grambling State Wednesday and then took two-of-three at conference-leading and 13th-ranked Southern Miss over the weekend. Robinson has appeared in 53 games this season with 51 starts in the outfield. He has a .279 batting average that includes six homers, 14 extra base hits, and 34 RBI in 223 plate appearances (197 official at-bats). The Bulldogs (35-18, 18-9 C-USA) are currently tied for second place with Florida Atlantic and trail Southern Miss by 2.5 games with one conference weekend remaining in the regular season. Most projections have only two NCAA tournament bids for Conference USA including the automatic bid for the conference tournament winner. Louisiana Tech hosts a regular season ending three-game conference series with Old Dominion Thursday through Saturday. The C-USA tournament begins May 23 in Biloxi, MS.
TRISTIN SMITH — Young Harris College (R-Jr., INF, Adairsville HS)… was 0-for-6 in three games at the Peach Belt Conference Tournament in St. Augustine, but did walk twice and contribute one RBI with a sacrifice fly. The Mountain Lions beat 26th-ranked USC-Aiken Friday, but lost to Flagler College and 9th-ranked Columbus State Saturday to end their year. Smith appeared in 37 games and started 29 this season. He finished with a .232 batting average in 112 official at-bats with five homers and 25 RBI. Young Harris completed the year with a 26-24 record.
TYLER WASHINGTON — Young Harris College (R-Jr., OF, Adairsville HS)… had one hit in each of the Mountain Lions’ three games at the Peach Belt Conference Tournament in St. Augustine Friday and Saturday and was 3-for-10 in the event. Young Harris defeated USC-Aiken in their tournament opener, but lost to Flagler College and Columbus State to end their year. Washington finished the season with a .322 batting average in 47 games that included 44 starts. He had 16 extra base hits, including five homers and 19 RBI in 146 official at-bats. YHC finished the season with a 26-24 mark.