Athletes Beyond Bartow: Pro and college baseball weekly update
At the professional level, Connor Justus is hitting .350 over the last couple of weeks while Sam Howard has been placed on the disabled list with an injury to his left shoulder.
On the collegiate diamonds, teams including local players at non-Division I levels have all concluded their seasons while the D-I programs begin their conference tournaments this week.
SAM HOWARD — Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Triple-A Pacific Coast League (5th-yr. pro; LHP; Georgia Southern University; Cartersville HS)… Howard is currently on the 7-day disable list for the Isotopes following an injury to his left shoulder in a game May 12 at Las Vegas. The injury occurred during a base running incident at home plate in the fourth inning. Howard had reached on a fielder’s choice and eventually reached third base. On a wild pitch, Howard scored but the collision at the plate on the slide forced him out of the game with discomfort and eventually to the DL. Howard is 2-3 this season in seven starts. He has a 5.01 ERA with a 30:17 strikeout-to-walk ration in just over 32 innings. PCL hitters have a .273 batting average against him. Albuquerque is 24-21 and in second place, one game behind the Salt Lake Bees in the PCL’s Pacific Southern Division. The ‘Topes continue a three-game home series with Salt Lake through Thursday before hitting the road for a five-game set at Sacramento.
CONNOR JUSTUS — Mobile BayBears, L.A. Angels organization; Double-A Southern League (3rd-yr. pro; MIF; Georgia Tech; Cartersville HS)… The last two weeks have been productive at the plate for Justus. Following a slow start in April that saw his batting average dip as low as .163, he has hit safely in 11 of 19 games with a pair of multiple hit games this month. As a result, his batting average has risen to .202. Since May 9, the middle infielder is 14-for-40 (.350). Mobile (23-21) is currently second in the Southern League’s South Division. The BayBears trail the Biloxi Shuckers by 4.5 games and are 3.5 games up on the third place Mississippi Braves. Mobile starts a five-game home series with Biloxi Wednesday that runs through Sunday.
ELLIOTT ANDERSON — Auburn University (So., LHP, Cartersville HS)… Entered to start the eighth inning at Troy last Tuesday with his team trailing and gave up a single and a home run while retiring only one batter on a sacrifice bunt. He was lifted after the home run and Troy won the game 9-5, but the Tigers bounced back to take two of three SEC games at home last Thursday through Saturday against LSU. Anderson has made 22 appearances this season, all in relief. He has a 5-0 record and a 3.81 ERA in just over 28 innings pitched. He has 29 strikeouts and a .231 BAA. 21st-ranked Auburn plays 26th-ranked Kentucky Tuesday afternoon in an SEC Tournament play-in game in Hoover, AL. The winner reaches the double-elimination portion of the conference tournament and the loser is eliminated. The SEC tournament continues through Sunday.
HARRISON OSBORN — Point University (Fr., RHP, Cartersville HS)… picked up a pitching win last Wednesday over 15th-ranked Keiser University in the Opening Round tournament of the NAIA National Championships in Lawrenceville at Georgia Gwinnett College. Osborn pitched into the sixth inning and allowed only two earned runs on six walks and five hits. He struck out two in 5 and one-third innings. The Skyhawks finished runner-up to host Georgia Gwinnett and finished the year 37-25. Osborn was 6-2 in 11 starts and 15 appearances in 2018. He struck out 35, walked 17, and completed the year with a 3.45 ERA in 60 innings pitched.
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.