Athletes Beyond Bartow: Bat stays hot for Justus; college diamond action heats up with conference pl
Fourth-year professional Connor Justus has made the best of his opportunities with the MLB Los Angeles Angels this Spring. The former Cartersville High and Georgia Tech shortstop is hitting at a high rate and shining in fairly regular playing time with the Big League club. Sam Howard, a non-roster Spring Training invitee with the Colorado Rockies, battled some illness this week, but worked two scoreless frames in Sunday’s loss. On the collegiate diamonds, former Cass High standout Bailey Campbell continues to lead his Young Harris College team at the plate and former Canes’ lefty Elliott Anderson — now a junior at Auburn — worked a pair of spotless innings for the 18th-ranked Tigers last Friday. NOTE: An additional update for basketball and other current winter/spring sports will be published separately this week. NOTE: Updates for local athletes in basketball, tennis, track & field, and wrestling available at this LINK.
SAM HOWARD — Colorado Rockies (6th yr. pro; LHP; Georgia Southern; Cartersville HS)… Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post reported Friday that Howard is one of a half dozen Rockies’ players who have missed time this past week due to a stomach bug making the rounds through Colorado’s spring training complex. On Sunday, however, Howard worked the final two innings of a Rockies’ split-squad 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The southpaw allowed only one hit and fanned two. Colorado is 6-10 in Spring Training games. CONNOR JUSTUS — Los Angeles Angels (4th yr. pro; SS; Georgia Tech; Cartersville HS)… (photo above) came off the bench last Tuesday to replace Andrelton Simmons at shortstop and went 1-for-2 with a stolen base in a 9-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. He went 1-for-1 off the bench Friday and helped turn a pair of double plays in the Angels’ 15-8 loss to the White Sox and played some second base Saturday going 0-for-1 at the plate in an 11-4 loss to the Cubs. On Sunday, Justus was 1-for-2 after entering at shortstop and scored a run in a 9-9 draw with the Seattle Mariners. The 24-year-old is hitting .357 this spring with the MLB club in 14 at-bats. The Angels are 9-8-1 in Cactus League action.
SIERRA GANI — Georgia Highlands CC (So., Inf., Cass HS)… the Chargers’ second baseman was 3-for-6 with a walk, scored three times, and drove in a run in a doubleheader split with Gordon State last week. Gani also went 0-for-6 as GHC was swept Saturday by conference leader Georgia Military College in a doubleheader. The Chargers (9-11, 2-2) travel to Andrew College Saturday and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Sunday for conference doubleheaders.
SYDNEY HODORFF — LaGrange College (Sr., C, Woodland HS)… went 1-for-7 in a pair of losses last week to Piedmont. She also made a pinch hitting appearance during a doubleheader with Fontbonne University (MO) Friday. The Panthers (2-4, 0-2 USA South Athletic Conference) host Huntingdon College Tuesday before traveling to Greensboro College Friday.
HANNAH KNAPP — Talladega College (Jr., C, Adairsville HS)… was 3-for-5 with one RBI in a pair of one-sided losses at Brenau University Wednesday. Talladega also suffered two losses to visiting Ave Maria University Tuesday, but no individual data was provided on those games. The Tornadoes (3-11) play at Cumberland University (TN) Wednesday and host Georgia Gwinnett College Sunday.
PARIS POSTON — Columbus State University (Fr., OF, Cartersville HS)… in six starts this past week, Poston was 3-for-17 at the plate with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. She also reached base on a pair of walks and a hit by pitch. The Cougars went 4-2 for the week by splitting games with Palm Beach Atlantic and Nova Southeastern on a Florida swing along with wins over King University and University of Virginia-Wise at Saturday’s Tusculum College (TN) Invitational. CSU (17-8) begins Peach Belt Conference play Friday and Sunday with doubleheaders at USC-Aiken and Lander University.
HANNAH TODD — Kansas University (So., P, Cartersville HS)… made a two inning, no-decision start Friday in a KU 6-4 win at home over Maine during the Jayhawk Invitational. Todd gave up two runs (only one earned) on two hits and three walks. She fanned one Black Bear facing 11 batters. Kansas (5-15 with two games pending Sunday) travels to University of Omaha Tuesday before hosting Tulsa and Nebraska in the Rock Chalk Challenge Friday through Sunday.
TAYLOR WAITS — Brewton-Parker College (Jr., OF, Cartersville HS)… was utilized as a pinch runner in one game and was hitless, but scored a run in a pair of home losses last Wednesday to USC-Beaufort. She then came off the bench in two home losses to University of Mobile Friday, playing centerfield in the second game. The Barons (5-13, 1-3 Southern States Athletic Association) host Bethel University Friday and Saturday for a four-game series.
ELLIOTT ANDERSON — Auburn University (Jr., LHP, Cartersville HS)… made a two-inning appearance Friday and combined with starter Tanner Burns for a 6-0 shutout of Texas-San Antonio at Plainsman Park. Anderson retired all six Roadrunners faced in the final two innings of the game, needing only 19 total pitches. 18th-ranked Auburn (14-2) plays at South Alabama Tuesday night before opening their Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend at home against 23rd-ranked Tennessee.
BAILEY CAMPBELL — Young Harris College (So., 1B/DH, Cass HS)… hitting in the cleanup spot, Campbell was 2-for-6 with four walks and two RBIs in a pair of home wins this week for the Mountain Lions. Both hits came in an 8-6 win over Carson-Newman. The RBIs were during a 5-4 win over 15th-ranked Southern Indiana. Through his team’s first 20 games, Campbell leads the team with a .390 batting average and is second on the team in RBIs with 22. YHC (13-7, 4-3 Peach Belt Conference) travels to Lee University Wednesday night and will host a three-game conference series with Francis Marion University this weekend.
JOHN REED EVANS — Shorter University (Fr., C, Cartersville HS)… made a back-up appearance at catcher in an 11-1 win over Moorehouse last Wednesday. He also entered to play left field and coaxed a walk in his only plate appearance in the second game of Shorter’s doubleheader sweep of Christian Brothers University. The Hawks (12-7, 5-5 Gulf South Conference) are scheduled to complete their series with Christian Brothers Monday before playing at Emmanuel College Tuesday. Shorter plays a GSC, three-game series at University of West Alabama Friday and Saturday.
LANE GRIFFITH — University of West Georgia (Jr., C, Adairsville HS)… played in all six games for the Wolves last week going 4-for-14 at the plate with a double, seven walks, one RBI, and four runs scored as West Georgia went 3-3. The stretch of games included a split of two games with West Alabama, a non-conference win over Saint Anselm College, and one win in three games at NCAA D-II top-ranked Delta State University. UWG (7-14, 4-7 Gulf South Conference) plays at Columbus State Wednesday and hosts a three-game conference series this weekend with Alabama-Huntsville.
HUNTER HICE — USC-Upstate (Fr., Inf., Adairsville HS)… entered the lineup at DH off the bench last Tuesday and was 0-for-1 in a 3-1 loss at Wofford. Hice was 0-for-2 in a start as DH Friday at home — a 1-0 win over Rutgers. The Spartans (7-8) host Davidson Tuesday, Furman Wednesday, and make a conference road trip to UNC-Asheville this weekend.
HARRISON OSBORN — Point University (So., RHP, Cartersville HS)… made a start Saturday and went five innings for no decision in a Skyhawks 5-3 home win over Montreat College (NC). Osborn gave up a pair of earned runs on five hits, two walks, a hit batsman, and a balk. Osborn is 3-1 in six starts and 32 innings with an ERA of 4.78. Point (17-7, 4-2 Appalachian Athletic Conference) plays Morehouse College Tuesday at LakePoint before heading to Truett-McConnell University for a three-game conference series Friday and Saturday in Cleveland.
MASON ROBINSON — Louisiana Tech (R-Sr., OF, Woodland HS)… in four games last week Robinson was 4-for-15 with a home run, one double, a walk, and four RBIs. The Bulldogs lost to Northwestern State on Tuesday and dropped two of three to 14th-ranked Arkansas over the weekend. Louisiana Tech (10-4) hosts Sam Houston State Tuesday and Wednesday, then Southern Miss in a three-game Conference USA series over the weekend.
TRISTIN SMITH — Young Harris College (Sr., Inf. Adairsville HS)… went 1-for-6 with one RBI and a run scored in starts and wins this past week at home against Carson-Newman and 15th-ranked Southern Indiana. Smith is hitting .319 for the season in 11 starts and 47 at bats. He has a home run and nine RBIs. The Mountain Lions (13-7, 4-3 Peach Belt Conference) travel to Lee University Wednesday night and will host a three-game conference series with Francis Marion University this weekend. DEVIN WARNER — Auburn University (Fr., Inf., Cartersville HS)… still looking for his first collegiate hit, Warner made his second plate appearance as a pinch hitter Saturday in the Tigers’ 5-0 home win over Texas-San Antonio. Auburn (14-2) is ranked 18th and has a game at South Alabama Tuesday night before opening the 2019 Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend at home against 23rd-ranked Tennessee.