SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Mercer catcher/designated hitter JT Thomas and Furman right-hander Matthew Quarles have been named the Southern Conference player and pitcher of the week, respectively, for all games from April 10-16. The selections are made by the league office.
Mercer’s Thomas hit .444 with two doubles and three home runs on the week as the Bears went 4-0 with a win over Georgia State and a three-game sweep over VMI, all on the road. Thomas drove in 13 runs and scored six on the week, putting together a 1.056 slugging percentage and a .565 on-base percentage.
Against the Panthers on Tuesday, Thomas was hit by a pitch, reached on an error and scored a run as the Bears downed their in-state rival, 11-4. The junior from Woodstock, Georgia, heated up against the Keydets, posting three straight multiple-hit games, with a homer, a walk and at least three RBIs in each contest. In Thursday’s opener, Thomas was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer and a two-run single. On Friday, he had an RBI single, a two-run home run and three runs scored. In Saturday’s finale, he was 4-for-5 with six RBIs, hitting a two-run home run and a pair of two-run doubles. He hit .615 in the three-game series.
The weekly award is the second of the season for Thomas, who is in his first season for the Bears after transferring from Chattahoochee Valley Community College.
Mercer, which leads NCAA Division I in wins at 32-6 on the season (11-1 SoCon), heads to Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday to face Georgia Tech, which handed the Bears their last loss before their current 11-game winning streak. Mercer then heads to Charleston, South Carolina, for a three-game weekend set at The Citadel (11-22, 3-6 SoCon).
Also nominated: Ben Peden (The Citadel), Chris Cook (ETSU), Ben Spitznagel (UNCG), Branden Fryman (Samford), Bryson Bowman (Western Carolina) and McClain Bradley (Wofford).
Furman’s Quarles threw a complete-game four-hitter on Saturday, allowing just one earned run in the Paladins 5-2 win over Western Carolina. The senior righty struck out eight and did not walk a batter, allowing just one extra-base hit on the day.
Quarles allowed his lone earned run in the fourth inning, surrendering a double and a single with one out before the run came in with two outs on his only wild pitch of the game. The Catamounts added an unearned run in the fifth on an RBI groundout after a single and an error, but the groundout started a string of 15 consecutive batters that Quarles retired to end the game.
Quarles’ effort helped Furman complete the three-game sweep of Western Carolina, which entered the series tied for second in the league standings.
The weekly award is the second of Quarles’ career (April 27, 2015).
Furman, which improved to 14-20 overall and 4-8 in the league by snapping its nine-game losing streak with the sweep, hosts Presbyterian on Wednesday and welcomes league foe ETSU (18-15, 2-7 SoCon) for a three-game series beginning Friday.
Also nominated: JP Sears (The Citadel), Ryan Simpler (ETSU), Nick Spear (Mercer), Matt Frisbee (UNCG), Cody Shelton (Samford), Dillon Bray (Western Carolina) and Spencer Kulman (Wofford).
2017 SoCon Players of the Week
Feb. 20 Chris Cook, ETSU
Feb. 27 Charlie Madden, Mercer
March 6 Will Malbon, VMI
March 13 Austin Embler, UNCG
March 20 JT Thomas, Mercer
March 27 Charlie Madden, Mercer
April 3 Bryson Bowman, Western Carolina
April 10 Taylor Garris, Samford
April 17 JT Thomas, Mercer
2017 SoCon Pitchers of the Week
Feb. 20 Matt Frisbee, UNCG
Feb. 27 JP Sears, The Citadel
March 6 Adam Scott, Wofford
March 13 Bryan Sammons, Western Carolina
March 20 Blake Smith, ETSU
March 27 JP Sears, The Citadel
April 3 Josh Winder, VMI
April 10 Ryan Askew, Mercer
April 17 Matthew Quarles, Furman