Following an incredibly productive week that included tying an NCAA record, UCF junior 2B Shane Brown has been named the Conference USA Hitter of the Week. The Pitcher of the Week went to East Carolina freshman Kevin Brandt, whose shutout performance on the mound led the Pirates to a 4-0 win over No. 1 North Carolina.
Brown tied the NCAA record by reaching base 18-straight times in a week in which he went 13-for-18 for a .722 batting average, 1.333 slugging percentage, .783 on-base percentage and a 2.116 OPS. That streak started when he had doubles in the seventh and eighth innings in UCF’s 13-12 win over Stetson on April 21, a game in which the Knights erased a 10-0 deficit. In the Knights’ 29-9 win over UAB April 24, the second baseman was 5-for-5 with two more doubles, a homer, three RBI and three runs. He also was hit by a pitch twice and walked once to get aboard all eight times. One day later, Brown went 2-for-3 and reached on two singles, a HBP, BB and fielder’s choice to build his streak to 15. In the series finale, a 12-6 UCF victory, he homered, doubled and singled in his first three at-bats to tie the NCAA mark held by Cal State Northridge’s Shaun Larkin in 2002. Even though he flew out in his fourth at-bat, Brown still went 4-for-5 with three runs and three RBI, falling a triple short of hitting for the cycle in the second time in three games.
Overall, Brown scored 10 runs and had five doubles and two homers in the four-game week, striking out just once. In the UAB series alone, Brown got on base 17 of 18 times, going 11-for-13 with a .846 average against the Blazers, while posting a 1.538 slugging, .889 on-base, and 2.427 OPS.
Brandt picked up his sixth win of the season after tossing 8.1 scoreless innings against No. 1 North Carolina on April 22. He allowed five hits and fanned a career-best 10 Tar Heels. Brandt retired 21-of-23 hitters from the last out in the first inning to the second out in the eighth, including 11 in a row. He struck out 8-of-9 Tar Heel starters at least once. Brandt extended his current scoreless streak to 20 2/3 innings, which dates back to April 12 against Rice. In his last five outings (Rice, N.C. State, Tulane, North Carolina and Southern Miss) he has allowed 11 hits and fanned 15 with no runs. This season against North Carolina, he extended his scoreless streak to 10 innings where he has fanned 13 and allowed just six hits. The Pirates have recorded three shutouts (UNCW, N.C. State and North Carolina) on the season with Brandt starting two of those games (N.C. State and North Carolina).