Mike Rucker named Rawlings WCC Pitcher of the Week
SAN BRUNO, Calif. (February 29, 2016)—Michael Rucker of BYU was named the Rawlings West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week by the conference office on Monday.
The junior right-hander struck out a Samford batter in each of his seven innings (four swinging) of the series-opening 7-1 win at previously undefeated Samford. In that game he threw 98 pitches and surrendered four hits to earn his second victory of the season.
“Mike threw a gem,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “He was sharp with all three pitches and as always brought that ‘bulldog’ mentality.”
"He's the best arm we've seen," said Samford Coach Casey Dunn on Rucker. “He exposed some things on us. We never made an adjustment. He had really good command of three pitches and pitched to the conditions."
Rucker lowered his earned run average from 3.00 to 1.38, giving up an unearned run in the 7-1 victory, which was BYU’s lead when he left the game after seven innings.
Rucker retired Samford in order in the first, fourth and seventh innings to improve BYU's team record to 5-0.
In the third inning, after trailing by a score of 1-0 and behind 3-0 in the count to Samford preseason All-American Heath Quinn, Rucker threw three consecutive strikes (two looking, the final one swinging) to end the inning with one runner left on base.
The Mississippi-born Rucker, a transfer from Gonzaga in his second year at BYU, got help from his teammates who closed the fourth inning with a 6-4-3 double play.
Riley Adams of the University of San Diego was named the Rawlings Player of the Week.