LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kent State’s Holly Speers, who broke an NCAA home run record, and Oregon’s Cheridan Hawkins were selected Louisville/Slugger NFCA Division I Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for contests played March 21-27.
Speers entered the NCAA record books this week by homering in five consecutive at bats, four of which helped Kent State sweep Mid-American Conference foe Central Michigan. The sophomore from Surrey, B.C. broke the NCAA Division I record held by Canisius’ Jill Iacono, who homered four straight times. For the week, she hit .714 (5-for-7) with five home runs, 10 RBI, seven runs, seven walks, a 2.857 slugging percentage and .857 on-base percentage for a eye popping 3.714 OPS.
"This week has been amazing,” said Speers. “I am playing the game I love, seeing the ball well and it led to something special. It’s an honor to receive such recognition for this accomplishment. Of course, none of this would be possible without teammates who constantly support one another. They played a huge role and I am excited to see how far we will go this year."
The streak started with a solo shot in the seventh inning on March 22 at UCF. Speers followed with two more, including a grand slam, in the MAC opener versus the Chippewas. She added a single long ball in each of the final two games of the series with her fifth dinger ending the finale. If you add in her six walks against CMU, Speers has reached base safely in 11 straight plate appearances, tied for fifth most in NCAA Division I history. Also, a home run on March 20 against LIU-Brooklyn means she has left the yard in five straight contests.
"Holly is a very smart hitter,” interim head coach Eric Oakley said. “Every swing she takes has a purpose. She pays attention to every at-bat in a game, not just her own. This week was the culmination of a lot of factors, but mostly just a lot of her hard work paying off."
Hawkins, who hails from Anderson Calif., posted three wins last week, two as a starter and one in relief. The senior left-handed hurler did not allow a run, struck out 24 and surrendered just five hits (.096 opp. BA) in helping the fourth-ranked Ducks earn four Pac-12 wins. On March 21 at Washington, she tossed the final 3.2 innings and allowed a hit with a pair of punchouts to earn the victory.
“I think the whole pitching staff did really well this weekend,” Hawkins said. “We were super aggressive. We attacked the zone and we held them off so that our hitters could score. I think that was the most important thing. It’s fun to be able to do that as a staff and get all three of those wins. Only seven hits allowed in the series, you can’t ask for more.”
In series opener against Stanford on March 24 at Oregon’s new Jane Sanders Stadium, Hawkins was on-point, twirling a two-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts. She earned her third win of the week, tossing five innings of shutout ball with eight Ks as the Ducks won their 18th straight game, matching the program record. It marked Hawkins’ first honor this season and second overall.
Player of the Week
March 29 – Holly Speers (Kent State)
March 22 – Hannah Day (Troy)
March 15 – Fiana Finau (New Mexico State)
March 8 – Sierra Romero (Michigan)
March 1 – Cammi Prantl (Ohio State)
Feb. 23 – Ali Aguilar (Washington)
Feb. 16 – Lexie Elkins (Louisiana-Lafayette)
Pitcher of the Week
March 29 – Cheridan Hawkins (Oregon)
March 22 – Devin Brown (South Alabama)
Kylee Hanson (Florida Atlantic)
March 15 – Meghan King (Florida State)
Sara Groenewegen (Minnesota)
March 8 – Carley Hoover (LSU)
March 1 – Heather Stearns (Baylor)
Feb. 23 – Jailyn Ford (James Madison)
Feb. 16 – Jill Compton (Fresno State)
Selected Top Performances
Minnesota's Sara Groenewegen – Big Ten Co-Player/Pitcher of the Week - .800 (4-for-5), 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 1.600 SLG, .900 OBP, 4 BB; 2-0, save, 1 R, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA, 24 K, 3 BB, 16 IP, 6 H… South Alabama’s Devin Brown – Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week - 2-0, save, 0 R, 1 H, 2 SHO, 30 K, 6 BB; no-hitter vs. Appalachian State (13 K)… Drake’s Megan Sowa – MVC Player of the Week - .556 (10-for-18), 2 2B, 4 HR, 10 R, 14 RBI, 1.333 SLG… James Madison’s Megan Good – CAA Pitcher of the Week - 2-0, 2 SHO, 13 K, 3 H, .067 opp. BA, 14 IP… USF’s Erica Nunn – American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week - 3-0, 0.32 ERA, 22 IP, 30 K, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, .135 opp. BA… Florida’s Aleshia Ocasio – SEC Pitcher of the Week - 2-0, save, 0 R, 10 IP, CG, SHO, 5 H, 10 K, 4 BB at LSU… New Mexico’s Chelsea Johnson – Mountain West Player of the Week - .600 (6-for-10), 2 doubles, 3 HR, grand slam, 1.700 SLG, 9 RBI… Southern Illinois’ Brianna Jones – MVC Pitcher of the Week - 3-0, Save, 0.00 ERA, 16.2 IP, 2 SHO, .161 opp. BA, 10 K, 2 BB… Grand Canyon’s Brittany Medina – 1.000 (5-for-5), 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 1.800 SLG in doubleheader at Loyola Marymount… Alabama State’s Melissa Christmann – SWAC Pitcher of the Week – no-hitter (5 IP, 10 K) vs. Grambling State… Louisiana-Lafayette’s Bailey Landry – Sun Belt Player of the Week - .600 (6-for-10), 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1.700 SLG… Lamar’s Laura Napoli – Southland Pitcher of the Week – back-to-back two-hit shutouts against Incarnate Word… George Washington’s Sarah Costlow – Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week… 3-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 K… Michigan’s Lindsay Montemarano – Big Ten Co-Player of the Week - .750 (6-for-8), 2.000 SLG, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R… Northern Illinois’ Kayti Grable – MAC West Co-Player of the Week - .625 (5-for-9), 3 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R… Auburn’s Jade Rhodes – SEC Player of the Week - .625 (5-for-8), 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB… Savannah State’s Amanda Hallman – MEAC Pitcher of the Week – 2-0, save, 0.44 ERA, 9 K, .132 opp. BA.