Rice’s Duffey Earns Conference USA Pitcher of the Week
Rice junior pitcher Tyler Duffey has been named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week for May 20 the league office announced Sunday from its headquarters in Irving, Tex. Memphis third baseman Jacob Wilson was named the C-USA Hitter of the Week.
After posting three dominant relief appearances, including two that helped secure the regular season Conference USA title over the weekend at UCF, Duffey has been named the league’s Pitcher of the Week for the first time in his career. In his three outings the Owl right-hander totaled 5.1 innings pitched and did not allow a run nor a hit. More impressive, he struck out 13 of the 17 batters that he faced, including nine in a row at one point.
Duffey fanned three batters in 1.2 innings in a shutout victory on the road at Southland Conference champion Sam Houston State on Tuesday (May 15). The Houston native then turned in a pair of brilliant performances in the two Owl wins at UCF. In the game two win on Friday he struck out all five batters he faced. On Saturday, Duffey struck out the side in the eighth and fanned the first batter in the ninth to give him nine-straight strikeouts of nine batters over a two-game span. The streak was snapped with a base-on-balls, and after an Owl fielding error on a fielder’s choice play, UCF suddenly had two men on base and the potential tying run at the plate. Duffey was able to get the Knights to fly out, and he then fired a game-ending strikeout to preserve the 5-2 victory to help Rice take the regular season conference championship. The 2012 C-USA title is the program’s 17th- consecutive conference championship going back to 1996.
Duffey’s Owl teammates who have won or shared the league’s weekly hitting/pitching honor include Matthew Reckling (pitcher, three times), Michael Fuda (hitter, Feb. 27), Jordan Stephens (pitcher, Mar. 12) and Ford Stainback (hitter, May 13).
Jacob Wilson batted .381 on the week as the Tigers went 4-0. He hit .412 and collected four doubles and seven RBI for a C-USA series sweep lastweekend. For the week, he had eight hits, eight RBI and five runs scored, while adding two steals. He also blasted his league-best 16th home run against Tennessee-Martin last Tuesday.
Rice is 39-15 overall this season. With the C-USA regular season title the Owls also clinched the No. 1 seed at the upcoming C-USA Championship Tournament, scheduled to get underway on Wednesday (May 23) in Pearl, Miss. The tourney features four days of pool play followed by a single Championship Final on Sunday (May 27). Rice’s opening game in the tournament will be Houston starting at 3 pm.