April 16, 2012
IRVING, Texas - Baylor senior catcher Josh Ludy was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Player of the Week, and freshman Michael Howard was selected as Big 12 co-Newcomer of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. This marks the fifth straight week a Baylor player has earned a Big 12 weekly award.
Howard is the second Baylor player in as many weeks to earn the conference's Newcomer of the Week award that was created prior to the 2011 season. Fellow freshman Adam Toth became the first player in program history to earn the honor last week.
A Prescott, Ariz. native, Howard hit .667 (10-for-15) with a home run, one double, six runs, two RBI and a stolen base to lead Baylor to a 5-0 week. He hit a game-winning solo home run with two outs in the 11th inning of the series finale at Kansas State on Sunday and had hits in eight consecutive plate appearances during the week. Howard went 4-for-4 with three runs scored in Wednesday's win against Louisiana-Monroe and hit safely in his first four at-bats on Saturday at Kansas State.
Ludy, who was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball earlier in the day, picked up his first career Big 12 Player of the Week honor. It marks the fifth time this season a Bear has won the Big 12's Player of the Week award, tying Texas Tech (2004) for the most by any team in a single season in league history. The Bears have had the Big 12 Player of the Week in four of the last five weeks, with a different player earning the honor each time.
Ludy helped the Bears to their fifth consecutive Big 12 series sweep. He hit .647 (11-for-17) with four home runs, 12 RBI, five runs scored and three walks during the week, and his 11 RBI in the series at Kansas State broke the Baylor record for most RBI in a Big 12 series.
The Portland, Ind. native hit three home runs in Sunday's series finale at K-State, marking the seventh time a Baylor player has homered three times in a game. His seven RBI in the game were the most by a Baylor player since 2004, and he also had the Bears' first five-hit game since 2009.
Ludy also had a two-run homer, a single and three walks in Saturday's game, and he hit a game-winning two-run single to break a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning of Friday's series opener. He went 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI in Tuesday's win over Louisiana-Monroe.
Howard and Ludy give the Bears nine Big 12 weekly awards this season, the most in program history, and three more than the previous record of six that was set in 2004 and 2005.
The No. 6-ranked Bears return to action when they host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for a pair of midweek games at Baylor Ballpark. Tuesday's game is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and Wednesday's game is slated for 4:05 p.m. The Bears will be looking to tie the longest winning streak in program history when they put their 19-game streak on the line. Tuesday's game will also be the first chance for head coach Steve Smith to break Baylor's all-time wins record, as he's currently tied with his predecessor, Mickey Sullivan, with 649 career victories.
Baylor returns to Big 12 action this weekend when it plays No. 2 Texas A&M in the annual split series. Friday's game in College Station is scheduled for 6:35 p.m., and then the series moves to Waco for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch on Saturday and a 2:05 p.m. start on Sunday.