February 28, 2012
San Antonio – As if they couldn’t get any more prestigious, the Heartland Conference reigning champs also known as the St. Mary’s baseball team had two of its players honored this week, as the league announced Carl O’Neal as the Pitcher of the Week and Billy Richard the Hitter of the Week.
After housing one of the best ERAs last season as a sophomore, O’Neal’s (Jr., San Antonio) third season as a Rattler has been shaping up even better. Rightfully earning St. Mary’s position as top pitcher, the ace holds a 0.73 ERA to date with two shutouts, helping the No. 8 Rattlers remain unbeaten in Heartland Conference play this season.
O’Neal, who once pitched nine no-hit innings last year in an extra innings-affair, again flirted with a no-no in a complete-game shutout against Oklahoma Panhandle State last week. O’Neal gave up one hit and struck out 11 in the 2-0 victory, earning him the conference’s weekly award. Pitcher of the Week may soon become synonymous with strikeout for O’Neal this season.
Pitchers in the conference haven’t had it easy with St. Mary’s (13-2, 12-0 in conference) other award-winner this week at the plate.
For the second week running, Richard (Jr., Schertz, Texas) picked up the Heartland Conference Hitter of the Week honor after his knockout performance last week. The two-time Hitter of the Week batted .571 from the leadoff position last week, recording eight hits and scoring eight runs in 14 at-bats. Among his leadoff hits were a triple and double, while he also stole a pair of bases in two attempts and drew three additional walks.
Richard’s recent recognition by the conference has been seen consistently throughout the season for the Rattlers. The slugger leads the team in batting average at .397, connecting 23 times out of his 58 at-bats. Richard’s hits include four doubles, one triple and one home run. St. Mary’s leadoff man appears to be fulfilling the requirements so far this season.