Chris Rusin Named SEC Pitcher of the Week
March 9, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After firing eight shutout innings and striking out nine in a win over Indiana State Saturday, Kentucky senior southpaw Chris Rusin has been tabbed the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced Monday morning.
Rusin, a native of Canton, Mich., had a dominating performance Saturday in No. 29 UK’s 5-0 win over hot-hitting Indiana State. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound lefty, allowed only six hits and walked just one batter in his eight frames, at one point retiring nine consecutive ISU hitters. Rusin’s pitching dominance came against an Indiana State team that entered the Saturday tilt with a 9-3 record and an average of over eight runs per game.
In his last two starts, Rusin (2-1), a 2008 first-team All-SEC pitcher, has struck out 21 hitters in a combined 13 innings. On the year, Rusin, a member of the Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Watch List, has posted a 3.63 ERA in 17.1 innings, striking out an SEC-leading 29.
The weekly conference honor is the first such honor in the sparkling four-year career of the lefty, who ranks eighth all-time in the 105-year history of the program with 18 wins, part of a 18-8 career mark, complementing a 4.07 ERA. In 2008, Rusin became UK’s first, first-team All-SEC coaches selection since MLB setup man Scott Downs turned the trick in 1997. Rusin posted a 6-3 record and a 3.33 ERA in 2008, hurling 83.2 innings with 65 strikeouts. In five road starts in 2008, Rusin posted a 4-2 record and a 2.63 ERA in 37 innings, striking out 33 – with his two losses coming in complete-game performances where he allowed only five runs in 16 combined innings, striking out 18.
Last season, UK had two pitchers earn SEC Pitcher of the Week accolades and two players claim SEC Player of the Week honors. Over the last seven weeks that the SEC has honored a league player as a pitcher of the week – dating back to 2008 – a UK player has been tabbed three times.
Kentucky (9-2) returns to action Tuesday, facing Georgetown College in a 4 p.m. ET matchup at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game can be heard live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action on WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington and online at UKathletics.com.