Suffolk University junior Jhonneris Mendez (Boston, Mass.) was named NCAA Division-III Pitcher of the Week by the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) for the week of April 2-8. Mendez threw a no-hitter in Saturday's 3-0 victory over Lasell College in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action. For his efforts Mendez was also named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week, as well as Eastern College Athletic Conference (GNAC) Pitcher of the Week.
Mendez retired the first 20 hitters he faced before finally allowing a baserunner on a full count with two outs coming just a strike shy of perfection. Mendez retired the final out with a punchout, one of his 10 in the game in seven innings of work needing just 97 pitches for the complete game effort. He also picked up the victory in relief in game one, a 7-6 Suffolk victory.
Through six weeks of baseball in the 2012 season, Mendez becomes the first player in the New England region for Division-III baseball to earn either Pitcher or Player of the Week honors by the NCBWA.
During Saturday's game two victory, Mendez starred on the mound, but also at the plate as he was 2-for-3 offensively, with a pair of runs scored.
Suffolk opened the scoring in the second inning as Mendez led the inning off with a single, before later coming around to score on a single by junior Chris Stanley (Orange County, Calif.) as the Rams staked themselves to a 1-0 lead.
They would later add a pair of runs in the fourth inning with Mendez once again getting things started this time doubling to centerfield. Sophomore Mike Muse (Milton, Mass.) would follow him up with an RBI single and would come around to score later in the inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Mike Cunningham (Syosset, N.Y.).
Mendez was nearly flawless on the mound as he punched out four of the first nine hitters he faced. Sophomore Billy Uberti (Newton, Mass.) was the lone Laser to reach base as he took a fastball that run up and out of the zone on a full count with two outs in the seventh inning. Mendez would finish the game with a punchout to improve to a 4-2 record this season on the mound for the Rams.
It was not the first time Saturday that Mendez would toe the rubber for the Rams as he also picked up the victory in relief of game one entering in the seventh inning of a 7-6 game.
Trailing by a run in the top of the seventh, senior Matt Mahoney (Rockland, Mass.) led the inning off for Lasell with a single that would chase freshman starter Josh Desai (Shrewsbury, Mass.) from the contest. After a botched bunt play that put runners on the corners and nobody out, junior Bobby Stachura (Middletown, Conn.) evened the score with an RBI groundout. Mendez would escape the jam with no further trouble as the Rams would score in the home half of the seventh to earn the win in game one.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Muse was the game clincher as it brought home sophomore Jake Cintolo (Wrentham, Mass.), who doubled to left with one out to get things going for the Rams.
Cintolo was 3-for-4 in the opening game of the twinbill with a pair of runs scored, while Stanely was 2-for-3 driving in three runs. Stanely had a double in the fifth inning of game one that drove in a pair of runs that gave the Rams a 6-4 lead at the time.
Sophomore Devan Jones (Roslindale, Mass.) connected on his third home run of the season in the second inning as he was 2-for-4 in game one.
Stanley finished the day 4-for-5 with four RBI for the Rams, while Muse knocked in three runs on the day with a 4-for-6 effort at the plate.
Mendez scored three runs in the two games combined as he was 3-for-6 at the plate. He earned two victories on the mound without allowing a run in eight innings of work on one hit, no walks while fanning 10 hitters.
The no-hitter was the first thrown by a Suffolk pitcher since the 2008 season when Steve Durant '08 (Malden, Mass.) tossed a 1-0 victory over Rivier College.
Mendez, is the first player under Suffolk Head Coach Cary McConnell to earn national player of the week honors in his 17-year tenure with the Rams.
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