NEWPORT NEWS, Va. —Fordham sophomore Reiss Knehr had a dominant performance on the mound, and was named Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week. George Mason junior Tyler Nelin was named the A-10 Player of the Week, while Dayton freshman Brandon Smith and Fordham freshman Kyle Martin shared the league’s Rookie of the Week award. The awards were announced Monday and are for games played April 10-16.
Knehr, a righty from Glen Head, N.Y., improved to 3-3 on the season, allowing just one hit and two walks over 8.1 innings of work with a career-high 16 strikeouts in a 5-0 win over Saint Joseph's. The 16 strikeouts were the most by a Ram since Jack McQuade struck out 17 in a game against CCNY on April 12, 1956, and tied for the sixth-most in a game by a Ram pitcher with Johnny Murphy, who struck out 16 against Columbia on April 23, 1929. Knehr took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and had a streak of 11 straight strikeouts against the Hawks. The 11 consecutive strikeouts is the most by a college pitcher since Navy's Luke Gillingham struck out the first 12 batters at North Carolina A&T on February 13, 2015. The strikeout streak and the no-hit bid ended on a leadoff single by SJU’s Deon Stafford, Jr. in the seventh inning.
Nelin drove in 11 runs and scored six runs over five games during the week as the Patriots won five straight games. The catcher hit a first-inning grand slam, singled and walked twice at Mount St. Mary's. He then went 3-for-5 with a single, double and home run with two RBI in game one of a doubleheader at Dayton. A Virginia Beach, Va., native, he reached base five times and drove in three runs in game two of doubleheader at Dayton with a single and two walks. He also caught both games of the Dayton doubleheader. Nelin leads Mason in hits (40), home runs (8), doubles (11), RBI (33), and slugging percentage (.547).
Smith had one of the best individual performances over a five-game stretch Dayton has seen all season, hitting .429 (6-for-14) with three home runs, seven RBI, and six runs scored. A first baseman, he also drew eight walks on the week. The Floyd Knobs, Ind., native shined over the weekend in conference play, torching George Mason pitching with four hits, all three of his homers, and also drawing three walks. His home run barrage upped his team-leading total to seven, and his strong overall week at the plate upped his average to the highest on Dayton's team at .289.
Martin improved to 5-1 this season, earning two wins in relief this week. The right-handed pitcher entered the Siena game with a 6-3 lead and two runners on to pitch 1.2 innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts, getting credit for the win. Two days later, he pitched a scoreless ninth inning against Saint Joseph's on Thursday and was the pitcher of record on a walk-off two-run home run. The Oceanside, N.Y., native’s five wins is tied for second in the league.