This week's Missouri Valley Conference Player and Pitcher of the Week are Mark Kelly of Southern Illinois and Pat Venditte of Creighton, respectively.
Mark Kelly, So., Catcher, Hanover Park, Ill.
Kelly extended his hitting streak to nine games when he hit a blazing .647 (11-for-17) with four runs scored, two doubles, his first career home run and eight RBI in four games for Southern Illinois University last week. A native of Hanover Park, Ill., Kelly began the week by going a near-perfect 5-for-6 with two runs, a double and three RBI in the Salukis' first midweek tilt at Tennessee-Martin on Feb 28.
He hit safely in each of his first five at-bats and scored the go-ahead run in that game. Kelly then hit .545 (6-for-11) with two runs, a double, home run and five RBI to lead SIU to a 2-1 series win against Northern Illinois on Mar. 2-4. He boasted a .941 slugging percentage and .632 on-base percentage on the week, as well.
Pat Venditte, Jr., Omaha, Neb.
Creighton junior ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte pitched 4.2 innings recording a career-high 10 strikeouts, allowing 1 hit and no runs as Creighton rallied to beat Arkansas-Little Rock. UALR scored six runs early to take a 6-5 lead over the Bluejays, but Venditte shut them down in the second-half of the ball game to earn the victory in relief.
He teamed up with teammate Marc Lewis to set a new Bluejays' all-time single-game record of 16 strikeouts, which broke the old CU mark of 15, which was set on three seperate occassions with the last coming on Apr. 3, 2004 in a game with Illinois State. Venditte (1-0) has an ERA of 2.25 on the season as he has allowed just three earned runs and leads the Jays with 16 strikeouts.
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