Posted: Apr 8, 2013 3:22 PM
Updated: Apr 8, 2013 5:20 PM
COLUMBIA - For the second time this season, Mizzou baseball's Keaton Steele has been honored with an SEC weekly award, this time being named SEC Player of the Week after his stellar performance at Georgia in Mizzou's first-ever SEC series win. Steele was named SEC Pitcher of the Week on March 18 after his dominating performance in a win over South Carolina. He has now claimed both SEC Pitcher of the Week of the SEC Player of the Week in the same season, all in a span of four weeks.
Steele was nothing short of sensational last week, specifically in the three-game series win at Georgia. In the Sunday finale, Steele took over on the mound with Mizzou trailing 4-0 and allowed just one earned run over the final 7.1 innings, striking out nine in that span while allowing just four hits (and four total base runners). Steele retired the final 15 batters he faced in that game as he was perfect over the final five innings, allowing the Tigers to come back from down 5-0 to win the game, 8-5. He earned his third win in the relief outing as he went a career-best 7.1 innings, while the nine strikeouts in the outing were also a career-best and the only run he allowed in the contest was a sacrifice fly. During his final 5.0 perfect innings, Steele struck out six and allowed just two balls to be hit out of the infield.
But it was not just pitching that helped Steele earn the weekly honor as he had a huge week at the plate, batting .500 with three doubles and a homer while driving in three runs and scoring three more. He also extended his hitting streak to eight-straight games with hits in each contest at Georgia, hitting .545 vs. UGA and slugging 1.000 (11 total bases) on the weekend with an OBP of .571. His home run, a two-run shot on Friday night at Georgia, turned out to be the game-winning runs for Mizzou. During his 7.1 relief innings in the Sunday game at Georgia, Steele went 3-for-5 at the dish with a double and a run scored, marking his first career three-hit game at the Division I level.
Steele and the Tigers will return to the road this week as they head to Missouri State for a game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 9).