Cunningham Earns Sun Belt Honors Again
CONWAY - After throwing back-to-back, complete-game shutouts, Coastal Carolina senior Alex Cunningham was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Community Coffee Pitcher of the Week for the second consecutive week as he led the Chanticleers to a weekend sweep at Georgia State.
He is also one of four candidates for this week’s USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Gold Standard Performer of the Week. Fans can vote for Cunningham via Twitter @USAGoldenSpikes.
Cunningham only allowed five hits, walked none and struck out 11 Panthers to become just the second Chant to throw back-to-back, complete-game shutouts (Austin Kerr in 2014). Cunningham has not allowed a run in his last 18.2 innings and, over his last two starts, has allowed just six hits and two walks.
In perhaps his most dominant overall performance this past Friday, Cunningham only went to “ball 3” on a GSU batter once – a 3-2 count that led to a ground ball for the final out of the third inning. In fact, the Byrnes product only faced “ball 2” a total of eight times, including the one time he went to “ball 3.”
The first hit surrendered was a two-out double in the first. After that, Cunningham sat down nine straight Panthers with four strikeouts. Then, after allowing a leadoff single in the fifth, he retired the next 13 with five strikeouts until allowing a hit with one out in the ninth. He had a strikeout in eight of the nine innings, including three innings with two.
For the season, Cunningham is 4-0 with a 1.97 ERA. He leads the Sun Belt with 58 strikeouts while ranking fourth in opposing batting average (.196), fifth in ERA (1.97) and sixth in fewest walks allowed with nine. Cunningham ranks 14th in the NCAA strikeouts and 44th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.44)
In Sun Belt games only, Cunningham leads the league in ERA (0.36), strikeouts (27) and innings pitched (24.2) while ranking second in opposing batting average (.129).
Coastal Carolina, ranked 26th in this week’s Collegiate Baseball poll, will face The Citadel Wednesday in Charleston with first pitch at Riley park set for 6 pm and host Louisiana, ranked 20th in this week’s PerfectGame.org poll, in a key Sun Belt series. Game times at Springs Brooks Stadium are 6 pm Friday, 2 pm Saturday and 11 am Sunday.