College baseball: Ashley’s Chance Shepard is ACC Player of the Week; Thacker earns Big South accolades

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NC State’s Chance Shepard earned ACC Player of the Week honors for his three-homer weekend against Wright State, announced Monday by the league office.

Shepard (Wilmington, N.C./Ashley HS) homered in three consecutive games over the weekend against Horizon League favorite Wright State, after starting at catcher in the Wolfpack’s midweek win over Morehead State.

Chance Shepard and NC State face UNCW on Wednesday. Photo courtesy- NC State Baseball
Chance Shepard and NC State face UNCW on Wednesday. Photo courtesy- NC State Baseball

On Friday, both Chance and younger brother Shane Shepard hit home runs. The last pair of Wolfpack siblings to pull the feat were Brian and Robbie Bark against Davidson on March 27, 1990.

For the week, Chance Shepard knocked in eight runs on eight hits, including two doubles and three home runs, scoring five times.

NC State (5-2) won three of four, improving to No. 10 in Perfect Game’s poll, remaining No. 8 on D1Baseball.com and No. 18 in Baseball America.

Thacker’s hot bat for Gardner Webb earns him Big South honors

Gardner-Webb junior standout Collin Thacker was named Big South Conference Baseball Player of the Week following a clutch weekend at the plate for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

 

Thacker (Wilmington, N.C. / New Hanover HS) batted a sizzling .692 for the week, going 9-for-13 at the plate in four games. His hitting prowess helped Gardner-Webb (8-0) to a sweep of Iona and powered the Runnin’ Bulldogs to their best start since moving to NCAA Division I for the 2001 season.

Collin Thacker. Photo courtesy- Tim Cowie.
Collin Thacker. Photo courtesy- Tim Cowie.

Thacker’s bat was particularly needed Sunday afternoon. His two-out RBI double off the base of the scoreboard wall in the bottom of the 11th delivered the game-winning run in a 9-8 victory. It was his second RBI double of the day, with his first tying the game, 5-5, with two outs in the fourth inning – helping erase what had been a 5-0 deficit early in the game.

Thacker finished Sunday a robust 4-for-5 at the plate with two doubles, two RBI one walk and a run scored. He went 2-for-3 with a double in the series opener and opened Saturday’s doubleheader by going 2-for-2 with another two-bagger and a run scored.

The versatile fielder started a pair of games at second base and two more in right field – handling 13 chances without an error (eight putouts, five assists).

Thacker is batting a team-high .536 on the season with at least one hit in each of Gardner-Webb’s eight games so far. His nine RBI are tied for the team lead and he has collected 15 hits to go with five doubles, one home run – and a solid .821 slugging percentage.

Thacker has also forged a strong .600 on base percentage in 2016. The honor from the league office is the first of Thacker’s career.

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