Athlete of the Week: AJ Block

Senior pitcher shines with his second straight game with 10 strikeouts

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OLIVER MCKENNA | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Then-sophomore left-handed pitcher AJ Block throws a pitch on March 8, 2018 at Bailey-Brayton Field.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen sports columnist

Senior pitcher AJ Block had his best game of the season so far on Saturday against Rutgers University.

He picked up his first win of the season, and second of his career, with his six-inning effort in a 10-2 ball game. He also recorded 10 strikeouts for the second game in a row.

Block only gave up one run in the innings he pitched. He started out with a scoreless first inning before giving up three hits, a walk and one earned run in the second. His next four innings featured seven strikeouts and only one hit.

Out of his six innings pitched, Block faced the minimum number of batters four times, retiring the three batters in order each time.

Even though this outing was the shortest in terms of innings for Block, he allowed the fewest number of hits with four. He also pitched his first game without allowing an extra-base hit; all four hits he allowed were singles.

Block’s back-to-back 10 strikeout games puts him at 24 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched on the season. He has nearly matched his strikeout total from his freshman year of 28 strikeouts.

He is on pace to break his previous career-high for strikeouts in a season. He struck out 68 batters in 2019 in 71.1 innings pitched, good for 0.96 strikeouts per inning. He has an average of 1.14 strikeouts per innings pitched so far this season.

Block also sports the best earned run average of his career. He brought it down from a 3.00 to a 2.57 after his impressive outing against Rutgers. His previous best season-long ERA is 4.91 in 2018 when he was a sophomore.