WISE, Va. – Cavalier softball junior right-handed pitcher Taylor Brandts and UVa-Wise baseball freshman utility player Nate Thompson earned Female and Male Cavalier of the Month honors, respectively, for the month of April.
Brandts had one of the best months inside the circle for the Cavs in all of NCAA Division II softball. The King George, Virginia (King George H.S.), native went a perfect 12-0 with one save in 11 starts and 13 game appearances. In 83 innings of work, Brandts gave up just three runs and struck out a total of 88 batters to own an ERA of 0.17 for April.
The right-hander began the month by tossing eight consecutive complete game shutouts, just two games off the all-time NCAA Division II record, and went 56-straight innings without allowing a run. Despite giving up 30 hits in the 13 appearances, Brandts only gave up three extra-base hits in two different games. She was twice named Mountain East Conference Pitcher of the Week and earned three national pitcher of the week accolades.
During the week of April 3-10, Brandts went 3-0 with three complete game road shutouts and 32 strikeouts. In a 4-0 game one win at Wheeling Jesuit University on April 8, Brandts struck out a career-high 14 batters before tallying 11 strikeouts the next day during a 1-0 game one shutout at West Liberty University. For her performances during that week she was named MEC and Fastpitch News (FPN) Pitcher of the Week.
The junior had an even more impressive week April 10-17 as Brandts tossed two no-hitters at Cavalier Field. On April 14 she struck out eight in a 2-0 game one win over Shepherd University, before striking out six for a 8-0, five-inning game one victory over Fairmont State University on April 15. For her back-to-back no-hitters Brandts claimed the prestigious National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Pitcher of the Week plaudit, in addition to earning both MEC and FPN Pitcher of the Week honors for the second-straight week.
Thompson, a native of Wise, Virginia (Central H.S.), was sensational for the Cavs on the mound and at the plate in April as he posted a .348 batting average and a 1.17 ERA for the month. He began the month with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate and a four inning save in his team's 8-7 win over Fairmont State University on April 2. A week later, Thompson lined four hits and hurled two innings of scoreless relief in a series at Glenville State College.
After posting a hit in all four games at West Virginia State, the local product returned home to put together an impressive home stand. Thompson opened a four-game series against the University Charleston in centerfield and went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and three runs scored before surrendering one earned run on the mound later in the day. He would move between the outfield and first base over the next two games in the series as he pushed his hitting streak to a team-high nine games.
The utility man finished the month with a complete game four-hitter in a win over MEC Division leader West Virginia Wesleyan. The start was highlighted by retiring 16 consecutive hitters, as the right-hander did not allow a walk while striking out five in his first collegiate complete game. At the plate, he finished the series by going 6-11 over the final three games with four RBI and two runs scored. Through April, Thompson leads the team with a 0.92 ERA and a .331 batting average.