N.C. A&T pitcher Jennifer Luper, a former Fort Mill High School hurler, continues to pick up Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference honors.
The freshman was named MEAC Pitcher of the Week for recent efforts.
Luper picked up four victories, recording a 1.22 ERA. She pitched a shutout against Savannah State, striking out 13 of 19 batters in six innings. For the week, Luper pitched 23 innings, faced 88 batters, struck out 22, gave up only three walks and allowed just four earned runs.
Luper is 15-3 and has won eight straight games. She has a 2.38 ERA with 82 strikeouts and 22 walks in 123 2-3 innings.
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During the week of March 31-April 6, Luper was honored with two awards, MEAC Pitcher of the Week and MEAC Rookie of the Week.
• CLEMSON: The Tigers might have the only state player to go in the first round of the NFL draft next week in defensive end Phillip Merling, who is leaving school a year early.
USA Today Sports Weekly has Merling listed as the 23rd-best prospect in the nation.
Pro Football Draft Guide 2008 has the 6-5, 280-pound Merling going to San Diego with the 27th selection in the first round. Others are predicting Merling will be the first-round choice of Minnesota or Philadelphia.
Other Tigers who could go in the draft are offensive linemen Barry Richardson and Chris McDuffie and linebacker Nick Watkins.
A couple of South Carolina players, quarterback Blake Mitchell and running back Cory Boyd, are thought to be possible draft picks.
• FRANCIS MARION: Tyler Lehman and Chris Honeycutt, two former Herald-area standouts, have helped the Patriots' baseball team reach the 30-victory plateau.
Lehman, a Northwestern graduate, and Honeycutt, out of Fort Mill, have helped lead the Patriots to a 30-17 record, 14-10 in the Peach Belt Conference.
Lehman, a 5-10, 165-pound utility man, has appeared in 30 games, batting .227 with six RBIs. He's also pitched in one game, going three scoreless innings, scattering three hits and striking out two.
Honeycutt, a freshman infielder, is batting .245 with five RBIs in 25 games. The 6-foot, 200-pound Honeycutt has seen a lot of duty at designated hitter.
The Patriots are coached by Art Inabinet, a former Winthrop player and assistant coach.
• TENNESSEE: Defensive back Jonathan Hefney will most likely hear his name called during the NFL draft.
The 5-9, 185-pound Hefney, who played at Rock Hill High, is ranked the No. 6 safety prospect by Pro Football Draft Guide 2008.
Hefney averaged 6.9 tackles a game this season, posting 96 stops in 14 games.
Hefney, who also returns punts, is projected as a third-round pick by Pro Football Draft Guide 2008. The publication has Hefney going to Tennessee.
A couple of other prognosticators forecast Hefney going in the fifth round, possibly to Carolina or Washington.
• WINGATE: Senior basketball standout Sean Barnette, an ex-Northwestern stalwart, is playing in the 30th annual ACC All-Star Barnstorming Tour this spring.
The 6-4 Barnette, who concluded his college career as the Bulldogs' and South Atlantic Conference's all-time leading scorer (2,324 points), is part of a tour that made its first stop at Monroe, N.C., this week.
The tour will also make appearances at Smithfield (N.C.) High School on Saturday; Havelock (N.C.) High on Wednesday and Anderson Civic Center on Friday.
Barnette's teammate, Bryan Grier of Charlotte, is also part of the tour.
Barnette has already played in the third annual NABC/NCAA Division II All-Star Game in Springfield, Mass., and will play in the Collegiate Basketball Invitational in Wadsworth, Ohio, Thursday-Saturday.
Barnette was a two-time Daktronics All-American pick and two-time SAC Player of the Year.
• WINTHROP: Former Eagles pitcher Jeremy Plexico has been released by Washington.
Plexico was a 19th-round pick of Montreal in the 2003 draft. He spent the past five seasons in the minor leagues, going 2-5 with a 4.07 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg last season.
Plexico was selected 2003 Big South Conference's Scholar-Athlete of the Year.