ATHLETE OF THE WEEK ALEX ELIOPOULOS

By ERICK SUN | May 7, 2012

Standing at six-foot-six, senior right-handed pitcher Alex Eliopoulos has been a towering force all season long for the Hopkins baseball team. Named as a preseason second team All-American by d3baseball. com and a top 10 Division III prospect by PerfectGame. org, the nation's largest baseball recruiting service, Eliopoulos has made good on that billing by starting 2012 with a 4-0 record and a sparkling 1.02 ERA in seven starts. Furthermore, the senior from Arlington, VA leads all Hopkins pitchers with a .217 batting-averageagainst, 47 strikeouts, and 44.1 innings pitched. For his third win of the season, last Tuesday March 28 against Dickinson, Eliopoulos threw a complete game, six-hitter, while striking out a career high 11 in the 3-2 win. Despite throwing 157 pitches in the game, Eliopoulos started against Centennial Conference foe McDaniel College a week later looking to earn his fourth win of the season. When asked about his workload, Eliopoulos said, "I threw a lot of pitches in the Dickinson game, but I was ready to go for McDaniel. The coaching staff did a good job to prepare me for the game, and I felt like I was ready to pitch from the start." Eliopoulos shut the Green Terror down through five innings, allowing only two hits and no runs while walking two and striking out three. He needed just 51 pitches to carve through their lineup. Behind the arm of The Newsletter's Athlete of the Week, Hopkins went on to defeat McDaniel 9-5 in front of the home fans at the JHU B a s e b a l l D i a m o n d . With the win, the Blue Jays i m p r o v e d to 13-8-2 on the season and 4-1 in the Centennial Conference, while d r o p p i n g McDaniel to 1-4 in conference play. With his five scoreless innings this past Tuesday, Eliopoulos extended his scoreless earned runs innings streak to 25, dating back to his Mar. 9th start against Stevenson. Eliopoulos credits his sinker and slider for his strong pitching. "Typically, my favorite count to throw my slider is a 3-2 count which is pretty unconventional, but I love that pitch. I like the challenge of having to throw a strike with that pitch in that count and most hitters aren't expecting it. I trust myself to throw it and let it do what it's supposed to." For his career, Eliopoulos has been a consistent performer for Head coach Bob Babb. While Eliopoulos played minimally as a freshman, he burst onto the stage in his sophomore season with a 10-1 record and a 2.83 ERA. He followed his tremendous sophomore campaign with an equally impressive junior season, leading the team with a 6-3 record while dropping his ERA to 2.38. If the start of 2012 is any indication, Eliopoulos' final season could be his best. However, his success, he says, isn't the result of focusing on any one thing. "I focus on working hard and getting better. That's my approach everyday. I also try to visualize everything that I do," the senior said. What's more, Eliopoulos may be able to continue his baseball career after graduating with a potential opportunity to tryout for Team Greece and play in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. If he makes the team, it would be fitting for him to be taking his play to the next level of competition. According to junior shortstop Kyle Neverman, Eliopoulos has "been phenomenal just a man among boys." As the Blue Jays look to defend their conference crown and achieve an unprecedented fifth straight title, the team will rely on Eliopoulos to come up big throughout the season. And with coach Babb's motto of "win one game everyday" in mind, the senior star will certainly be ready when his number is called.

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