STORM LAKE - Sophomore Nick Henrichs and junior Gage Smart have been named as Co-Athletes of the Week by the American Rivers Conference following their performances during the A-R-C Baseball Tournament this past weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Henrichs finished the tournament tied for the team lead with four hits, and it was his solo home run over the fence in left that proved to be the lone run during BVU's 1-0 victory over Luther on Thursday afternoon. A day later, he drove in a big insurance run that pushed the Beavers lead to 3-0 during its 4-0 shutout of top-seed Coe College. In that same contest, he also got the start on the mound and pitched 5.2 scoreless innings, scattering just three hits. Henrichs finished the tournament with four hits and seven total bases.
Smart, meanwhile, came out of the bullpen in each of BVU's three contests and shut the door in each game. He picked up saves in each of the first two before entering in the eighth inning of the championship game with a 5-1 lead. He worked 4.1 total innings and allowed just one hit as the Beaver staff surrendered only one run during three games of the tournament. Smart's save on Friday afternoon pushed him into a tie for second on the program's single-season list with eight.
Henrichs and Smart were each instrumental in helping lead the program to its third conference tournament championship and an automatic berth into this weekend's NCAA DIII Regional Tournament. They are the fourth and fifth different players from the team to earn weekly conference honors this season. It's the second straight week in which a pitcher for BVU has been recognized (Egan Bonde).
Buena Vista has won seven straight games and is 25-17 overall. The team will travel to River Forest, Ill. and begin regional play against previously top-ranked and host Concordia Chicago on Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.