Czech Republic native Marek Chlup will look to keep his bat hot when his North Greenvile Crusaders (21-5) travel to Bristol, Tennessee, to take on King University in twin doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. Chlup carries one of the hottest bats — indeed, perhaps, the most red-hot — of all Europeans playing baseball at American universities.
After a torrid start that saw him hit seven homeruns in his first 14 games, including three in the second leg of a Mar. 5 doubleheader against Chowan University, Chlup’s bat cooled, with no homeruns in the eight games after the Chowan series. But the big Czech outfielder returned to his old ways against Salem University in a two-game series on March 25 and 26, going 6-for-6 with two home runs and seven RBI. He followed that performance with two more hits and three RBI against Lander University on Mar. 30.
Chlup has been a fearsome slugger for the Crusaders this season since transferring from Division I North Carolina State University [link to player profile]. The Prague native joined the Wolfpack, along with his fellow Czech international Vojtech Mensik, after also drawing Division I interest from Duke University, but after limited playing time in Raleigh, he has taken advantage of every opportunity with the Crusaders and is carrying an impressive .427/.510/.854 slash line heading into weekend action.
Chlup’s slugging percentage is tied for ninth among all Division II batters (as of April 4, minimum of 80 at-bats), with this nine home runs placing him in the top twenty. Despite his power numbers, the sophomore has also controlled the strike zone well, with 15 walks against 12 strikeouts. He has hit safely in 22 of the 25 games he has played this season.
All four games are scheduled for live streaming and air at 18:30 and 21:30 CEST.