Tuesday, May 21, 2013
MACON, Ga. – Mercer’s Chesny Young became the first Bear since 1985 to claim the Atlantic Sun Conference Baseball Player of the Year. Young’s Head Coach, Craig Gibson, took home the A-Sun Player of Year honor that year and added another trophy on Tuesday as he was named the league Coach of the Year.
ETSU’s Kerry Doane, the nation’s leader in complete games (11) and innings pitched (122), was tabbed the A-Sun Pitcher of the Year following his 12-1 campaign with a 2.07 ERA. Stetson’s Patrick Mazeika earned the Freshman of the Year honors – the fifth Hatter all-time to earn the honor – after leading the league in batting overall (.392) and in conference play (.439).
Young, Doane and Mazeika all three landed on the first team all-conference.
North Florida’s Corey Bass collected all-conference catcher honors as he batted .309 for the Ospreys with 29 RBI in 51 games started. Bass threw out 21-of-36 base runners attempting to steals as UNF finished with a Division I program record 38 wins.
FGCU’s Brandon Bednar was an unanimous selection to the first team at second base after batting .345 – seventh best in the A-Sun – with 51 runs scored, 82 hits, and 46 RBI. His 82 hits trailed only Mercer’s Young, who leads the NCAA with 95 hits for a .388 average; good for second-best in the A-Sun. Young, the Bears' third baseman, finished the regular season in the top-three of the A-Sun for runs, hits, on-base percentage and RBIs.
Kal Simmons from Kennesaw State joins Mazeika as one of two freshmen selected to the first team. Simmons tied for the team lead in RBI (27), while batting .317 with 11 doubles. He increased his average to .361 in A-Sun play as the Owls starting shortstop.
Four outfielders landed on the first team; FGCU’s Sean Dwyer, Mercer’s Derrick Workman, North Florida’s Tyler Marincov and USC Upstate’s Gaither Bumgardner. Dwyer posted the most walks (38) and sacrifice flies (11) in the conference, while Workman slugged his way to nine homers with 48 RBI for an .453 on-base percentage; second-most in the league.
Marincov ranked in the top-two for several categories including; triples (6; 1st), runs (60; 2nd), total bases (131; 2nd) and doubles (18th; t-2nd). Bumgardner, the 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year, continued his outstanding play into his senior season with a .353 batting average for 79 hits, while adding a 4-2 record as a starting pitcher for the Spartans.
A two-time all-conference selection at designated hitter, Mercer’s Nick Backlund leads the A-Sun in RBIs (63), doubles (20) and home runs (13). He is the first player in the A-Sun to achieve the feat in the past 16 seasons.
Doane was joined by Kennesaw State’s Stephen Janas and FGCU’s Ricky Knapp as the first team all-conference starting pitchers. Janas ranks second in the nation with his 0.81 ERA and holds an 8-0 record for the year and allowed only six extra-base hits in 66.1 innings pitched.
Knapp, the 2012 A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, recorded a 9-2 mark on the mound with a 2.02 ERA – fourth-best in the A-Sun – to guide the Eagles to the No. 2 seed in the 2013 A-Sun Baseball Championship. His 70 strikeouts ranks fourth in the A-Sun.
Completing the A-Sun First Team All-Conference is Mercer’s relief pitcher Dimitri Kourtis, who led the conference in saves (9) with the league’s eighth-best ERA at 2.90. His 31 appearances rank fourth in the league, while his .242 opposing batting average is eighth-best.
The 2013 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship begins on Wednesday at 10 a.m. with host school No. 5 Stetson facing No. 4 ETSU. Fans can watch all of the games on ASun.TV for free and the Championship Final; Sunday on ESPN3.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.