Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Michigan Baseball Receives Big Ten Accolades

Michigan Baseball received a number of Big Ten honors on the heels of the start of the 2008 Big Ten Tournament. None of these awards were particularly surprising, as Michigan was the dominant team in the Big Ten this year, finishing the regular season ranked 18th in the country.

Coach of the Year: Rich Maloney
Player of the Year: Nate Recknagel

Pitcher of the Year: Zach Putnam

Rich Maloney's Wolverines finished with a 42-12 record, only losing 2 games at home all year (18-2) and 5 games in the Big Ten (26-5). He is, simply put, the best coach in the Big Ten, and is close to realizing his dream of having Michigan host a regional, although winning the Big Ten Tournament is most likely a must.

Nate Recknagel certainly deserved the highest of honors in the Big Ten, as he took the conference by storm this year, finishing the year with a .381 average, along with an absurd 23 HRs and 68 RBIs. Recknagel led Michigan in hits (75), HRs, RBIs, total bases (155), and slugging percentage (.787).

Zach Putnam's only competition for this award was really Chris Fetter. Fetter finished the year 9-1 with a 2.49 ERA in 79.2 innings, only surrendering 59 hits and 21 walks while striking out 65 and holding opposing batters to a .208 average. Putnam, on the other hand, was 7-0 with a 2.64 ERA, while giving up 51 hits and 18 walks in 64.2 innings and, perhaps most impressively, striking out more than a batter per innings (65 Ks). Opponents only hit .215 off of Putnam, who also had the task of starting more 9 inning games than Fetter, who frequently pitched on Saturdays in Big Ten play.

1B - Nate Recknagel, Michigan#
2B - Ben Wolgamot, Purdue
SS - Jason Christian, Michigan
3B - Nate Hanson, Minnesota
OF - Kyle Hudson, Illinois#
OF - Andrew Means, Indiana
OF - Matt Nohelty, Minnesota
C - Josh Phegley, Indiana#
DH - Zach Putnam, Michigan
SP - Matt Bashore, Indiana
SP - Chris Fetter, Michigan
SP - Zach Putnam, Michigan#
SP - Matt Bischoff, Purdue
RP - Drew O'Neil, Penn State

This is the second consecutive year that Putnam received All-Big Ten honors as both a pitcher and a designated hitter, and, with the selection of Putnam to the First Team as both a pitcher and a DH this year, he becomes the first player in Big Ten history to be named to the First Team as both a pitcher and a hitter.

Jason Christian, who was banged up at the beginning of the season after a very slow start, deserves a ton of credit for how he turned around his season, with all of his hard work finally resulting in this recognition. Christian finished the year hitting .325 with 6 HRs and 43 RBIs, ranking him first amongst Big Ten shortstops.

1B - Jake Goebbert, Northwestern
2B - Joe Bonadonna, Illinois
SS - Brandon Wikoff, Illinois
3B - Kevin Hoef, Iowa
OF - Caleb Curry, Iowa
OF - Kevin Cislo, Michigan
OF - Brandon Haveman, Purdue
C - Jeff DeSmidt, Minnesota
DH - Daniel Webb, Illinois
SP - Eric Jokisch, Northwestern
SP - Jake Hale, Ohio State
SP - Dean Wolosiansky, Ohio State
SP - Mike Wanamaker, Penn State
RP - Josh Lindblom, Purdue

Cislo was really the 4th OF on the First Team, and if not for amazing years by Hudson, Means, and Nohelty, combined with a lack of power by the standards set by Big Ten OFers, Cislo would've easily been a First Teamer. Cislo finished the year with a whopping .359 average, played a tremendous CF in his first year starting full time at the position, filled in at 2B when Christian was hurt and Mahler moved over to SS, and led Michigan in stolen bases with 17.

1B - Ryne White, Purdue
2B - Leif Mahler, Michigan
SS - Justin Toole, Iowa
3B - Adam Abraham, Michigan
OF - Chris Roberts, Michigan State
OF - Mike Kalina, Northwestern
OF - J.B. Shuck, Ohio State
C - Joe Blackburn, Penn State
DH - Rob Yodice, Penn State
SP - Kevin Manson, Illinois
SP - Mark Sorensen, Michigan State
SP - J.B. Shuck, Ohio State
SP - Matt Jansen, Purdue
RP - Michael Powers, Michigan

These three guys are only on the Third Team because of some amazing years in the Big Ten by players at their positions. You can't really quantify Mahler's years with numbers, because the fifth-year senior had a huge impact on the team after sitting out the 2007 season. Not only did he exhibit the kind of sportsmanship necessary to receive Big Ten accolades, but he led by example, hitting .309 with 37 RBIs in his return season, and led Michigan in doubles with 16.

Adam Abraham had a case for First Team honors, hitting .344 with 7 HRs and 50 RBIs. Abraham, surprisingly enough, only made 5 appearances on the mound this year, after being named the closer to enter the season. With the additional time off the bump, Abraham was able to concentrate on the stick, and the results followed in a big way.

With Abraham hitting, Michael Powers and Tyler Burgoon took over the closer duties, with Burgoon saving 5 games and Powers saving 4. Powers was absolutely dominating this season, going 6-4 with a 2.94 ERA, including 50 Ks in 52 innings.

# unanimous selection

Freshman of the Year: Eric Jokisch, Northwestern

Kyle Hudson, Illinois
Andrew Means, Indiana
Caleb Curry, Iowa
Leif Mahler, Michigan
Mark Sorensen, Michigan State
Tom Steidl, Minnesota
Jake Goebbert, Northwestern
Dan DeLucia, Ohio State
Brian Ernst, Penn State
Ryne White, Purdue

Congrats to everyone on the lists. Big Ten baseball is certainly on the rise.

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