May 24, 2011
COMPLETE ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Xavier first baseman Ben Thomas has been named the Atlantic 10 Conference Baseball Player of the Year, in voting conducted among the league's head coaches. Redshirt junior Andrew Smith of Charlotte was honored as the Conference's Pitcher of the Year, while fellow 49er teammate Tyler Barnette was named A-10 Rookie of the Year. In that same vote, Rhode Island's Jim Foster was tabbed Coach of the Year.
Additionally, Charlotte’s Cory Tilton was recognized as the Student-Athlete of the Year, according to a vote of the league’s sports information directors.
Thomas, a three-time All-Conference selection, posted an impressive .352 average at the plate during his senior season, including 41 runs scored, 16 doubles, 14 homers and 57 RBI. The Columbus, Ohio native led the A-10 in RBI (31) and total bases (74) during Conference play, while ranking second in the league in slugging percentage (.634), RBI and home runs overall.
Smith has posted a 1.99 ERA and 8-4 overall record in his 95.0 innings of work, including 83 strikeouts and one complete-game shutout in his 14 starts. Additionally, he has posted an A-10 low 1.38 ERA in his eight conference starts, allowing just nine earned runs with 48 strikeouts in his 58.2 innings pitched.
Thomas and Smith are joined on the first-team by Charlotte’s Ross Steedley; Burny Mitchem and Brian Blasik of Dayton; George Washington’s Brendon Kelliher; Matt Gedman of Massachusetts; La Salle’s Pat Christensen; Rhode Island’s Greg Annarummo; Billy Barber of Richmond; along with Seth Willoughby and John McCambridge of Xavier.
The All-Conference second-team consists of Charlotte’s Justin Wilson; Dayton’s C.J. Gillman; Tim Swatek of Fordham; Kevin Fuqua of La Salle; Rhode Island’s Jeff Cammans, Mike LeBel and Stephen Peterson; Chris Cowell and Mike Mergenthaler of Richmond; St. Bonaventure’s Jason Radwan; Greg Kumpel of Saint Joseph’s; and Temple’s Steve Nikorak.
Barnette closed out the regular season with his A-10-best 1.98, including a stellar 8-1 mark on the mound, allowing just 18 earned runs and racking up 53 strikeouts in his 81.2 innings of work. The four-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, Barnette registered on complete-game this season and had a hand in two combined shutouts.
Barnette is joined on the All-Rookie team by Dayton’s Mel Skochdopole; Fordham’s Chris Pike and Tim Swatek; Dominic Sgroi of La Salle; Rhode Island’s Jeff Roy; Richmond’s Mike Small; along with Vinny Nittoli and Brian Bruening of Xavier.
Tilton, one of 10 Finalists for the 2011 Baseball Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, became the fourth player in 49er history to register 200 hits, 150 runs and 70 stolen bases for his career. He led the A-10 during the regular season and ranked among the top 10 nationally in stolen bases (31). Starting all 52 of Charlotte’s games in 2011, Tilton registered a .300 average with 45 runs scored, 12 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 42 RBI. The Cary, N.C., native owns a 3.81 cumulative grade-point average, while majoring in finance.
Tilton is joined on the Academic All-Conference team by teammates Bryan Hamilton and Shane Basen; along with Bryce Lahrman of Dayton; La Salle’s Pat Christensen and Brendan Norton; Rhode Island’s Mike LeBel; Billy Urban of St. Bonaventure; Temple’s Ryan Ferguson; and John McCambridge of Xavier.
After leading the Rams to a 16-8 mark in conference play and the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Conference Championship, Rhode Island head coach Jim Foster was named A-10 Coach of the Year. Under Foster’s guidance, URI is making its league-leading ninth consecutive appearance at the Championship and has earned a first-round bye for the second time in three years. The Rams faced four nationally-ranked teams during the regular season, including then-No. 1 Florida, Connecticut, College of Charleston and South Carolina.
The 2011 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship commences on Wednesday, May 25, with No. 4 Xavier facing fifth-seeded Richmond at 12:00PM, while third-seeded Dayton squares off against No. 6 La Salle at 3:30PM. Top-seeded Charlotte will take on the winner of the Xavier/Richmond match-up, May 26 at 12:00PM, while No. 2 Rhode Island opens the Championship against the winner of the Dayton/La Salle outing, May 26 at 3:30PM.
Tickets are available through the Campbell’s Field box office or by calling 866-742-7579. Fans may also email email@example.com. Single-day tickets are available for $8 for adults and $4 for children, students with a valid ID and senior citizens. Four-day passes may also be purchased for $24 for adults and $12 for children, students with a valid ID and senior citizens. On Saturday, during the noon game, the first 100 kids to enter will receive an A-10 duffle bag and water bottle. Game times are 12:00PM, 3:30PM and 7:00PM on May 25-26 and 12:00PM and 3:30PM (if necessary) on May 28.
Live audio and video will be provided during the Championship to fans, free of charge, through the Atlantic 10 website – www.atlantic10.com. Live audio of the Championship will be available, May 25-26, while the games on May 27-28 will be web-streamed. For complete coverage of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship, log on to www.atlantic10.com.