Jonesboro (ASU) — Arkansas State assistant baseball coach Justin Meccage has named as the Sun Belt Conference Assistant Coach of the Year by SEBaseball.com, the website announced earlier this month. Meccage, who serves as the Red Wolves' pitching coach, received the honor after helping lead ASU to a 30-28 record during the 2010 season and to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Under Meccage's direction, the Red Wolves pitching staff lowered its ERA from 5.67 in 2009 to 5.02 during the 2010 season, ranking third in the Sun Belt Conference. The Red Wolves held opposing batters to a .289 average to rank fourth in the league, and ASU's pitching staff also ranked third in the league in hits (587), runs allowed (353), earned runs allowed (285) and walks allowed (184).
A member of Meccage's pitching staff has also been drafted in two of the last three Major League Baseball Drafts, with junior Drew Benes going to St. Louis in the 35th round of the 2010 draft and junior Chase Ware going to the San Francisco Giants in the 50th round of the 2008 draft. Ware returned for his senior season at ASU and is now a player in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
"We are very pleased that Justin has been recognized by SEBaseball.com," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "He is very passionate about the game and how he approaches our pitching staff. Justin is a quality individual that loves to teach the game. Our pitching staffs have improved each of the last two years in a very tough offensive Sun Belt Conference."
Arkansas State junior Murray Watts and sophomore Jacob Lee were also named to the website's all-conference team, with Watts earning first-team honors and Lee being named to the second team.
Watts, a Jonesboro native and a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection, was chosen by the Kansas City Royals in the 28th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. A starter at first base in all 58 games during his junior season, Watts led the Red Wolves with a .374 batting average and was also the team leader with 83 hits, 65 RBIs, 13 home runs and 137 total bases. In Sun Belt Conference action, Watts hit .419 and drove in 38 runs to lead the league in both categories.
Lee, also a Jonesboro native, was named to the Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament team after giving up just two runs in eight innings of work as ASU rolled into the semifinals of the tournament with a 12-2 run-rule victory over Troy. Lee struck out seven batters on the night without issuing a walk. He held the Trojans, which hit .316 as a team with 100 home runs, to a .226 batting average in the game, retiring 16 of the first 18 batters he faced. He finished the 2010 season with a record of 8-3 and an ERA of 3.80, the lowest among ASU's starters. He surrendered just 39 earned runs in 92.1 innings of work during the season, striking out a team-high 83 batters.
SEBaseball.com Honor Roll
All-Sun Belt First Team
1B Murray Watts (.374/13/65) Arkansas State
2B Matt Payton (.354/7/55) WKU
3B Jake Overstreet (.346/11/74) USA
SS Garrett Wittels (.413/260) FIU
SS Adam Bryant (.325/23/65) Troy
C Matt Rice (.369/10/65) WKU
OF Mike Martinez (.378/9/55) FIU
OF Blake McDade (.399/6/47) MTSU
OF Bryce Brentz (.348/15/49) MTSU
UT Andy Mee (.378/8/55 & 1-2/2.96/11 svs) FAU
UT Chase Whitley (.364/10/56 & 7-3/3.68/7 svs) Troy
SP Zach Osborne (9-4/2.37) Louisiana-Lafayette
SP Matt Ridings (9-1/3.01) WKU
SP Mike Gipson (8-2/3.70) FAU
SP Adam Champion (7-4/3.11) UALR
RP Rye Davis (3-4/2.72/9 svs) WKU
All-Sun Belt Second Team
1B Ryan Ditthardt (.333/18/61) Troy
1B Dan Scheffler (.371/15/65) FAU
2B Jordan Poirrer (.329/12/56) Louisiana-Lafayette
2B Justin Miller (.316/20/74) MTSU
3B Tyler Burnett (.351/12/46) MTSU
SS Nick Delguidice (.306/10/55) FAU
C Chad Keefer (.325/15/68) Louisiana-Lafayette
OF Steven Felix (.313/16/47) Troy
OF Will Skinner (.307/16/49) MTSU
OF Sean Laird (.350/9/54) USA
SP Chad Edwards (8-2/4.21) MTSU
SP D.D. Hanks (10-6/4.28) USA
SP Scott Rembicz (9-4/4.70) FIU
SP Jacob Lee (8-3/3.80) Arkansas State
RP Lance Baxter (6-4/4.81/5 svs) USA
Head Coach of the Year
John McCormack – FAU
Assistant Coach of the Year
Justin Meccage - ASU
Hitter of the Year
Garrett Wittels - FIU
Pitcher of the Year
Matt Ridings - WKU
Freshman of the Year
Jabari Henry - FIU