From the Sun Belt Conference
FIU's Pablo Bermudez and Troy's Adam Bryant and Tyler Ray highlight the 2011 Sun Belt All-Conference baseball teams. Bermudez and Bryant were named Co-Players of the Year while Ray earned the conference's Pitcher of the Year honor.
Troy's Bobby Pierce was named the Ron Maestri Coach of the Year, after leading the Trojans to a 40-16 regular season record and their first SBC title since the 2006 season. WKU's Justin Hageman was named the SBC Freshman of the Year.
Bermudez, a senior from Miami Shores, Fla., led the SBC in hitting with a .380 batting average in 52 games played and ranks first in on-base percentage (.494). He ranks first in walks (46) and is third overall in runs scored with 55. Bermudez's teammates, Phil Haig (starting pitcher) and Mike Martinez (first base) were named second team all-conference while Jeremy Patton (third base) was named first team all-conference.
Bryant is Troy's all-time leader in hits, runs, at-bats, triples and total bases and before the season is over, could hold the doubles record for the Trojans. The senior shortstop is one of many reasons Troy has earned the top overall seed in the tournament as he is the only player in the SBC to rank in the top four in hits, runs, RBIs, doubles and total bases. A preseason All-SBC selection, Bryant was named to the Midseason Golden Spikes Award list and is a Brooks Wallace Award quarterfinalist.
He ranks first in the league with 84 hits, 56 runs and 63 RBI. He is second with 24 doubles and 140 total bases. The Pensacola, Fla. native has 19 multi-RBI games and 23 multi-hit games, both of which are tops on the team.
Bryant's teammate, Tyler Ray, has established himself as the dominant starter in the Sun Belt and one of the most successful in the nation as a junior this season. The Hoover, Ala., native leads the NCAA with 11 wins and is third nationally with an 11-game winning streak. His 26-career wins rank 14th among active pitchers in Division I and is 11th in SBC history. His 11 wins are the second most in Troy history.
Ray's 2.39 earned run average ranks third overall in the SBC and his .237 opponent batting average are tops among everyday starters in the league. Ray is also a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, presented annually to collegiate baseball's top player.
In addition to Bryant and Ray, four other Trojans were selected to all-conference teams. Nate Hill (relief pitcher) and T.J. Rivera (second base) were named to the second team while Tyler Hannah (third base) and Tyson Workman (utility) were named to the first team.
Troy's Pierce picked up his second SBC Coach of the Year honor and his third overall after his Trojans posted 40 wins in 2011, the second most wins by a Troy team since the 2006 season. This season, Pierce's group won 30 games at home, the most in school history. The Trojans are fifth overall in the conference in hitting with a .295 team average but lead the league in doubles with 142 and runs scored with 399. The Trojans also rank second in the league with a team earned run average of 3.74 while allowing a league low of 236 runs scored. Troy also leads the SBC in strikeouts with 419.
WKU's Hageman has been a consistent piece of the WKU pitching staff this season. In 14 starts, Hageman is 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA with a team-best 81 strikeouts. His eight wins rank fourth in the league and moved him past former WKU standout Matt Ridings – WKU's winningest freshman pitcher. Hageman's weekend counterpart and fellow teammate, Tanner Perkins, was named second team all-conference, as was WKU's Jared Andreoli (outfield). Senior Matt Rice (catcher) and junior Kes Carter (outfield) were named first team all-conference.
Troy led the way with six total All-Sun Belt selections, followed by Florida Atlantic with five. Both FIU and Western Kentucky totaled four honorees.
Tournament action will begin Wednesday, May 25 and run through Sunday, May 29. This season the SBC moved to a new championship format which will feature the top eight of the ten SBC teams competing against each other in two four-team pools with the team with the best record in each pool advancing to the tournament's championship game. Each team in the tournament will be guaranteed three games and a day off prior to Championship Sunday.
Prior to the start of tournament play, the SBC along with Louisiana-Monroe will host Championship Family Night. Family Night is free and open to the public. Family Night festivities will include an awards ceremony, home run derby by selected student-athletes, a fireworks show and autograph opportunities. Gates will open to Warhawk Field at 7:00 p.m. CT.
Visit the 2011 SBC Baseball Championship Central on www.sunbeltsports.org for complete information on each and every game of the baseball championship.
Fans can catch all of the 2011 SBC Baseball Championship live courtesy of SBC Extra. For just $9.95 you can enjoy each game leading up to the championship finale on Sunday. Sunday's championship game will be broadcast by CSS/CST as part of the SBC Network.
2011 All-Sun Belt Second Team
SP - Phil Haig, FIU
SP - Tanner Perkins, WKU
RP - Nate Hill, Troy
C - Brent Tanner, South Alabama
1B - Mike Martinez, FIU
2B - T.J. Rivera, Troy
SS - Nick DelGuidice, Florida Atlantic
3B - Hank LaRue, Middle Tennessee
OF - Jared Andreoli, WKU
OF - Alex Hudak, Florida Atlantic
OF - Will Skinner, Middle Tennessee
DH - Lance Marvel, Louisiana-Lafayette
UTIL - Brad Hook - South Alabama
2011 All-Sun Belt First Team
SP - Paul Davis, Florida Atlantic
SP - Tyler Ray, Troy
RP - Hugh Adams, Florida Atlantic
C - Matt Rice, WKU
1B - Joey Rapp, Louisiana-Monroe
2B - Raymond Church, Florida Atlantic
SS - Adam Bryant, Troy
3B - Tyler Hannah, Troy
3B - Jeremy Patton, FIU
OF - Todd Baumgartner, Arkansas State
OF - Pablo Bermudez, FIU
OF - Kes Carter, WKU
DH - Nick Rountree, UALR
UTIL - Tyson Workman, Troy
Sun Belt Co-Players of the Year
Pablo Bermudez, FIU
Adam Bryant, Troy
Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year
Tyler Ray, Troy
Sun Belt Freshman of the Year
Justin Hageman, WKU
Ron Maestri Coach of the Year