2010 All-Southland Conference Baseball Teams

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

UT Arlington centerfielder Michael Choice, who was the league's freshman of the year in 2008, becomes the first player in conference history to also earn player of the year honors. He is a .392 career hitter with 34 home runs and 160 RBI. FRISCO, Texas – UT Arlington centerfielder Michael Choice was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year by a vote of league coaches and sports information directors, the league office announced Monday in conjunction with the release of its all-conference teams.

Choice, who was also selected the conference hitter of the year, was one of five players who received the seven individual superlatives. Texas State pitcher Carson Smith was named the conference’s pitcher and newcomer of the year. UTSA freshman Ryan Dalton was named the conference freshman of the year and Northwestern State closer Chad Sheppard was the league’s inaugural relief pitcher of the year. Additionally, Stephen F. Austin coach Johnny Cardenas was named the Southland coach of the year.

One of the most feared batters in college baseball, Choice has been walked 71 times this season, including 20 intentional. Both figures lead the nation. The junior from Arlington, Texas (Mansfield Timberview), also leads the nation with a .568 on-base percentage and the conference with a .710 slugging percentage. He is second in batting average (.383) and runs scored (62) and is tied for second in total bases (130), third in home runs (16) and fifth in runs batted in (57). He has reached base safely in 68 consecutive games.

Choice, who was the league’s freshman of the year in 2008, becomes the first player in conference history to also earn player of the year honors. He is a .392 career hitter with 34 home runs and 160 RBI. Choice is the fourth Maverick to be named the conference player and hitter of the year and the first to pick up both awards since Hunter Pence in 2004. Choice, a three-time all-conference selection, is also the first Maverick to earn first-team all-conference honors in consecutive seasons since Pence in 2003-04. Baseball America has projected Choice as the 11th pick in next month’s Major League draft.

Smith is the second consecutive Bobcat to be named the conference pitcher of the year and the third overall and he is also the second consecutive Bobcat to be named the conference newcomer of the year. The sophomore right hander from Midland, Texas (Midland Christian) and a transfer from Grayson County Community College, was also the league’s newcomer of the year. After helping the Bobcats win their second consecutive regular-season championship, Smith led the conference in opponent batting averaging (.227) and was tied for first in wins (9-3). He is second in earned run average (2.78) and innings pitched (100.1), fifth in strikeouts (90) and tied for 10th in saves (three). Smith has six complete games this season, including each of his last five starts. With shutouts in his last two starts, the first-team all-conference selection upped his season total to four and has cracked the school’s single-season strikeout list. Smith has allowed just four runs in his last 31 innings.

Dalton is the third Roadrunner to be named the Southland’s top freshman and the first since Tim Palincsar earned the honor in 2007. Dalton is tied with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi junior Trey Hernandez for the Southland lead with 17 home runs and that total ranks second nationally among freshman in addition to being the third-best single-season total in school history. He also led the Roadrunners with a UTSA freshman record 51 RBI and hit .305 in starting all 50 games at third base this spring.

Sheppard is the first player to be named the Southland’s relief pitcher of the year, a new award in 2010. The Northwestern State right hander tied his own single-season record with 10 saves this season and has a career-record 20 saves in just two seasons. The sophomore from Enterprise, La. (Franklin Academy), ranks third in games finished (21), is tied for third with 25 games in relief and tied for seventh with 25 appearances, which ranks second in school history for a single season. Sheppard is a third-team all-conference selection. He is 2-0 with a 3.23 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 39 innings.

Cardenas becomes the first coach in Stephen F. Austin history to be honored as the league’s coach of the year. In fact, it is just the third time SFA has ever won a postseason superlative award. Steven Hill was named the league’s hitter and player of the year in 2007. Picked to finish eighth in the preseason coaches’ and sports information directors’ polls, the 34-18 Lumberjacks enter the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed, the highest tournament seed in school history. They were within 1.5 games of first place with just two weeks left of the season. The second-year skipper is 57-50 at SFA and the 34 wins are tied for the most in program history.

Northwestern State placed a league-best seven student-athletes on the three all-conference teams, including four on the first team. Outfielders Eric DeBlanc and Oscar Garcia join catcher Aaron Munoz and pitcher Luke Irvine as first-team honorees, while third baseman Chase Lyles earned second team honors and pitchers Sheppard and Ryan Zimmerman garnered third-team honors.

DeBlanc leads the conference with a .397 batting average and ranks third with 83 hits. He is tied for third with four triples and ranks eighth with 56 runs scored. Garcia’s .377 batting average ranks third. He also ranks third in on-base percentage (.475) and runs scored (60). Munoz has picked off 13 runners, which leads the conference. Irvine’s 2.87 ERA and 99 strikeouts rank third in the Southland. His 15 starts are more than any other pitcher.

Texas State had six players named to the all-conference teams, including three to the first team. First baseman Kyle Livingstone and third baseman Kyle Kubitza joined Smith in earning first-team honors. McNeese State, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, UT Arlington and UTSA each had one first-team selection.

Third-place Southeastern Louisiana earned five all-conference selections, including pitcher Chris Franklin on the first team. The Lions had two second-team and two third-team picks. McNeese State, Nicholls, Stephen F. Austin and UT Arlington each had three all-conference designees, while UTSA had two selections. Lamar and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi each had one all-conference honoree. Nicholls, which had not had an all-conference selection since 2006, had multiple all-conference selections for the first time since 2004.

Choice is the only three-time all-conference selection though six others are repeat selections, including Lyles, UTSA second baseman Ryan Hutson, Sam Houston State second baseman Braeden Riley, Texas State outfielder Bret Atwood, McNeese State outfielder Lee Orr and UTSA designated hitter Ryan Rummel.

The 2010 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament gets underway Wednesday at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas. The winner of the double-elimination tournament earns the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, which starts June 4 at regional campus sites.

2010 All-Southland Conference Baseball Teams

First Team

Pos.

Name

University

Class

Hometown

1B

Kyle Livingston

Texas State

Sr.

Fort Worth, Texas

2B

Ryan Hutson2

UTSA

Jr.

Round Rock, Texas

3B

Kyle Kubitza

Texas State

So.

Colleyville, Texas

SS

Jace Peterson

McNeese State

So.

Moss Bluff, La.

OF

Michael Choice3

UT Arlington

Jr.

Arlington, Texas

OF

Eric DeBlanc

Northwestern State

Sr.

Scott, La.

OF

Oscar Garcia

Northwestern State

Jr.

El Paso, Texas

C

Aaron Munoz

Northwestern State

Jr.

Phoenix, Ariz.

DH

Chris Andreas

Sam Houston State

Jr.

Brenham, Texas

P

Carson Smith

Texas State

So.

Midland, Texas

P

Chris Franklin

Southeastern Louisiana

Sr.

Oneonta, Ala.

P

Luke Irvine

Northwestern State

Jr.

Liberty, Mo.

Second Team

1B

Trey Hernandez

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Jr.

Robstown, Texas

2B

Braeden Riley2

Sam Houston State

Jr.

Woodville, Texas

3B

Chase Lyles2

Northwestern State

Sr.

Plain Dealing, La.

SS

Justin Boudreaux

Southeastern Louisiana

So.

Prairieville, La.

OF

Bret Atwood2

Texas State

Jr.

Katy, Texas

OF

Bear Comer

Nicholls

Jr.

Pace, Fla.

OF

Jeff Harkensee

Southeastern Louisiana

Jr.

Arlington Heights, Ill.

C

Chad Comer

UT Arlington

Jr.

Mansfield, Texas

DH

Jeff McVaney

Texas State

So.

Houston, Texas

P

Jason Mitchell

UT Arlington

Sr.

Phoenix, Ariz.

P

Tyler Herriage

Stephen F. Austin

Jr.

Lewisville, Texas

P

Clint Dempster

Nicholls

Jr.

Thibodaux, La.

Third Team

1B

Darren Crabtree

Stephen F. Austin

Jr.

Sugar Land, Texas

2B

Andy Mena

Lamar

Jr.

Huffman, Texas

3B

Steve Irvine

McNeese State

Sr.

Tulsa, Okla.

SS

Jason Martinson

Texas State

Jr.

Hurst, Texas

OF

Garrett Smith

Stephen F. Austin

Jr.

Carthage, Texas

OF

Lee Orr2

McNeese State

So.

Louise, Texas

OF

Cass Hargis

Southeastern Louisiana

Jr.

Meraux, La.

C

Josh Cryer

Southeastern Louisiana

Jr.

Leesville, La.

DH

Ryan Rummel2

UTSA

Sr.

Uvalde, Texas

P

Chad Sheppard

Northwestern State

So.

Enterprise, La.

P

Ryan Zimmerman

Northwestern State

Sr.

Fremont, Calif.

P

Tyler Minto

Nicholls

Sr.

Mobile, Ala.

2 indicates two-time all-conference selection;

3 indicates three-time all-conference selection.

Honorable Mention – First Base: Adam Roy, NWLA. Second Base: Justin Martinez, NWLA. Third Base: Bobby Loveless, SFA. Outfield: Bo Coffman, SFA; Cody Gougler, SLU; Laurn Randell, TXST; Quentin Luequette, LU; Preston Beck, UTA; Mark Hudson, SHSU; Andy Riche’. Catcher: Jarid Scarafiotti, SFA. Designated Hitter: Steffan Guest, UTA. Pitchers: Rett Varner, UTA; Mattison Smith, LU; Eric Harrington, LU.

Player of the Year:

Michael Choice, UT Arlington

Hitter of the Year:

Michael Choice, UT Arlington

Pitcher of the Year:

Carson Smith, Texas State

Newcomer of the Year:

Carson Smith, Texas State

Freshman of the Year:

Ryan Dalton, UTSA

Relief Pitcher of the Year:

Chad Sheppard, Northwestern State

Coach of the Year:

Johnny Cardenas, Stephen F. Austin