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2011 CBD Missouri Valley Conference Awards

By: John Lockwood
2011 College Baseball Daily MVC Player of the Year – Chris O’Brien, Wichita State

Chris O’Brien of Wichita State is 2011 CBD Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. The junior catcher from Tulsa, OK, absolutely knocked the cover off the ball in his first full season of duty, hitting .410, tallying 100 hits and 25 doubles, while managing a .495 on-base-percentage—all league bests. His 100 hits were also good for second-most in the nation. O’Brien placed in to the top 3 in the Valley in homeruns (10), RBI (70), and runs scored (56). O’Brien, who hit above .500 for the majority of conference-play, also led the conference with 31 multi-hit games and finishes the season on a career-best 29-game hitting streak. He is a finalist for both the Johnny Bench (best collegiate catcher) and Dick Howser (top collegiate player as voted on by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association) awards.

2011 College Baseball Daily MVC Pitcher of the Year – Jonas Dufek, Creighton

Jonas Dufek is the 2011 CBD Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year. A senior from Omaha, Dufek led the Bluejays on the mound to their first MVC Tournament Championship since 2007, garnering MVC Tournament MVP honors along the way. In his final collegiate campaign Dufek posted a conference-best 11-1 record with a 2.17 ERA—also tops in the Valley. To boot, Dufek’s 118 K’s and 10.31 Strikeouts per nine innings ratio were second best in all of the Missouri Valley Conference. In the championship game, Dufek started the first 2.2 innings, allowing just two hits and a walk, while mowing down five of the eleven batters he faced.

2011 College Baseball Daily MVC Freshman of the Year – Nick Petree, Missouri State

In just his first season in the Missouri Valley Conference, Nick Petree of Missouri State proved himself to be one of the top pitchers in the league. In addition to earning all-conference honors, the Clinton, MO-native was 9-2 with 2.81 ERA and 81 Ks—all far and away tops amongst freshmen. Petree owns records for most wins and innings pitched by a Missouri State freshman, as well as being distinguished as the only MSU freshman to start the season 6-0. Much to the chagrin of Valley hitters, they can only expect Petree to get better in the coming years.

2011 College Baseball Daily MVC Assistant Coach of the Year – Bill Mohl, Illinois State

In a year when offensive numbers across the nation were down and pitchers regained their confidence on the collegiate mound, it would be easy to over-look a team’s improvement in pitching—but not when it is as meteoric as Illinois State’s. Second year pitching Coach Bill Mohl has transformed a Redbirds pitching staff which finished last-season with a 5.36 ERA (fifth in the Missouri Valley conference) and had no starter with an ERA below 4.60, into the top pitching corps in the Valley. This year, the Redbirds had the best team ERA for most of the season and finished with a team ERA of just 3.30. Under Coach Mohl, no starter finished with an ERA above 4.27, and eight pitchers finished with ERA’s below 4 in a minimum of 19 innings pitched. ISU improved in every pitching category: hits decreased from 528 in 2010 to 437 in 2011, earned runs decreased from 295 to a minuscule 174, walks dropped off from 219 to 190, while strikeouts jumped from 383 to 416. As well, the addition of Justin Hauer (3-0, 1.41 ERA, 41 K) and emergence of Jay Wielebnicki (1-1, 1.69 ERA, 30 K) alongside closer Kenny Long in the bullpen have been a key reason why the Redbirds had the best bullpen in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2011. To top it all off, it was the first time in school history that the Redbirds finished the regular season with the MVC’s top ERA.

2011 College Baseball Daily MVC Coach of the Year – Ken Henderson, Southern Illinois

After their season-ending loss to Creighton on Thursday, Saluki’s interim head Coach Ken Henderson gave the staple post-game coach-speak which one comes to expect after the final game of the season: “We had good kids and they did everything that we asked them to do. We didn’t always play great, but we played hard. I cannot fault our effort, even today we made some mistakes, but our effort was tremendous. We have great kids and they made it a good year.” While Henderson was simply continuing the same understated demeanor which he has been carrying all season, in truth perhaps no coach in the Valley faced a more uphill battle this season than Southern Illinois’ interim head coach. In November, the Saluki family lost long-time head coach Dan Callahan to an extended battle with a rare form of Melanoma. An assistant coach at Southern Illinois for twenty years, Ken Henderson had worked with Callahan for sixteen of them, and when he agreed to take the helm of the Southern Illinois baseball team in December, he was unknowingly taking on a huge task of preserving a team that could have just as easily fallen apart in the wake of such a loss. And at the beginning of the season, the Salukis, who were slated to finish in seventh place in the preseason polls, appeared to be doing just that: they had put together 5-game and 9-game losing streaks en route to an 8-19 record heading into conference play. But the Salukis didn’t fall apart. They proceeded to go 15-15 the rest of the way, including a winning 11-10 record in conference play, on their way to finishing the season fifth in the MVC and beating Bradley in the MVC Championship Tournament. While no one would have been terribly surprised if the Salukis had not bounced back and gone on to finish dead last in the Valley, and while no one would have faulted Ken Henderson in the least, the Salukis resiliency and strong finish to the season is a testament to their coach’s dedication to his team. For this Ken Henderson is the 2011 CBD Missouri Valley Coach of the Year.

2011 College Baseball Daily All-Missouri Valley Conference Team

C Jr. Chris O’Brien, Wichita State (.410, 100 H, 25 2B, 10 HR, 70 RBI)
1B Jr. Brock Chaffin, Missouri State (.344, 13 2B, 6 HR, 37 RBI)
2B Jr. Trentt Copeland, Evansville (.308, 17 2B, 22 RBI, 10 SB)
SS Jr. Tyler Grimes, Wichita State (.299, 5 HR, 32 RBI, .463 OBP, 26 SB)
3B Sr. Ryan Court, Illinois State (.323, 15 2B, 6 HR, 40 RBI)
DH Sr. Preston Springer, Wichita State (.289, 17 2B, 10 HR, 56 RBI)
UT Sr. Cody Fick, Evansville (.406, 21 2B, 9 HR, 71 RBI)
OF Sr. Trever Adams, Creighton (.392, 14 2B, 14 HR, 57 RBI)
OF Sr. Tyler McNeely, Illinois State (.344, 12 HR, 48 RBI, .485 OBP)
OF Jr. Jordan Sivertsen, Southern Illinois (.302, 17 2B, 9 HR, 48 RBI)
OF So. Robby Ort, Indiana State (.320, 7 3B, 10 HR, 53 RBI)

SP Sr. Jonas Dufek, Creighton (11-1, 2.17 ERA, 1 CG, 103.2 IP, 28 BB, 118 K)
SP Jr. Charlie Lowell, Wichita State (10-5, 2.79 ERA, 2 CG, 97.1 IP, 39 BB, 124 K)
SP Fr. Nick Petree, Missouri State (9-2, 2.81 ERA, 2 CG, 96 IP, 27 BB, 81 K)
SP Sr. Corey Maines, Illinois State (9-4, 2.88 ERA, 93.2 IP, 34 BB, 110 K)
SP So. Ty Blach, Creighton (10-2, 2.72 ERA, 96 IP, 28 BB, 93 K)
SP So. Cody Forsythe, Southern Illinois (8-5, 2.35 ERA, 3 CG, 103.1 IP, 11 BB, 69 K)
RP Jr. Dan Kickham, Missouri State (2-3, 1.84 ERA, 13 SV, 29.1 IP, 16 BB, 24 K)
RP Jr. Kenny Long, Illinois State (4-1, 0.92 ERA, 6 SV, 39.1 IP, 7 BB, 45 K)
RP Jr. Kurt Spomer, Creighton (3-3, 1.93 ERA, 13 SV, 46.2 IP, 12 BB, 36 K)
RP Jr. Justin Hauer, Illinois State (3-0, 1.41 ERA, 32 IP, 10 BB, 41 K)

2011 College Baseball Daily Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team

C Mike Hollenbeck, Illinois State (.265, 3 HR, 42 RBI; threw out a league-best 42% of base-stealers)
SS Tyler Wampler, Indiana State (.306, 26 R, 17 RBI)
3B Tyler Coughenour, Wichita State (.259, 6 2B, 24 R, 17 RBI, 11 SB)
OF Brock Stewart, Illinois State (.259, 10 2B, 3 HR, 16 RBI)
OF Mike Gerber, Creighton (.278, 6 HR, 22 RB, 6 SB)
SP Nick Petree, Missouri State (9-2, 2.81 ERA, 2 CG, 96 IP, 27 BB, 81 K)
SP Dan Savas, Illinois State (3-4, 3.92 ERA, 66.2 IP, 32 BB, 68 K)
SP Sean Manaea, Indiana State (5-5, 4.32 ERA, 83.1 IP, 48 BB, 82 K)
SP Cole Isom, Evansville (5-6, 4.76 ERA, 2 CG, 81.1 IP, 36 BB, 38 K)
RP Cale Elam, Wichita State (4-1, 1.23 ERA, 5 SV, 44 IP, 19 BB, 32 K)
RP Aaron LaBrie, Wichita State (2-1, 3.21 ERA, 1 SV, 28 IP, 4 BB, 13 K)

  • Jmcglone

    Brian could you please get hole of Weisser and find out why they chose St. John’s over top of Wichita State, I mean, Wichita State finished in the same position as St. John’s in a higher rated conference and had a better record against the top 50 RPI teams. u00a0

  • Gibbs Sandy

    CONGRATULATIONS to Bill. u00a0You must be so proud! Love, Sandy