Chris Webb

Cooper Fouts Hired as Purdue Baseball Assistant Coach

West Lafayette, Ind. — Purdue baseball head coach Mark Wasikowski has completed his coaching staff for the 2018-19 school year with the hiring of Pepperdine recruiting coordinator and Indiana native Cooper Fouts as an assistant coach. Fouts joins recently hired pitching coach Elliott Cribby, assistant coach Greg Goff and director of operations John Madia to round out Wasikowski’s staff.

Fouts brings 13 seasons of collegiate coaching experience to West Lafayette, highlighted by five seasons over two stints at Wasikowski’s alma mater Pepperdine (2011-12, 2016-18). In his new role, Fouts will lead the recruiting efforts alongside Cribby. In addition, Fouts will coach and develop Boilermaker catchers and assist with the Purdue offense.

Fouts was born in Kokomo, Indiana, living there until his family moved to Indianapolis in 1990. He has three aunts that are Purdue alumnae and a cousin that is a current student. He attended high school in Las Vegas after his family moved west in 1994.

“Cooper has established himself as one of the hardest working assistants in college baseball,” Wasikowski said. “His energy, work ethic and positive attitude are all trademarks of what Cooper brings to the table. In addition to assisting in the development of multiple MLB draft picks, he has also constructed NCAA Regional teams at his previous stops. We are thrilled to bring Cooper, his wife Bri and their three children back home to the state of Indiana to join the Boilermaker Family.”

“My family and I are very grateful for the opportunity Coach Wasikowski has provided me to join the Boilermaker Baseball family,” Fouts said. “Coach Waz has done an amazing job putting Purdue baseball back in the national spotlight, and I am excited to work alongside him and the rest of the staff. When you combine a world class education and playing in the Big Ten, Purdue University is an unbelievable choice for any student-athlete looking to excel. Boiler up!!”

Fouts graduated from Las Vegas’ baseball powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School in 2001. He was selected in the 26th round of the MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics, but opted to enroll at the College of Southern Nevada. After one season, he made the move to the Division I level. He played in over 150 games as a three-year starting catcher for Texas Tech from 2003 to 2005.

Fouts helped Pepperdine win West Coast Conference titles in 2012 and 2018. He worked under current Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez during his first term with the Waves. Wasikowski and Rodriguez were both starting infielders on Pepperdine’s 1992 College World Series championship team.

Current Pepperdine head coach Rick Hirtensteiner brought Fouts back to Malibu in the summer of 2015. Fouts has also served as an assistant coach at Utah Valley (2013-15), College of Southern Nevada (2007-10) and Lubbock Christian University (2006). His final season at CSN featured Bryce Harper winning the Golden Spikes Award and being selected No. 1 overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. The Coyotes won 52 games and finished third at JUCO World Series that season.

In Lubbock, Fouts caught future big leaguer Dallas Braden as well as his brother Nathan during his three seasons as a Red Raider.

In his second stint at Pepperdine, Fouts’ recruits helped the program post an 11-win improvement in 2018. The Waves won the WCC with a 17-10 record after being 8-19 the year prior. Pepperdine’s 2012 team won 36 games and was a finalist at the Palo Alto Regional.

Pepperdine has had multiple players drafted for seven consecutive seasons. All-American utility man Jordan Qsar, who led the WCC with 63 RBI and also recorded seven saves, headlined the Waves’ 2018 draftees.

Fouts also served as a recruiting coordinator at Utah Valley, where he helped the Wolverines win 71 games over three seasons. But more importantly, he helped build a roster that went on to lead UVU to 37 wins and an NCAA Regional berth in 2016 as the Western Athletic Conference Tournament champion.

In Fouts’ final season at College of Southern Nevada, nine pitchers were drafted that June and 14 more student-athletes were signed by NCAA Division I programs. CSN won three conference titles, two Region 18 championships and Western District tournament in 2010 during his four seasons on the coaching staff.

Fouts was part of a pair of NCAA Tournament wins as a junior at Texas Tech. He helped TTU’s 2004 team win 40 games and earn the No. 2 seed at the Atlanta Regional. As the Red Raiders’ starting catcher in all four games of the regional, he helped TTU defeat Mississippi State twice and earned a spot on the All-Regional Team. He was recognized as honorable mention All-Big 12 as a senior after again being among the top defensive backstops and top-throwing catchers in the league.

Fouts earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise sports science from Texas Tech in 2006. He and his wife, Bri, were married in 2010 and have three children – Harper, Emmit and Nash.

Jeff Mercer Named Head Coach of Indiana Baseball

Bloomington, Ind. — Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass announced on July 2 the hiring of Jeff Mercer as the 25th head coach of the Hoosiers baseball program. Mercer, a native of Bargersville, Indiana, is widely regarded as one of the top young baseball coaches in the country. Known for his strength as a recruiter and talent developer as well as his innovative use of advanced analytics, Mercer was named the 2018 Horizon League Coach of the Year with the Wright State Raiders. Mercer has recruited exceptionally within the state of Indiana and Midwest, developed twelve players he recruited into Major League Baseball draft picks since 2015, and led Wright State to 77 wins, including six wins against ranked opponents in just two seasons as head coach.

Mercer will be formally introduced at a press conference later this summer at a time to be determined.

“Predictably, we had very strong interest in this position,” said Glass. “Jeff Mercer quickly rose to the top of an impressive field. I have no doubt that he is the right person to build on the success of Indiana baseball, including taking us back to Omaha.”

Mercer takes over the Big Ten’s premier baseball program. Since 2008, Indiana leads the Big Ten in total wins, conference wins and NCAA tournament appearances. The Hoosiers have appeared in the tournament in five of the last six seasons. No Big Ten program has accomplished that run since Ohio State (1991-95, 97).

“I have loved baseball and the state of Indiana my whole life and it is an honor to be the head baseball coach of the state’s flagship institution,” said Mercer. “With the talent that the Midwest is producing, top notch facilities, the commitment of the school, and our ability to recruit and develop players at the highest level, the sky is the limit for IU baseball. I cannot wait to get to work.”

Mercer was named Wright State head coach in July of 2016 and was the first former Raider player to lead the program. In his two seasons at the helm, WSU posted a 77-38 record (.670; average of 38.5 wins per season), a regular season and conference tournament title along with an appearance in the 2018 Stanford NCAA Regional, and the program’s first ever national ranking in 2017. Mercer’s squads posted a 43-15 record (.741) in conference games over the two seasons.

Mercer brings a winning background to Indiana. In his time as a head coach (2017-18) and an assistant coach (2014-16) at Wright State, he has been a part of three Horizon League regular season and conference tournament titles, three NCAA appearances, and a combined record of 199-92 (.684). The Raiders won four NCAA tournament games over those three appearances, having reached the regional finals twice.

The 2018 Horizon League Champions, Wright State closed the season winning eight of its last 10 games and 15 of its last 19. The Raiders took home the league title with three-straight wins and outscored opponents 32-11 in the tournament. Mercer’s squad, which posted a 39-17 overall record and a 22-6 league mark, was one of the top offensive clubs nationally in 2018, as it ranked eighth in the country in scoring (7.8 runs per game) and stolen bases (110) and was 21st in on-base percentage (.394), while hitting .294 as a team. The Raiders’ .979 fielding percentage was 10th nationally.

Wright State was led by Horizon League Player of the Year Gabe Snyder, who paced the conference in home runs (15) and RBI (73), and was second in batting average (.359), missing the league’s Triple Crown by one batting average point. Snyder was one of 11 total Raiders who earned league honors, including five first team honorees (Snyder, Matt Morrow, Chase Slone, Peyton Burdkick and Ryan Weiss), four second teamers (Seth Gray, JD Orr, Zane Harris and Derek Hendrixson) and two named to the freshman team (Harris and Quincy Hamilton).

Wright State saw three players drafted in the 2018 MLB Draft, all of whom were drafted within the first 21 rounds. Weiss, a starting pitcher, was selected in the fourth round by the Arizona Diamondbacks (129th overall), as he posted a 9-2 record with one save and 92 strikeouts over 98 innings. Fellow starter Caleb Sampen was picked in the 20th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Snyder went in the 21st round to the Minnesota Twins. Second baseman Matt Morrow additionally signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In his two years as a head coach, Mercer made a name for himself as a recruiter. Wright State compiled its first ever top 100 ranked recruiting class (2018) in program history (87th nationally).

WSU received its first-ever top 25 ranking in 2017, finishing the year at 38-21 and 21-9 in league action. Mercer’s aggressiveness in the run game resulted in Wright State ranking second in the nation with 130 stolen bases.

Weiss was selected as the 2017 Horizon League Freshman of the Year and a first team all-conference selection along with Morrow. Pitcher Danny Sexton was named a second team All-League honoree along with Hendrixson and Gray. Both Weiss and Gray were selected to the All-Freshman Team while Weiss was later named a Freshman All-American and second team ABCA All-Midwest selection. Sexton signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Padres.

Mercer, who was a two-time All-Horizon League honoree in 2008 and 2009, returned to the Raiders as an assistant coach in September 2013. WSU set a school record for wins with 43 in 2015 and broke it again a year later with 46 wins.

He assisted then head coach Greg Lovelady, who is now the head coach at UCF. As an assistant on Lovelady’s staff, Mercer coached six players that were taken in the MLB Draft, including five in 2016. During Mercer’s three years as an assistant, the Raiders had 30 Horizon League honorees, two Horizon League regular season and tournament titles and two NCAA appearances.

Working with all aspects of the program, Mercer was the recruiting coordinator responsible for bringing in the majority of the talent. One of Mercer’s primary responsibilities was his role as the hitting coach. During the 2016 season, WSU’s 47 home runs were the most in a season since 2009. He also worked with the infield and outfield, and coached third base.

Mercer came back to WSU after serving two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at Western Kentucky University (2012-13). While with the Hilltoppers, he primarily worked with pitchers and outfielders, but was also instrumental in the development and organization of baseball camps and handled other day-to-day operations.

Prior to WKU, Mercer was a volunteer assistant during the 2011 season at the University of Michigan. During his time there, he worked with the catchers and outfielders.

Before his arrival in Ann Arbor, Mercer spent the 2010 season as the graduate assistant coach at Ohio Northern University where he was in charge of the infielders and hitters and was the recruiting coordinator.

Mercer played two seasons at Dayton before transferring to Wright State, where he was a two-time first team All-Horizon League honoree as a first baseman. He was named to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper All-American third team in 2009 after hitting .357 with 26 doubles and 74 RBI. He was also named the Horizon League Player of the Year in 2009 and was named to the league’s All-Tournament team after he tied the WSU single-season records for RBI, doubles, games played and games started. In 2009, the Raiders played in the Fort Worth NCAA Regional.

Mercer earned a degree in organizational leadership from Wright State in 2009. He and his wife, Stephanie, had their first child, Grady, born on June 20, 2018. Mercer’s father (Jeff Sr.) served as an IU baseball assistant coach from 1988 to 1989 and helped found the noted Indiana Bulls baseball organization.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT JEFF MERCER

“I have great respect for Jeff and his family whom I’ve known for 20 years. I can’t be more excited for Indiana baseball. There is now no better spot for player development than Bloomington, Indiana. I hope the boys are ready to work.” – Former MLB 8-Time Gold Glove Winner and 7-Time All-Star Scott Rolen

“After talking with Coach Mercer, you immediately know what he stands for, and that is winning. He is going to come to our program and develop us into winners on and off the field.” – Current IU Catcher Ryan Fineman

“After speaking with Coach Mercer, it became very obvious that our program will be in great hands. His confidence, experience, competitive mentality, and strong urge to win proved to me that we will be successful next year. I’m excited not only for this upcoming season, but for the future of Indiana University baseball as I believe Coach Mercer is here to stay and take this baseball program to the next level.” – Current IU Starting Pitcher Pauly Milto

“He’s an Indiana guy through and through. He is detail oriented and a standup guy. He is going to give the program, the University and the State of Indiana everything he has. He has the ability to bring this program back to the Omaha level.” – Chris Webb, 10Innings.com

Elliott Cribby Named Purdue Baseball’s Pitching Coach

West Lafayette, Ind. — Purdue head coach Mark Wasikowski has announced the hiring of Seattle University associate head coach Elliott Cribby as the Boilermakers’ pitching coach.

Cribby helped lead Seattle to 30-plus wins in 2015, 2016 and 2018. The Redhawks won a program-record 37 games and the Western Athletic Conference title in 2016. Three of the four SU players drafted this year were pitchers, headlined by lefty Tarik Skubal being selected in the ninth round. Another incoming signee that Cribby recruited was drafted in the 11th round. Cribby also coached Nick Meservey to WAC Pitcher of the Year honors in 2016.

“We are so excited to have Elliott and his wife Shannon joining the Boilermaker Family,” Wasikowski said. “Elliott is one of the most respected pitching coaches in the country and our student-athletes will benefit greatly from his expertise. Coach Cribby is known as one of the nation’s top recruiters and has been in high demand for several years from top-25 programs. We are fortunate to have the Cribby Family joining us here at Purdue.”

Cribby also pitched collegiately in Seattle at the University of Washington. He has been the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Seattle University since 2014. Previously, he was the pitching coach at Abilene Christian (2013) and the head coach at Mount Si High School (2011-12) in Snoqualmie, Washington.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity Coach Wasikowski has provided me to join the Boilermaker Baseball family,” Cribby said. “Mark has annually shown the country that he is very good at what he does and I am excited to join forces. Combined with a world-class education and tremendous athletic support, Purdue University is an exciting place to be for the very best student-athletes to grow and develop. Boiler up!”

Cribby replaces Steve Holm, who was hired as the head coach at Illinois State on June 22. Holm was also a successful pitching coach in the WAC at Sacramento State before joining Wasikowski’s first coaching staff at Purdue in the summer of 2016.

Cribby served as the pitching coach of the BRAVE team in USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars in both 2015 and 2016. The 2015 squad won gold at the event. He led Mount Si to a state title in 2011.

Voted the best recruiter in the WAC by his fellow coaches in a D1Baseball.com poll, Cribby helped build a Seattle roster that featured multiple MLB draft picks in 2015, 2017 and 2018. The Redhawks had 18 players or recruits drafted total in his five years. His recruits earned Freshman All-America honors for three straight seasons from 2015 to 2017. Among those honorees, pitchers Zach Wolf and Skubal both went on to be drafted. Wolf recorded a pair of 10-save seasons and Skubal eclipsed the program’s all-time strikeouts record while fanning 106 in 80 innings as a senior.

Seattle’s pitching staff led the WAC in strikeouts for three straight seasons from 2014 to 2016. The 2016 team was tops in the conference in almost every pitching statistic and among the top 20 nationally with a 2.72 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That season’s staff recorded 448 strikeouts vs. 165 walks while surrendering only 18 home runs in 501 2/3 innings.

Cribby made at least 20 appearances in each of his three seasons at the University of Washington. As a teammate of Tim Lincecum in 2006, he recorded seven wins and 10 saves while pitching in 29 of the 61 games. He was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 that season and selected to the Rogers Clemens Award watch list going into the 2007 campaign. He made 70 career appearances for UW, recording 13 saves and a 2.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 151 1/3 innings. He was seventh in program history in saves and appearances entering the Huskies’ 2018 campaign.

Cribby earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Washington. He was selected as UW’s Sociology Student of the Year as a senior in 2008 and was also named to the Pac-10’s All-Academic Team. He earned his master’s in intercollegiate athletic leadership in 2009.

Cribby and his wife Shannon were married in December 2012.

Fitzpatrick & Liu Added to Rutgers’ Recruiting Class

Piscataway, N.J. –Both Brian Fitzpatrick and Tom Liu have signed to compete for Rutgers baseball, head coach Joe Litterio announced. The duo will join the Scarlet Knights this fall and make it 12 signings in the latest recruiting class.

NOVEMBER SIGNINGS | MAY SIGNINGS

Brian Fitzpatrick

LHP | 6-6 | 220 | L/S

Port Jefferson, N.Y./St. Anthony’s High School

Notes: A two-year varsity letterwinner at St. Anthony’s High School … from Long Island … played travel baseball for the Long Island Titans … son of Mary and John Fitzpatrick … father played basketball at the University of Buffalo … has four older sisters who competed in Division I athletics: Katelyn (volleyball at Cornell University), Julie (rowed crew at Cornell University), Megan (rowed crew at Indiana University) and Kelly (volleyball at University of Buffalo) … intends to major in business economics.

Tom Liu

RHP | 6-0 | 165 | R/R

San Dimas, Calif./San Dimas

Notes: Competed four years at San Dimas High School … school is in the San Gabriel Valley just outside of Los Angeles … named Scholar Athlete for holding a GPA over 3.0 … played travel baseball for the Socal Bombers from 2015-18 … also participated with SGV Arsenal from 2014-16 … son of Kelly Li and Russell Love … born in China … set to become first person in family to take part in collegiate athletics.

Spartan Baseball Adds One For 2019 Season

East Lansing, Mich. — Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr., announced that utility player Andrew Morrow will be joining the Spartans in the fall of 2018. Morrow is a utility player from Omaha, Nebraska (Creighton Preparatory School/Fort Scott CC).

“We are excited to add Andrew to the Spartan Baseball family,” Boss said. “He is an extremely athletic player who is dynamic offensively with power potential. He had a great year at Fort Scott Community College for head coach John Hill, and we will look for him to continue that trend in a very competitive Big Ten Conference. Most importantly, Andrew is a high-character young man from a great family, and he will represent Michigan State University in the most positive manner.”

Morrow becomes the 13th member of the Spartans’ incoming class, joining Will Christophersen (Bettendorf, Iowa | Pleasant Valley High School), Indigo Diaz (North Vancouver, Canada | Handsworth Secondary School | Iowa Western Community College), Jacob Erickson (Allen Park, Mich. | Allen Park High School), Brian Martin (Westland, Mich. | John Glenn High School), Casey Mayes (Wichita, Kan. | Andover High School), Jarret Olson (La Salle, Ill. | Galesburg High School | Parkland Junior College), Colten Panaranto (Martinsville, Ind. | Roncalli High School), Jacob Seipenko (Canton, Mich. | Salem High School), Gabe Sotres (Allen Park, Mich. | Brother Rice High School), Reese Trahey (West Bloomfield, Mich. | Brother Rice High School), Zaid Walker (Homewood, Ill. | Homewood-Flossmoor High School) and Brandon Williamson (Welcome, Minn. | Martin County West High School | North Iowa Area Community College).

Andrew Morrow | Omaha, Nebraska | Creighton Preparatory School | Fort Scott CC | 6-2, 200 | R/R | UTIL

Earned first-team NJCAA Region VI All-Region honors at Fort Scott CC under head coach John Hill … Named KJCCC East Division Co-MVP and first-team All-KJCCC after helping the Greyhounds to a 41-15 record, falling in the opening round of the Region VI Playoffs … Was named Fort Scott Athletics’ Co-Male Athlete of the Year and helped the FSCC baseball team win the Greyhound Cup as the team of the year … Batted .424 with 73 RBI, 13 doubles, two triples and 17 HR, along with scoring 71 runs … Posted an .808 slugging percentage and a .513 on-base percentage … As a freshman, earned 2017 KJCCC Honorable Mention (Eastern Division) honors, after batting .338 with 44 RBI, adding 14 doubles, two triples and nine HR, logging a .619 slugging percentage and a .423 on-base percentage … Was a member of the Fort Scott Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and a two-time Deans Honor Roll member … While at Creighton Preparatory School, earned 2016 All-Nebraska Honorable Mention accolades from the Omaha World-Herald, along with 2015 All-Nebraska Honorable Mention by the Lincoln Journal Star in helping the Junior Jays win back-to-back state titles …. Selected to play in the 2016 Collin-Orcutt All Star Game, featuring Omaha Metro high school seniors … Also played on USA Baseball NTIS (National Team Identification Series) Team Nebraska from 2011-2014 … Was a Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American (Central Region HM) … Also earned Rawlings-Perfect Game All-Region honors … Ranked No. 8 in the state of Nebraska by Rawlings-Perfect Game … Played summer league for Five Points Bank … Also lettered in football … Son of Daniel and Kelly Marrow … His father played baseball at Barton County Community College, while his mother played volleyball at Hastings College … Intends on majoring in kinesiology at MSU … Chose Michigan State because of their support for student-athletes to become better individuals on and off the field … Picked the Spartans over Ball State, Eastern Illinois, Longwood and North Alabama.

MSU Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Graham Sikes on Morrow: “Andrew is a great get for us. He has worked extremely hard to get where he is. The exciting part for me is that he has had a lot of success this year and is still hungry to get better. Andrew is a hard worker and his coaches at Fort Scott, John Hill and Jared Walters, raved about his work ethic. This spring he put up huge numbers and shared the conference player of the year award after hitting .424 with 17 home runs, 73 RBI and 71 runs scored. He’s a versatile player that can play first base or outfield, and he has even done some catching. Andrew has shown the tools to be a dynamic player, and I look forward to getting him on campus and working with him this fall.”

Penn State Baseball Student-Athletes Begin Summer Action

University Park, Penn. –A total of 14 Penn State baseball student-athletes are continuing to take the diamond through the summer, playing in eight different collegiate summer leagues on 11 different teams.

Half of the Nittany Lions are concentrated in two leagues, with four rising sophomores playing in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League and three playing in the prestigious Northwoods League. Heading to the Midwest in the Northwoods League are outfielder Jordan Bowersox (Winter Springs, Fla.) and right-handed pitcher Kyle Virbitsky (Media, Pa.) with the Kalamazoo Growlers in Michigan, and right-handed pitcher Eric Mock (Shillington, Pa.) will join the La Crosse Loggers in Wisconsin. Heading to the mid-Atlantic are infielder Tommy Gibson (Williamstown, N.J.) and right-handed pitcher Conor Larkin (Royersford, Pa.) with the Rockville Express in Maryland, left-handed pitcher Jeff Taylor with the Baltimore Redbirds and infielder Kris Kremer (Hershey, Pa.) with the Alexandria Aces in Virginia.

All-Big Ten Freshman pick Parker Hendershot (Tioga, N.Y.) and classmate Derek Orndorff (Mill Run, Pa.) both joined the Oneonta Outlaws of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League New York’s Mohawk Valley. Classmate Curtis Robison (Dillsburg, Pa.) is also playing in the Empire State, joining the West Hampton Aviators in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League.

Two Nittany Lions are playing in Ohio, as outfielder Mason Nadeau (Lansdale, Pa.) joined the Southern Ohio Copperheads in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League and infielder Connor Klemann (Royersford, Pa.) joined the Chillicothe Paints of the Prospect League.

Two Lions are also headed to North Carolina. Charlotte-native Bailey Dees joined the Holly Springs Salamanders in the Coastal Plains League, while Logan Goodnight (Wheeling, W.Va.) will play in Charlotte with the Carolina Vipers of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League.

Check back to GoPSUSports.com for continued updates on Penn State Baseball. Follow on Twitter at @PennStateBASE and Facebook at Penn State Baseball.

 

League

Team

Kris Kremer

Cal Ripken

Alexandria Aces

Tommy Gibson

Cal Ripken

Rockville Express

Jeff Taylor

Cal Ripken

Baltimore Redbirds

Connor Larkin

Cal Ripken

Rockville Express

Bailey Dees

Coastal Plain

Holly Springs Salamanders

Mason Nadeau

Great Lakes

Southern Ohio Copperheads

Curtis Robison

Hamptons

Westhampton Aviators

Jordan Bowersox

Northwoods

Kalamazoo Growlers

Kyle Virbitsky

Northwoods

Kalamazoo Growlers

Erick Mock

Northwoods

La Crosse Loggers

Derek Orndorff

Perfect Game

Oneonta Outlaws

Parker Hendershot

Perfect Game

Oneonta Outlaws

Connor Klemann

Prospect League

Chillicothe Paints

Logan Goodnight

Southern Collegiate

Carolina Vipers

Hawkeyes Spread Coast-to-Coast for Summer Ball 2018

Iowa City, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team has placed 20 student-athletes from coast-to-coast for various summer leagues.

Three Hawkeyes are venturing to the east coast for the prestigious Cape Cod League. Sophomore Ben Norman and freshman Jack Dreyer will be teammates for the Harwich Mariners, while freshman Ben Probst will compete for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. It is the second straight summer Iowa has been represented in the Cape Cod League.

Six players will play in the Northwoods League for two teams. Sophomores Grant Judkins and Derek Lieurance along with freshman Cam Baumann will pitch for the LaCrosse Loggers, while juniors Mitchell Boe and Shane Ritter and freshman Brett McCleary will play for the Fond Du Lac Dock Spiders.

Five Hawkeyes will compete in the Prospects League on three different teams. Sophomores Justin Jenkins, Lorenzo Elion, and junior Chris Whelan will play for the Terre Haute Rex. Freshman Matt Berst will catch for the Kokomo Jackrabbits and sophomore Kyle Crowl will play for the Quincy Gems.

Redshirt freshman Kace Massner and freshman Zion Pettigrew will play in the California Collegiate League for the Neptune Beach Pearl. Junior Tanner Wetrich, meanwhile, will play in the Coastal Plains League for the Macon Bacon.

Junior Luke Farley and freshman Connor McCaffery will play locally in the Iowa Valley League for the Watkins Mudhens and Red Top Toppers, respectively. Sophomore Grant Leonard will pitch for the Lombard Orioles in the Chicago Suburban Baseball League.

Cape Cod League
Jack Dreyer – Harwich Mariners
Ben Norman – Harwich Mariners
Ben Probst – Hyannis Harbor Hawks

Northwoods League
Cam Baumann – LaCrosse Loggers
Mitchell Boe – Fond Du Lac Dock Spiders
Grant Judkins – LaCrosse Loggers
Derek Lieurance – LaCrosse Loggers
Brett McCleary – Fond Du Lac Dock Spiders
Shane Ritter – Fond Du Lac Dock Spiders

Prospects League
Matt Berst – Kokomo Jackrabbits
Kyle Crowl – Quincy Gems
Lorenzo Elion – Terre Haute Rex
Justin Jenkins – Terre Haute Rex
Chris Whelan – Terre Haute Rex

California Collegiate League
Kace Massner – Neptune Beach Pearl
Zion Pettigrew – Neptune Beach Pearl

Coastal Plains League
Tanner Wetrich – Macon Bacon

Chicago Suburban Baseball League
Grant Leonard – Lombard Orioles

Iowa Valley League
Luke Farley – Watkins Mudhens
Connor McCaffery – Red Top Toppers

Michigan State Baseball Presents 2018 Team Awards

East Lansing, Mich. — Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr. announced the winners of the 2018 team awards on Thursday, May 31.

All of the awards were voted on by the players with the exception of the Offensive Player of the Year award, which is based on various statistical data over the course of the season.

Senior designated hitter Chad Roskelly was voted as the recipient of the John Kobs Most Valuable Player Award. Sophomore pitcher Mitchell Tyranski received the Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher Award. Sophomore outfielder Danny Gleaves was voted to receive the Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year, while also earning the Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of the Year Award. Fellow sophomore, infielder/outfielder Justin Antoncic, was voted as the Steve Garvey Most Improved Player Award recipient. Senior infielder Kory Young received the Jerry Sutton Student Athlete Award. Senior pitcher Keegan Baar was the recipient of the Craig Hendricks Spartan Spirit Award, recognizing the most positive team player who is enthusiastic, trustworthy, conscientious, hard-working and good humored.

Roskelly, a native of Macomb, Michigan, tied for the team lead with 27 RBI this season and ranked second on the team in both home runs with five and slugging percentage at .413. Roskelly hit nearly .300 over the last half of the season, raising his average from .080 entering MSU’s game on March 21, to its final level of .267, dipping down from .300 entering the series vs. Maryland on April 27-29. Roskelly shared ownership of MSU’s longest hitting streak of the season at 15 games, as well as the Spartans’ longest reached base streak of the season at 19 games. He was also tied for third on the team with 62 total bases, adding five doubles and one triple to the five home runs. Roskelly tallied nine games with multiple hits and six games with multi RBI.

Tyranski, a Birmingham, Michigan, native, led the Spartan pitching staff with a 2.42 ERA and 27 appearances, allowing just 12 earned runs, including posting 15 appearances on the season of not allowing a run. The Spartan lefty notched five saves and rang up 54 strikeouts in 44.2 IP. Tyranski earned his first collegiate victory in MSU’s 5-2 win at Pepperdine on Feb. 24, going 4.1 IP, grounding the Waves’ bats allowing just one hit, while striking out five and walking just one. He picked up his first career save in a 4-2 victory for MSU over Illinois on March 10, going 1.1 IP with just one hit and one strikeout. Tyranski ranks tied for fifth in the Big Ten with the 27 appearances, as well as tied for seventh with five saves. He also ranked eighth in the B1G in conference-only action with 13 batters struck out looking.

Gleaves, a native of Homer Glen, Illinois, got off to a slow start while recovering from an injury, but had a blistering finish and ended up leading the Spartan active players with a .272 average. He was also second on the team and third in the Big Ten with 25 stolen bases, moving up to No. 5 on MSU’s single-season stolen base list. Gleaves hit over .350 over the final half of the season, including .385 in Big Ten action, with a .461 slugging percentage, and swiping 11 bases in league games, which tied for second among the conference leaders. Gleaves was 4-for-4, including two doubles, and three stolen bases in the nightcap at Penn State on May 5, becoming the only Spartan to go 4-for-4 in a game this season and just one of two MSU players to have four hits in a game. He had a seven-game hitting streak this season and also ended the year with a 10-game reached base streak.

Defensively, Gleaves patrolled center field for the Spartans, making 31 starts. Gleaves posted 93 put outs and had two assists, using his speed to run down potential extra base hits and make them outs.

A native of Westerville, Ohio, Antoncic led the Spartans in average for part of the season, ending at .269, while topping the team with a .360 on-base percentage. He ranked second on the team with seven doubles, adding two triples and one home run, as well as fourth on the team with 18 RBI. Antoncic was third on the team and 15th in the B1G with 14 stolen bases. Antoncic also owns a share MSU’s longest active reached base streak, as his streak of 19 games tied Roskelly for longest on the team. Antoncic also had a 12-game reached base streak earlier in the season. He had a season-long six-game hitting streak. Antoncic had 11 games with multiple hits and four games with multi RBI. Antonic was named to the Dairy Queen Classic B1G/Pac-12 Challenge All-Tournament Team in March. Antoncic hit .462 for the weekend, including his first home run of his Spartan career off No. 11 UCLA, adding two doubles.

Young, a native of Rockford, Michigan, was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, graduating in May with a degree in finance. He was also the recipient of MSU’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

On the field, Young recovered from a preseason injury and returned to the lineup, playing in 28 games, making 17 starts. He led MSU with seven sacrifices, topping the team with six sac bunts, while adding one sac fly.

Young had a memorable Senior Day on May 19, smacking not only his first triple of the season but of his career and it came in his final at bat at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field in the Spartans’ B1G Tournament clinching win vs. Ohio State. He finished his Senior Day going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, his second multi-hit outing this season. Young ended the day with a career-high four total bases, as well as tying a career-best with two runs scored.

Baar, a Jenison, Michigan native, made five appearances on the mound, but led the Spartans’ spirit in the dugout all season. During the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, Baar was bearer of the team’s Spartan BatSpear, a handmade tool made by Antoncic’s father, and Baar used it to direct the team’s celebrations and cheers.

John Kobs Most Valuable Player: Chad Roskelly

Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher: Mitchell Tyranski

Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of the Year: Danny Gleaves

Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year: Danny Gleaves

Steve Garvey Most Improved Player: Justin Antoncic

Jerry Sutton Student Athlete Award: Kory Young

Craig Hendricks Spartan Spirit Award: Keegan Baar

All awards voted on by the players with the exception of the Offensive Player of the Year award, which is based on various statistical data over the course of the season.

Illinois’ Spillane Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Year

Champagin, Ill. — Illinois junior Bren Spillane was named the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Year, the publication announced Thursday. Spillane was the 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year and the national leader in slugging percentage (.903), OPS (1.401), home runs per game (0.46) and weighted on-base average (.569).

Spillane is the first Illini baseball player to earn a national player of the year award and the first Big Ten player to earn Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year in its 35-year history. Recent winners include Andrew Benintendi (Arkansas, 2015), Kris Bryant (San Diego, 2013), Trevor Bauer (UCLA, 2011), Chris Sale (Florida Gulf Coast, 2010), Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State, 2009), Buster Posey (Florida State, 2008) and David Price (Vanderbilt, 2007).

Spillane is the 15th student-athlete in Illinois athletics history to earn a national player of the year award. He joins a list of 10 Illinois Athletics Hall of Famers, including Chuck Carney, Red Grange, Andy Phillip, Dick Butkus, Jim Grabowski, Mary Eggers, Renee Heiken Slone, Tonya Williams, Perdita Felicien and Dee Brown.

Spillane showed a rare combo of power and speed as the only player in the nation to hit 20+ home runs and steal 15+ bases. He became the first player in Illinois history to reach 15 homers and 15 steals in the same season, while also leading the Big Ten in batting average (.389), slugging percentage (.903), on-base percentage (.498), OPS (1.401), home runs (23), RBIs (60) and total bases (158).

The Wheeling, Illinois, native had an incredible .903 slugging percentage, the best mark in the nation since 2009 when Bryce Brentz slugged .930 for Middle Tennessee State. Spillane is the first player in the BBCOR era to slug over .900 and the first Power 5 player to lead the nation at over .900 since Pat Burrell slugged .948 for Miami (Fla.) in 1996.

The .903 slugging percentage is the second-best in the history of the Big Ten Conference behind Illinois Athletics Hall of Famer Darrin Fletcher’s .913 in 1987. It vaulted Spillane’s career slugging percentage to .723, an Illinois record and the top active slugging percentage in the NCAA of players with two or more years of experience.

Spillane put his name all over the Illinois record book in 2018. His single-season Illinois ranks include second in slugging (.903), second in home runs (23), second in Big Ten home runs (10), tied for fourth in total bases (158), tied for fourth in Big Ten total bases (67) and fifth in on-base percentage (.498).

Spillane was also named to the Collegiate Baseball All-America first team as part of the announcement.

Spillane Stats and Notes
• Leads the nation in slugging percentage (.903)
• Leads the nation in OPS (1.401)
• Leads the nation in home runs per game (0.46)
• Leads the nation in weighted on-base average (.569)
• Ranks second in the nation in home runs (23), fifth in total bases (158), ninth in on-base percentage (.498), 14th in RBIs per game (1.20) and 18th in batting average (.389)
• Only player in the nation with 20+ homers and 15+ stolen bases
• Only Division I player in history to slug over .900 in the BBCOR era
• First player in Division I to slug over .900 for a season since 2009 (Bryce Brentz, Middle Tennessee State, .930)
• First Power 5 player to lead the nation in slugging at over .900 since Pat Burrell (.948) for Miami (Fla.) in 1996
• No. 2 in Big Ten history in slugging percentage for a season (Darrin Fletcher, Illinois, 1987, .913)
• No. 1 in the nation in career slugging percentage among active players with two or more seasons (.723)
• No. 1 in Illinois history in career slugging percentage (.723)
• 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year
• 2018 Big Ten regular season triple crown (.407, 22 HR, 57 RBIs)
• 2018 Unanimous First Team All-Big Ten
• First player in Big Ten history to win three straight Big Ten Player of the Week awards (3/19-4/2/18)
• First player in Illinois history to win national player of the week honors twice
• Led the Big Ten in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, OPS, home runs, RBIs and total bases
• Illinois single-season ranks include second in slugging (.903), second in home runs (23), second in Big Ten home runs (10), tied for fourth in total bases (158), tied for fourth in Big Ten total bases (67) and fifth in on-base percentage (.498)

Illinois All-Time National Players of the Year
2018 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year: Bren Spillane
2012 USTFCCCA Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year: Andrew Riley
2011 Soccer News Net Women’s Player of the Year: Vanessa DiBernardo
2009 USTFCCCA Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year: Angela Bizzarri
2005 Sporting News Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year: Dee Brown
2003 USTFCCCA Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Perdita Felicien
2001 USTFCCCA Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Perdita Felicien
1996 Track & Field Collegiate News Athlete of the Year: Tonya Williams
1993 NGCA and Golf Week National Player of the Year: Renee Heiken Slone
1988 Honda Award and Broderick Volleyball Player of the Year: Mary Eggers
1965 Sporting News Football Player of the Year: Jim Grabowski
1964 American Football Coaches Association and Sporting News National Player of the Year: Dick Butkus
1943 Sporting News Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year: Andy Phillip
1924 Frank A. Toomey Trophy (pre-Heisman Trophy): Red Grange
1922 Helms Foundation Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year: Chuck Carney
1917 Helms Foundation Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year: Ray Woods

Minnesota’s Vavra Named Finalist for Brooks Wallace Award

Lubbock, Texas — The College Baseball Foundation announced Wednesday that Gopher Baseball junior Terrin Vavra stands among its five finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award for the nation’s top collegiate shortstop.

Vavra currently ranks 21st in the nation in batting average among all players at .385 while standing in the top 150 with 50 runs scored, top 100 with 77 hits, and top 75 with 55 RBIs, a .458 on-base percentage, and a .620 slugging percentage. With one strikeout every 11.8 plate appearances, he is the 40th toughest player to strike out in the nation.

Vavra slugged his team-leading 10th home run in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game, while also hitting 11 doubles and three triples this season. He has drawn 29 walks compared to just 17 strikeouts and stolen eight bases in nine attempts. The Menomonie, Wisconsin native has also provided slick defense for the Maroon & Gold, with just eight errors in 213 chances (.962 fielding percentage).

North Carolina’s Logan Warmoth is the reigning award winner. The award, named in honor of former Texas Tech shortstop and assistant coach Brooks Wallace who died of cancer in 1985 at age 27, was presented to the nation’s most outstanding player through the 2008 season but changed to honor shortstops in 2009.