SIOUX FALLS – Six South Dakota State players, including four first-team all-league selections, were honored during the Summit League Baseball Championship pre-tournament banquet Wednesday night.
Junior pitchers Adam Bray and J.D. Moore were selected by the league’s coaches to the all-Summit League First Team after receiving second-team honors a season ago. Bray, a right-hander from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has compiled a 5-6 record with a 2.64 earned run average. He has held opponents to one earned run or less in eight of his 14 starts, and has posted a league-best 87 strikeouts in 95.1 innings pitched.a
Moore has been the top reliever in The Summit League this season, not allowing a run – earned or unearned – in eight league appearances covering 14 innings. Overall, the Mississauga, Ontario, native has compiled a 4-3 record with eight saves and a 3.25 ERA in 22 appearances. He has struck out 25 batters in 27 2/3 innings and has limited the opposition to a .215 batting average.
Senior position players Aaron Machbitz and Scott Splett also were honored on the first team. A first baseman from Dallas, Texas, Machbitz leads the Jackrabbits in all three triple crown categories with a .312 batting average, seven home runs and 33 runs batted in. He also leads the squad with 64 hits, 38 runs scored, 13 doubles and a .478 slugging percentage.
Splett, an outfielder from Apple Valley, Minnesota, has hit an even .300 with three home runs and 25 runs batted in. He has reached base safely in 52 of 54 games this season, leading the team with a .401 on-base percentage, while adding 10 doubles and seven stolen bases.
Representing the Jackrabbits on the second team was junior pitcher Chad Hodges. A four-time Summit League Pitcher of the Week honoree, Hodges leads the team in wins with a 7-5 record, posting a 2.96 ERA. A native of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Hodges has held opposing batters to a .243 batting average, striking out 43 in 73 innings.
Rounding out the Jackrabbit award winners was third baseman/designated hitter Matt Johnson, who was named Summit League Newcomer of the Year. A freshman from Ankeny, Iowa, Johnson came on strong during the second half of the season, batting .314 in league play and .283 overall. For the season, Johnson also has driven in 23 runs with a home run and nine doubles.
Other major award winners announced Wednesday included North Dakota State outfielder Tim Colwell as Summit League Player of the Year and Omaha right-hander Tyler Fox as Summit League Pitcher of the Year. Bob Herold, who led Omaha to its second consecutive Summit League regular season title, was honored as Summit League Coach of the Year.
The Summit League Baseball Championship, presented by First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, begins Thursday at Sioux Falls Stadium. Third-seeded Fort Wayne meets second-seeded Western Illinois at 2 p.m., followed by top-seeded South Dakota State against No. 4 seed North Dakota State at 7 p.m. The double-elimination tournament runs through Saturday.
Courtesy: SDSU Jason Hove