MAC Announces 2012 Baseball Regular Season Awards

Updated 5/22/2012
All Bets Are Off LIVE at the 2012 MAC Baseball Tournament (Photos)

MAC Awards Ceremony (Photos)

AVON, Ohio –
Kent State junior George Roberts, the 2012 MAC Player of Year, highlights the 30-player all-conference squad that was announced today by the league office in conjunction with the MAC Tournament (May 23-26). Kent State teammate, David Starn, was named MAC Pitcher of the Year alongside skipper Scott Stricklin who was chosen as Coach of the Year. In addition, Miami outfielder Matt Honchel was named the MAC's Freshman of the Year. The league's 12 head coaches conducted the voting for the first and second All-MAC teams.

Starn becomes the second straight Kent State arm to earn MAC Pitcher of the Year recognition, 10th in program history and fourth under the tutelage of 15th-year associate head coach/pitching coach Mike Birkbeck. He finished the 2012 regular season as the conference’s top pitcher with a league-best 1.99 ERA and 105 strikeouts to go along with an 8-3 record on the hill. In conference action, Starn was 5-1 with a 2.21 ERA and 74 strikeouts against just 18 walks. Starn garnered the MAC’s final East Division Pitcher of the Week honors after dominating on the mound last Thursday (May 17) in a 6-1 win over Akron in the Sixth Annual Diamond Classic For Kids at Canal Park to improve to 26-9 for his career, which ties him with Pat Bangston (1984-87) for the most pitching wins in program history. He fanned nine over six innings while giving up just one earned run on three hits and two walks. Kent State's career strikeouts leader, Starn improved his career strikeout total to 325. Starn became Kent State's new career strikeouts king on April 6 in the weekend series opener against Buffalo as the Flashes earned a thrilling 5-4 walk-off victory. Starn finished the contest with a career-high 12 strikeouts – including fanning nine of the first 16 batters he faced – to surpass the 274 career strikeouts mark set by Dirk Hayhurst (200-03) to move into first place in the school's record book. He struck out five over seven innings to up his career total to 300 as Kent State rolled to a 16-5 win over interdivision foe Western Michigan on April 27. Starn also earned the MAC's first East Division Pitcher of the Week honors of the 2012 season on Feb. 21 after the 2012 Louisville Slugger Third Team Pre-Season All-America selection twirled eight shutout innings and tallied nine strikeouts while scattering just four hits and walking only two on 104 pitches as Kent State rode his arm to blank No. 9 Georgia Tech, 5-0, to lift the lid off of the 2012 season in grand fashion in the opening game of the Rock Hill Coca-Cola Classic on Feb. 17.

Roberts became the first Flash to garner Player of the Year honors since first baseman Greg Rohan in 2008 after leading the league in RBIs with 50 and ranking fifth in batting average (.363). In MAC play, Roberts hit .393 with a league-high 31 RBIs. He bashed six home runs (tied for second on the team) and added 15 doubles (fourth on the team) to rank third on the squad with 74 hits. Roberts hit cleanup in a Kent State offense that was tops in the nation in doubles and ranked fifth in hits, 14th in runs and 17th in batting average. He finished the 2012 regular season with a team-high 26 multi-hit games – including 15 games with two hits, 10 games with three hits and one game with four hits. Roberts, who started 51 of the 52 games he played in, also continued to prove he is the top defensive first baseman in the MAC, recording a team-high 414 putouts while committing just seven errors in a team-high 458 chances.

Stricklin earned Coach of the Year laurels for the second year in a row and third time in his career. He was also named the conference's skipper of the year following his second season at the helm of the Golden Flashes in 2006. His selection marks the seventh time a Kent State head coach has earned the conference's top honor. Stricklin guided Kent State to its second straight MAC regular season championship as the Golden Flashes (37-17, 24-3 MAC) matched Kent State's 1992 championship team for the most MAC victories in a single season. The No. 1-seeded Flashes enter the 2012 MAC Tournament having won 13 games in a row and 28 of their last 35 games – including 17 of their last 19. Kent State won eight of its nine MAC series in 2012 and swept seven of them. Stricklin earned his 300th career coaching victory in a 10-4 triumph over MAC East Division rival Miami on May 13. With 304 coaching wins, Stricklin, who has led Kent State four MAC regular season titles, four conference tournament titles and four NCAA berths, becomes the second skipper in school history to reach the 300-win milestone, joining Rick Rembielak (373 wins; 1994-2004). The 2011 American Baseball Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year lettered three seasons as a catcher at Kent State, earning All-MAC honors in 1992 and '93. He graduated magna cum laude from Kent State in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in marketing.

Miami's Matt Honchel took the honors of MAC Freshman of the Year after getting off to a slow start to the 2012 campaign.  After a 1-for-16 slide in mid-April, the Harrodsburg, Kentucky native ignited the RedHawks' bats with hits in 14 of the next 15 games. During that stretch, Honchel had a 12-game hit streak and had multi-hit games eleven times.  Overall Honcel hit safely in 44 of the RedHawks 55 games in 2012, and finished the season tied for 10th in the country with a .401 batting average.  The .401 batting average ranked him first amongst freshman in the country, and was 25-points higher than the New Mexico's Ryan Padilla, who finished second among freshman in the country.

MAC Player of the Year - George Roberts, Kent State, 1B
MAC Pitcher of the Year - David Starn, Kent State, LHP
MAC Freshman of the Year - Matt Honchel, Miami, OF
MAC Coach of the Year - Scott Stricklin, Kent State

2012 MAC Baseball First Team
C - Tom Murphy, Buffalo
1B - George Roberts, Kent State
2B - Joe Corfman, Toledo
3B - Ryan McMillin, Western Michigan
SS - Jimmy Rider, Kent State
OF - Matt Pollock, Buffalo
OF - Brent Ohrman, Eastern Michigan
OF - Matt Honchel, Miami
SP - Andrew Brown, Akron
SP - Zach Cooper, Central Michigan
SP - David Starn, Kent State
SP - Jason Moulton, Ohio
SP - Matt Kuna, Toledo
RP - Lincoln Rassi, Toledo
DH - Sam Ott, Eastern Michigan

2012 MAC Baseball Second Team
C - David Lyon, Kent State
C - Will Arnold, Central Michigan
1B - Kevin Bower, Miami
2B - Brian Bien, Bowling Green
3B - Ben Magsig, Eastern Michigan
SS - Jordan Dean, Central Michigan
OF - Jason Kanzler, Buffalo
OF - Tyler Hall, Central Michigan
OF - Evan Campbell, Kent State
SP - Cameron Copping, Buffalo
SP - Ryan Bores, Kent State
SP - Tyler Skulina, Kent State
SP - Ryan Wilkinson, Toledo
RP - Brian Clark, Kent State
DH - Matt Delewski, Toledo