CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - Buffalo sophomore Tom Murphy, the 2011 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 25-28). Kent State's Kyle Hallock was named MAC Pitcher of the Year alongside skipper Scott Stricklin who was chosen as Coach of the Year. In addition, Northern Illinois DH Jeff Zimmerman was named the MAC's Freshman of the Year. The league's 12 head coaches conducted the voting for the 15-member first and 15-member second All-MAC teams.
A two-time MAC East Player of the Week this season, Tom Murphy was ranked in the top five of the conference in home runs (10), on-base percentage (.446) and slugging percentage (.626), along with claiming the batting title with a .384 batting average over 52 games. For the season, he has assaulted the Buffalo record books, putting his name in the top ten of six different single-season records. His .626 slugging percentage was the fourth highest of any player in Buffalo history with more than 125 at bats. He has been the go-to force as a run producer, driving in 44 runs this season, fifth most in a single season in Bulls history thanks to 11 different games with two or more runs batted in. He was a constant on the base paths, leading the team with 22 multi-hit games, highlighted by six games with three or more hits and also a team-best 13 game hit streak. The most impressive number for Murphy has been four - the number of games all season where he did not reach base safely at least one time. Earlier in the season against North Carolina Central, Murphy also set a program record with three home runs in a game (3/19).
Hallock wins MAC Pitcher of the Year honors for the first time on the wings of a solid senior campaign and the best of the southpaw's four-year career wearing the blue and gold. His selection marks the ninth time a Kent State arm has earned the conference's top honors. A 2010 MLB Draft selection of the Philadelphia Phillies, Hallock has posted a MAC-best nine wins, which ranks among the top 20 in the nation and ties him for fifth on the school's single-season records list. His 1.63 earned run average is tops in the conference and currently ranks as the fifth-best in school history. The team captain anchors a Kent State pitching staff that leads the conference and is among the country's best with a 2.62 team ERA. Hallock has struck out 80 while allowing just 17 earned runs over 94.0 innings and 14 starts. He has won seven of his last eight starts, posting an 0.62 ERA with 53 strikeouts while allowing just four earned runs. He ranks second in school history with 229 career strikeouts, third with 284.2 innings pitched, tied for seventh with 21 career victories and tied for seventh with 65 career appearances.
Stricklin garners MAC Coach of the Year honors for the second 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 has guided Kent State to a 39-15 mark thus far in 2011. Ranked No. 25 in the nation according to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the Golden Flashes captured the 2011 MAC regular season title with a conference mark of 21-5. The championship marked the 11th such title in program history, first since 2008 and third under Stricklin. The 2011 squad is Kent State's first to win 39 games since the 2000 squad accomplished the feat, picking up road wins over No. 9 Georgia Tech and No. 24 Coastal Carolina along the way. Kent State, which enters the 2011 MAC Tournament having won 30 of its last 35 games and owns the double-elimination tournament's No. 1 seed, won at least 35 games for the fourth straight season and 14th time in program history.
NIU's Zimmerman has made a splash in his freshman season. He leads the Huskies with nine home runs and checks in second to Alex Jones with both a .320 average and 43 RBI. The freshman sensation also paces the club with 13 multi-RBI games. The Tinley Park, Ill., native's homer and RBI totals rank at the top of the list for all-time freshman seasons at NIU. His 13 doubles rank second. Overall, his nine long balls rank fifth on the NIU all-time single season. Among the MAC this season, Zimmerman ranks third in home runs, fifth in RBI and ninth in slugging percentage (.517).
A complete list of this year's All-MAC Teams/Specialty Award Winners is listed below...
MAC Player of the Year - Tom Murphy, Buffalo, C
MAC Pitcher of the Year - Kyle Hallock, Kent State, LHP
MAC Freshman of the Year - Jeff Zimmerman, Northern Illinois, DH
MAC Coach of the Year - Scott Stricklin, Kent State
2011 MAC Baseball First Team
C- Tom Murphy, Buffalo
1B- Kyle Weldon, Miami
2B- Zack Leonard, Eastern Michigan
SS-Alex Jones, Northern Illinois
3B- Travis Shaw, Kent State
OF-Andrew Turocy, Akron
OF- Ben Klafczynski, Kent State
OF- Ken Battiston, Eastern Michigan
SP- Andrew Chafin, Kent State
SP- Kyle Hallock, Kent State
SP- David Starn, Kent State
SP - Mac Thoreson, Miami
RP- Kyle McMillen, Kent State
DH- Jeff Zimmerman, Northern Illinois
UTIL - Jon Berti, Bowling Green
2011 MAC Baseball Second Team
C- David Lyon, Kent State
1B- Clay Duncan, Bowling Green
2B- Jordan Dean, Central Michigan
SS- Chris Dudics, Toledo
3B- Troy White, Northern Illinois
OF- Cody Elliott, Ball State
OF- Ethan Newton, Ohio
OF- Ben Hammer, Toledo
SP- Trent Howard, Central Michigan
SP- Zach Cooper, Central Michigan
SP- Tony Manville, Northern Illinois
SP - Brian Stroud, Western Michigan
RP- Chris Bassitt, Akron
DH- Mark Lapikas, Toledo
UTIL - Brent Ohrman, Eastern Michigan