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June 8, 2011

Freshman Zach Stephens honored as All-American by Collegiate Baseball

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American team, selected by Collegiate Baseball newspaper, features a wealth of baseball talent that includes Tennessee Tech freshman Zach Stephens, a first-baseman out of Hixson, Tenn.

Stephens batted over .400 for the first 15 games of his first year as a Golden Eagle, going 2-for-3 with a walk and four RBI in his debut against Virginia Tech in Coastal Carolina's pre-season tournament. From that point on, he went on to record a 10-game hitting streak and to log 15 more multi-RBI games, finishing the 2011 season leading the Golden Eagles and ranking fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference with a total of 49 runs batted in.

A starter in 52 of Tech's 54 contests in 2011 as the team's primary first-baseman, his 64 hits – the second most on the team – in 207 at-bats left him hitting at a .309 mark and slugging a respectable .536, a statistic that also occupied the two-spot in team rankings. He led the Golden Eagles with 111 total bases, courtesy of his team-high 25 extra-base hits. Those extra bases came on 13 doubles, which tied him with junior Ben Burgess as the team's leader, and 10 home runs to also lead the line-up with senior slugger Chad Oberacker.

Stephen's home run stat put him in a three-way tie with Oberacker and Jacksonville State's Ben Waldrip for the five-spot in OVC rankings in that category. Meanwhile, Stephens also occupied the nine-hole in conference standings in total bases.

"Zach is very deserving of this award, he's going to be a special player at Tennessee Tech and has a very promising career ahead," TTU head coach Matt Bragga said. "He did a great job coming in to this year with some big shoes to fill, as he really stepped in to what really used to be A.J. [Kirby-Jones'] position.

"We never asked him to fill those shoes, but he did it without saying and we're just very happy for him being honored as an All-American," Bragga finished.

This honor comes as Stephen's second individual honor of his career, as he was named to the All-OVC freshman team following at the conclusion of the regular season. He joins five fellow OVC players in Phil Sorensen (UTM), Bryan Soloman (EKU), Coty Blanchard (JSU), Jordan Hankins (APSU), and Devin Caldwell (SIUE) on Collegiate Baseball's 2011 list.

Texas' Corey Knebel , a right-handed pitcher for the Longhorns, was named Collegiate Baseball's Freshman Pitcher of the Year  (17 saves, 1.23 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 12 walks in 51 1/3 innings) while Daniel Aldrich, and outfielder out of the College of Charleston, was honored as the Freshman Player of the Year (.347, 22 homers, 17 doubles and 73 RBI).

A comprehensive list of  the 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-Americans follows:

 

Starting Pitchers

 

RHP Tyler Barnette, Charlotte

RHP Adam Plutko, UCLA

RHP Karsten Whitson, Florida

RHP Alex Gonzalez, Oral Roberts

RHP Scott Garner, Bethune-

RHP Justin Hageman, Western Kentucky

RHP Austin Kubitza, Rice

RHP Zack Weiss, UCLA

RHP Brandon McNitt, Stony Brook

RHP Chris Pike, Fordham

RHP Desmond Poulson, Brigham

RHP Nick Petree, Missouri St

RHP Tyler Moore, North Florida

RHP Shaun Coughlin, Maine

LHP Dylan Stuart, U.C. Riverside

LHP Nick Leiningen, Sacred Heart

RHP Alex Facundus, Tulane

LHP Dillon Overton, Oklahoma

LHP Cole Swanson, San Diego St.

LHP Joey DeNato, Indiana

 

Relief Pitchers

 

Corey Knebel, Texas

Andrew Mitchell, Texas Christian

Stefan Crichton, Texas Christian

Kolton Mahoney, Brigham Young

Kyle Porter, California

Andrew McGee, Monmouth

Barrett Astin, Arkansas

Zack Hartman, UNLV

C.K. Irby, Samford

Cale Elam, Wichita St.

Nolan Sanburn, Arkansas

Chris Anderson, Jacksonville

Dylan Stuart, U.C. Riverside

Jonathan Reich, Fordham

Tim Swatek, Fordham

Paul Paez, San Diego

Ryan Van Assche, Norfolk St.

Tyler Dray, Southern Illinois

 

Catchers

 

C/1B/DH Brad Zebedis, Presbyterian

Jared Bales, Southern Mississippi

 

First Basemen

 

Brian Ragira, Stanford

Trey Mancini, Notre Dame

1B/OF Chris Marconcini, Duke

1B/DH Zach Stephens, Tennessee Tech

 

Second Basemen

 

Shane Kennedy, North Florida

Troy Black, Maine

JaCoby Jones, Louisiana St.

Jordan Hankins, Austin Peay

Oscar Sanay, Cal. St. Bakersfield

Sebastian Gomez, Elon

 

Third Basemen

 

Kris Bryant, San Diego

D.J. Peterson, New Mexico

Colin Moran, North Carolina

3B/1B Dominic Ficociello, Arkansas

Erich Weiss, Texas

Alex Calbick, Maine

Bryan Soloman, Eastern Kentucky

Coty Blanchard, Jacksonville St.

Dustin DeMuth, Indiana

Kyle DeMerritt, Santa Clara

Trey Nielsen, Utah

T.J. Bennett, Oral Roberts

 

Shortstops

 

Luke Tendler, North Carolina A&T

Ryan Gebhardt, Louisiana Tech.

 

Outfielders

 

Daniel Aldrich, College of Charleston

Kyle Wren, Georgia Tech.

Michael Lorenzen, Cal. St. Fullerton

Johnny Field, Arizona

Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt

Jaycob Brugman, Brigham Young

Krey Bratsen, Texas A&M

Jonathan Davis, Central Arkansas

C.T. Bradford, Mississippi St.

Ryan Walker, Texas-Arlington

Aaron Barbosa, Northeastern

Aaron Judge, Fresno St.

Michael O'Neill, Michigan

Alex Bacon, North Florida

Bill Bereszniewicz, Binghamton

Bill Cullen, Virginia Commonwealth

Cody Smith, San Diego St.

Turner Gill, Portland

Tyson Weber, Southern Utah

Derrick Workman, Mercer

Devin Caldwell, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville

Forrest Brandt, Davidson

Jared King, Kansas St.

Mike Gerber, Creighton

Nick Crescenzo, Rider

Pete Rajkovich, Centenary

Phillip Ervin, Samford

Riley Good, Texas-San Antonio

Taylor Cato, Navy

 

Designated Hitters

 

Phil Sorensen, Tennessee-Martin

Conrad Gregor, Vanderbilt

Jeff Zimmerman, Northern Illinois

Joey Burney, Old Dominion

Justin Glass, Cincinnati

Kavin Keyes, Oregon St.

Ty McFarland, James Madison

 

Multiple Position Athletes

 

Josh Dezse, Ohio St.

Marco Gonzales, Gonzaga

David Paiz, Texas Tech.

Desmond Russell, Jackson St.

Mike Ford, Princeton